Friday, August 22, 2014

What is the weather like in Quito?

TLDR: Strong sun, changeable, showers, cold at night 

What is the weather like in Quito?
In theory there are two seasons, but there's little to distinguish them except a bit more rain. Generally it's sunny in the day, with an occasional burst of rain, with much cooler evenings. There's rarely a day in Quito when the sun doesn't shine for at least a couple of hours.
The sun is very strong, and you can feel your skin cooking. I'm quite pale and factor 25 was not always enough if I was spending a long time outside. The temperature might only be about 22 degrees but it feels unbearably hot under the sun.
And of course, at nearly 3,000 metres the effects of the sun are even more pronounced than on the coast. It's an irony that the worst sunburn I've seen in Ecuador generally happens in the Andes and not the coast (where generally tourists are more religious about the application of sunscreen).
April is supposed to be the wettest month and June and August are sunny but with strong winds. Otherwise I couldn't really tell any difference between the seasons in Quito.

Quito panorama, Ecuador
The Quito skyline - clouds and blue sky... what next?

Quito has a mountain climate so it's very changeable. Within seconds a bank of cloud can blow over and obscure the sun. You were feeling too hot a moment ago in your t-shirt, now you're too cold and wishing you'd brought a jumper. Quito is confusing like that and I never seemed to have the perfect outfit. To make things even more difficult, it's likely to rain at some point in the day so a waterproof jacket is always a bonus. For some reason Quitenos never seem to bother with umbrellas very much.

I always found the nights in Quito very cold. The temperature drops to around ten degrees and I can't remember ever seeing a house in the capital with central heating. It's probably unnecessary but you might appreciate an extra blanket on the bed.

Andean weather

The Quito climate is more or less consistent throughout Andean Ecuador. Quitenos claim their weather is the best and better than Ambato. People from Ambato laugh at the climate of Riobamba, calling it Frillobamba (do you see what they've done there?). Cuenca in the south probably is slightly cooler, but not by much. The weather in the Andean valleys is gorgeous; a slight descent in altitude has a marked effect. Here it seems to be much sunnier and you're rarely caught out by colder spells.  

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