CLIMATE IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST, ECUADOR [10 YEAR GRAPHS]

 

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST OF ECUADOR [10 YEAR GRAPHS]

AT CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE

 

Climate  and weather in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

Ecuador's Amazon rainforest region covers around 40% of the country, and plays an important role in the country's economy, although only 3% of the population lives there. This is mainly due to the oil wells in the North of the region, which the Ecuadorians call the "Oriente", meaning "East". While seemingly less important is the small-scale ecotourism from lodges, but as they complete Ecuador's tourism product, they in fact are far more important than most Ecuadorians realize. The climate is humid with a very high rainfall, which close to the Andes, in Puyo and Tena, may be as high as 4400 mm of rainfall per year.

 

Tarapoa airport maximum and minimui temperatures in celciusTarapoa Airport rainfall data.

Tarapoa Airport 2016 temperature data.Tarapoa 2016 rainfall data.

Precipitation in Lagoagrio (Above) is the lowest in December, with an average of about 200 mm. Most rainfall falls in June, with an average of 345 mm. In Tarapoa, 10km away from the Puente Park entrance, data are very similar (middle and below. Average annual rainfall in Lagoagrio is 3500 mm; for Tarapoa 3300mm, demonstrating how rainfall decreases, further away from the Andes.

At an average temperature of 25.7 °C in Lagoagrio, November is somewhat warmer, while the average temperatures in July are a bit lower at 24.1 °C. It is the lowest average temperature of the whole year. Below, the rainfall data for Tarapoa in 2016.

 

Dear visitor, our website gives you info about the Cuyabeno Park, our Cuyabeno Lodge, and Ecuador in general. Our lodge lies on a little seasonal island in the Cuyabeno Lake, which is the prettiest spot in the most beautiful Amazon park in all of South America.  Here you can find our program and our prices. Our website has hundreds of high-resolution pictures of Cuyabeno and Ecuador, with thumbnails that open by clicking on them. If you love our pictures or find our info useful, please give our pages a 

 

The climate in the Amazon of Ecuador, or "Oriente" as Ecuadorians call the region, is characterized by an average of about 3500 - 3200 mm of rainfall per year and an average temperature of 23 - 25 C. However, these values are very coarse and temperatures are lower in the foothills of the Andes, where the Cuyabeno Lakes are located. For instance the temperature runs up to 27 C in Leticia, in the eastern Colombian Amazon. Average Amazon rainfall shows a west-east gradient, with average values decreasing towards the east. So, Lago Agrio receives 3500 mm, Tarapoa near the Cuyabeno Lakes receives about 3300 mm of rainfall per year, while we estimate 3200mm for the Lagartacoche part of the reserve on the border with Peru, to receive less than 3200mm.

 

There is a distinct seasonal variety in the Amazon of Ecuador varying in a wet and a dry season. Not that it is not raining in the "dry" season; it just rains less during that time. The dry season usually begins in December and ends in early or mid-March. But these are general trends. You can have a relatively dry period in the wet season and the other way around in the dry season. The Ecuadorian Amazon is located right on the Equator. Consequently, while in the "dry seasons" less rain falls than during the rest of the year, even then, rain showers occur and it the forests never dry out. This favors the moist-dependent tropical species of plants and animals, and as a result more species can live in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador than most other places on earth.

 

For transport to the Cuyabeno, rainfall is very important. During the peak of the dry season, the lake falls largely dry. That in itself is very interesting, because aquatic animals such as the Caiman are forced together in the remaining water. But transportation is a problem, because the water in the river is very low.

 

How reliable are these indications? These indications are just general climate characterizations, and yearly fluctuations from the averages are commonplace. In fact any time of the year, it may rain, be hot or even chilly. No matter what you may read on the internet, the weather in the Amazon tropical rainforest is surprisingly variable! First of all, over 24 hours the temperatures usually vary considerably. When the sun is around noon, temperatures will easily shoot up to 30 - 34 C, with the higher temperatures during the dry season. But in the evenings, the temperatures fall rapidly and become very pleasant. At night, temperatures are so low that you need a light blanket, and in the mornings, it does not get hot before 10 o'clock. So, most of the time, the weather in Cuyabeno is extremely pleasant and you don't need air-conditioning.

