“Ecuador, Beautiful and Diverse”
Ecuador, geographilly speaking, has a total area of 283,560 km2, including the Galapagos Islands. Therefore, 276,840 km2 is land and 6,720 km2 is water.
A microcosm of sensations and flavors in the middle of the world: that's Ecuador. "An exceptional country, where all the cultures, folks and landscapes match together and merge to form the most perfect combination in the world", "Ecuador, beautiful and diverse", "the country closest to the sun", "a place Where you'll always want to go back "These are just some of the expressions that it visitors used to described its journey in here.
Ecuador is one of the 17 th most diverse countries in the world. It is located at the northwest part of South America, and is partly cover by the Equatorial line. A country surrounded by mountains, glaciers, jungles and forests, thousands of wildlife species, beaches and unique islands just in one place. Hosting a wide variety of species, most of them endemic from the Galapagos Islands and the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon Rainforest.
Ecuador posee cuatro regiones geográficas y 24 provincias: Costa del Pacífico, Sierra Andina, Selva Amazónica y Galápagos.
It has an estimated population of 14.5 million inhabitants; its main language is Spanish (94% of the population) and 13 endemic languages spoken by the communities that inhabit in this wonderful and pluricultural country including Quichua, Shuar, among others.
In Ecuador there are 3 important cities where the economic and political powers of the country are concentrated, Quito its capital, declared Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 for having the best preserved and least altered Old Town in Latin America, Cuenca declared Heritage of Humanity in 1999 and Guayaquil considered the largest city in the country with its international port and its fishing industry.
A Small Piece of World's Biodiversity
Ecuador is the most diverse country in proportion to its territory, with 9.2 million of forest and wildlife species per km2. Ecuador becomes a turistical jewel for visitors attracted by its cultural diversity, becoming a heritage for indigenous communities and for the rest country.
Coexisting 14 nationalities and 18 indigenous population (montubios, blacks, mestizos and whites)..
Due to the Cultural Heritage of the Zápara’s community located at the Amazon Rain Forest became an Oral and Intangible Heritage by Unesco. The Straw hats also was declared an intangible heritage of humanity in 2012.
The richness of Ecuador lies in its DIVERSITY:
19% of the country surface represent to protected areas, Ecuador has:
•Two National Parks of Natural Heritage, which are: Galápagos National Park and The Sangay National Park.
•Six Biosphere Reserves declared by UNESCO, which are: Sumaco National Park, Yasuní National Park, Podocuarpus National Park-El Cóndor National Park , Galapagos National Park and El Cajas National Park.
•The second in the world to have endemic vertebrate’s diversity.
•The third in the world to have amphibian’s diversity.
•The fourth in the world to have a wide variety of bird species.
•The fifth in the world to own butterflies (papilionideas).
•Reaches almost 10% of plants around the world.
•Holds 10.7% of vertebrate’s species in the world.
•Becoming home of 35% of the hummingbird species of the world.
•It has 27 cities declared Cultural Heritage Sites.
Ecuador is the only country in the world where 1/5 of the territory is a Protected Area; there are 48 areas distributed throughout the four regions, covering 20% of the country surface.
The national parks that Ecuador has are:
Wildlife Chimborazo Reserve
Located at Bolivar and Tungurahua Provinces, this is a protected area made up mostly of paramos, here is the Chimborazo volcano known as the highest glacier in Ecuador. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve
Considered the only inhabited and cultivated crater in the world, located at 17 km from Quito, it has 3,383 hectares, its crater is approximately 12 km of diameter, harbor more than 1,000 plant species and given it visitors the opportunity to climb though different volcanic domes like: Cerro el Chivo, Cerro Pondoña, Moraspungo, on the other hand it has other touristic activities like: camping, horseback riding and hostelling.
Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest
Located at the western part of the Pichincha Volcano, just 80 km from Quito, is the Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest, with a temperate climate and exuberant species of flora and fauna, which make this ecological region one of the most attractive places for tourism, with different types of butterflies, more than 450 birds species, orchids and bromeliads. Nearly to become a World Heritage Site by Unesco, thanks to its wonderful biodiversity, it also holds the first place on the planet on bird habitat.
Machalilla National Park.
