Ecuador lies directly on the equator, so the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year. However, the climate you will experience depends largely on where you are in Ecuador, since there are four distinct geographical areas—the Sierra (mountains), the Oriente (eastern rainforests), the La Costa (Pacific coastal plains), and the Galapagos Islands.
For example, Ecuador’s capital, Quito, lies in the Central Valley between the Andean Mountains’ eastern and western ridges. The equator is less than 20 miles north of the city, yet at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,900 meters), Quito’s climate is spring-like year around: about 50° F (10° C) at night and as high as 76° F (25° C) during the day. The sun makes the difference. You can comfortably stroll out on a glorious Quito afternoon in shorts and a T-shirt, but you’ll need to take your wool sweater in case the clouds roll in. The equatorial sun is intense, but when it’s obscured by clouds, you realize how high in the Andes you really are. In fact, cold weather gear is needed for high altitude hiking and mountain climbing.
The beaches and rainforests, on the other hand, enjoy the tropical temperatures that one would expect from equatorial lowlands, with highs ranging between 80º F and 90º F. Between these two extremes, just about any type of weather can be found in Ecuador.
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