 

High Rainfall in the Amazon of Ecuador

So it rains in the tropical rainforest? Yes it does! When, 4 decades ago, I was in the tropical rainforest for the first time, I was at a biological station. As a young biologist, fresh from temperate Europe, the first morning I woke up to a drizzle on the metal roof. Bad weather for birdwatching, I thought and went back to sleep. A few hours later my senior colleague biologists came back from the woods in wet nylon ponchos, but otherwise dry clothes and they asked me what had happened as I had not joined them for the morning excursion. I said it was of no use, because it was raining and then there are no birds. They sarcastically laughed and said: Man, this is the tropical rainforest! It always rains and the birds and mammals come out, even when it rains. I never made that mistake again. In the tropical rains forest you go out watching wildlife under any weather condition, rain or shine. Now, it is not true that it rains all the time. In fact, most of the time it does not rain, but most days there is at least one shower. For the unlucky ones, occasionally, there are days that it hardly ever stop raining, but that does not happen too often. If you are prepared for the worst, then every hour of sunshine will be a joy, and most of you will are likely to have many hours of joy.

 

What we do recommend is that you bring one of those waterproof  roof prism binoculars. Why you need binoculars you ask?

The Tropical rainforest is all about the small wildlife and birds that move about the trees. You can't even half appreciate your stay at Cuyabeno if you don't have a pair of binoculars around your neck all the time. You cant see the beautiful colors of the orchids and the hummingbirds, you miss the baby monkey on the back of his mom, you just sit there while you friends are awestruck when a Kingvulture soars by.

 

Well, you will share binox with a friend, you think. Great, so when s/he first spots a bird, you still sit there waiting anxiously until s/he is finished looking. And your friend does not feel relaxed, knowing that you are waiting to get a peak as well! Finally s/he turns over the binox to you. Ahhhh, what a pity, the bird has just flown away.

 

So do yourself and your friends a favor, rent a pair of binoculars and more than double your jungle experience. It really is worth the $15 (for the entire period) of the rental.

Binoculars for all conditions of the climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

At the lodge we have ponchos and rubber boots to make sure you always can enjoy the jungle when you are our guest. Having said that, it does not happen all that often that it rains all day. Usually rain comes in showers and after a while it dries up again.

 

Flooding

Much of Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve east of the entrance is located on a gently sloping plain towards the South East with very little accidentation. The area of the lakes where the Cuyabeno Lodge is located, is a giant saucer with a relatively narrow outlet towards the south. So when it rains, the saucer fills up with water, causing the lakes and swamps to fill up with water. The amount of rainfall vary greatly over the year. There are burst of rainfall that can quickly fill up the "saucer" and the water table may easily rise 5 meters above the normal level. During such high waters, which can last for up to several months, the Cuyabeno River rises above its river bed and large areas of forests become flooded. During such periods the fishes enter the forest for feeding and spawning and are followed by the Amazon dolphins. Once a large group of King Vultures directed us to a dead dolphin deep inside the forest. It had gotten trapped when the water had retreated.

 

As the pioneers for ecotourism in the Cuyabeno Faunistic Reserve, we had the first choice to select a location and we chose one of the only hills in the entire area and our lodge never is flooded. Most other accommodations are built on the river banks, which are seasonally flooded.

climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: cloudy sky.Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: Cumulous clouds may produce a local rain shower even under a sunny sky.

A typical overcast sky which later produced a light sprinkle but no real shower.

Cumulus clouds may produce a local rain shower even during a sunny sky.

   

Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: The sunsets are usually very peaceful and mysterious.Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: Sunsets are often dramatically beautiful.

Going out on a search for crocodiles in the dark, at this hour the temperature is very comfortable. As the evening progresses, one may even need a light sweater sometimes

Dramatic sunsets often occur in Cuyabeno, but contrary to the common believe, they won't tell you what the weather is going to be like a few hours later.

   

Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. Sunset at Cuyabeno Lake.Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: Early morning sun over Cuyabeno.

Yet another one of those mysterious beautiful sunsets at the Cuyabeno Lodge.

An early morning excursion in an early morning sun is very comfortable at probably 23 degrees Celsius.

   

Some accommodations suffer from serious flooding during high water periods, something unknown to the our Rainforest Lodge:

Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: particularly the cheaper lodges have serious flooding problems and many more mosquitos.Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: In many of the cheaper lodges, frequent flooding is a problem, with resulting abundance of mosquitos.Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: In Cuyabeno, even the more upscale lodges have problems with flooding.

Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: In Cuyabeno, particularly the camp type lodges get flooded.Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: flooded lodges in Cuyabeno often become unoperable during floods.Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: During flooding, many lodges in Cuyabeno become inundated with mosquitos. Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: At some lodges, the water rises so high that the cabins become inoperable.

Flooding  conditions you will never encounter in the Cuyabeno Lodge as the lodge is located on one of the few hills in the entire lake region and all the buildings are several meters above the highest known high water mark.

 

Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: When the sun is out, the skys are incredibly blue.

On top of the hill is the 12 m high Cuyabeno Lodge observation tower, which stands on top of a hill of 15 m above the high water mark. The tower is the highest point in the area and overlooks the tree crowns and Cuyabeno Lake. Even during extreme floods like on this photo from the air below, the Cuyabeno Lodge stays well above the high water mark.

Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: From the observation tower in Cuyabeno, one can see as far as the Andes on a clear day.Climate in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: The reflexion of the clouds on a windless day at Cuyabeno.

 

Dry Season in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

During the dry season, the level of the Cuyabeno River may fall so low that it becomes difficult to navigate and tourists may not be able to reach the lake area by motorized canoe. This applies the same to all lodging accommodations. However, there are years that the lakes can be reached without any problem, and it occasionally occurs that the river is a bit low during the wet season, but them our skilled Siona Indian boatmen get us through regardless of the water level of the river. The dry season is when more Amazon jungle animals have their mating/breeding season and when more flowers are out, but again that is a tendency. The Hoatzin for instance breeds in the rainy season. As you can see, the Climate in the Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador is rather variable and one can have good luck or bad luck with the weather.

 

Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: During the dry season, the water between the Macrolobium trees gets grown with marsh grass.Climate in the Amazon of Ecuador: During the dry season at Cuyabeno, the Macrolobium trees may fall completely dry.

 

In Cuyabeno there is a "dry" season from about December through February. But that does not mean that it never rains during this period. It just means that it rains less than during the wet season. So weather and season descriptions by locals may be not always be all that reliable. As I visited Cuyabeno for the first time in 1975 as part of the United Nations team that selected the area for protection, I have almost 40 years of reference to speak from, but still there are very few statistics available, and the human memory is not very reliable from a statistic point of view, so don't take my word for it either. smilie

 

For comparison we also give climate data of Iquitos, Peru, which is more to the South and to the East, thus being further away from the Equator (therefore somewhat drier with more pronounced dry seasons) and from the Andes (therefore somewhat hotter). It is very interesting to see, that in Iquitos, dry season is from June - September, when it is wettest in Cuyabeno.

 

Climatological Information for Iquitos, Peru
Location of weather station : 3.7 S, 73.2 W, altitude : 126 m
  Period Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean Max
Temp
(deg. C)
1961-1990 32 31.7 31.9 31.0 30.6 30.4 30.9 31.6 32.1 31.9 31.9 31.7
Mean Min
Temp
(deg. C)
1961-1990 22 22.0 22.1 22.1 21.9 21.3 20.8 21.1 21.4 21.8 22.1 23.2
Rainfall (mm) 1961-1990 279 227 279 310 274 190 182 165 189 242 260 282

 

 

Cuyabeno Lodge / Neotropic Turis Office in Quito, Ecuador:

Shyris Park Building, Av. de los Shyris N36-188 & Av. Naciones Unidas, Office 608, 6th floor.

Phone: (++593) (0)(2) 292 6153

Cell (mobile) phone: (++593) (0)999 80 3395

Map:

Find it on the Quito Map Zoom in, it is a very detailed map!

Email:

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