Located at 80 km from Portoviejo, Machalilla National Park it’s one of the most visited National Parks in Ecuador, its climate and vegetation are determined by the Humbolt cold current and the Panama warm current. Marking two seasons of the year, a rainy season from January to May and a warm season from June to December, creating spectacular cliffs and microclimates. In the lower part of the park there is the unique tropical dry forest of South America with adapted species, this ecosystem serves as a refuge for birds and mammals. Several archaeological evidence sites have been found in the park of the main cultures of the Ecuadorian Coast, being the only place in the world where ecological tourism, cultural tourism and the beach are combined.
En la parte baja del parque existe el único bosque seco tropical de América del Sur con especies adaptadas a la escasez de agua y a los suelos salinos, además este ecosistema sirve de refugio de aves y mamíferos.
Ecological Reserve Antisana
Located at the Pichincha and Napo Provinces, has an area of 120,000 hectares, this Reserve has an enormous biodiversity in relation to its surface, with beautiful paramos and lagoons, the Antisana volcano is one of the main attractions of the province, where you can see the condors flights on this snowy mountain.
Together with The Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve and the Sumaco National Park, they are part of the upper Napo basin, one of the 10 hot biodiversity zones that exist in the world.
Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge
Near to the Amaguaña town with an area of 320 hectares, this refuge is located in a volcano whose boiler collapsed you can clearly notice how vegetation changes and transforms into cultivated primary fields in the Andean forest. You can reach to the crater by a path, with 8 hours long, crossing the forest existing in the highest part of the refuge, since its discovery, this area is considered a natural treasure for having maintained unalterable species of flora and fauna on the native Andean forest.
Yasuní National Park
It’s the largest and most important National Park of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the more diverse place per km2, is located at Napo and Orellana provinces, declared as World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989 with 982,000 hectares of forest where you can admire more than 2000 plants species, 610 birds species, 250 fish types, 604 mammals species, more than 121 reptiles and amphibians species, also has 10 primates species, transforming them into one of the most diverse primates place in the world, it is also one of the few forests park that harbor the three largest and most hunted primates species: howler monkeys, woolly monkeys and spider monkeys.
Localizada en su mayor extensión en la provincia de Sucumbíos (Cantón Putumayo) y en la provincia de Orellana, (Cantón Aguarico). Fue decretada el 26 de julio de 1979 como parte del Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas basado en las recomendaciones del informe de la FAO sobre la «Estrategia Nacional para la Conservación de Áreas Silvestres Destacadas del Ecuador».
It’s the main attraction of the province, and considerate a heavenly place with a very fragile ecosystem, where you can appreciate the richness and humidity forest in perfect balance, traditionally the area has been inhabited by five communities (Siona, Secoya, Kichwas, Shuars and Cofanes) located along the Aguarico River.
The Cuyabeno lagoons have common characteristics and characteristics that distinguish each of them, the Patacocha Lagoon with an abundance species of patillos and cormorants, the Caimancocha Lagoon with an exceptional population of alligators, the Charapacocha Lagoon with peculiar turtles called charapas, Laguna Grande habitat of pink and gray dolphins, manatees and paiche fishes which is considered as one of the biggest sweet water fishes in the Amazon Rain Forest and the Canangueño Lagoon considered by Siona Community as the most beautiful lagoon in the zone, the navigation in here is among the macrolobium treetops forest, where exist different species of orchids.
Cajas National Park
In the Western side of the Andean Cordillera at the west part Cuenca city, is located El Cajas National Park, consisting mainly of large mountainous elevations that keep lacustrine systems in their interior and 28,500 hectares of grassland, has approximately 250 lagoons, located between 3000 and 4000 meters of elevation, being the most important lagoons Lagartococha, La Toreadora, Sunincocha and Ventanas.
Besides the Tomebamba, the Mazán, the Yanuncay and the Migüir rivers are born from El Cajas National Park and it supply of potable water, at the same time they contribute to the hydroelectric complex Paute, which provides electricity to almost all the country. This area is considered one of the most important high altitude wetlands in the world and is considered a Natural World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Sumaco - Napo – Galeras National Park
It is located between Napo and Orellana provinces, this park next to the Llanganates is one of the most rugged and unexplored areas of Ecuador, was declared Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 2000 with amazing landscapes , great variety of fauna and flora. Having Volcanoes such as Pan de Azúcar, Cerro Negro and Sumaco which are part of the Andean Cordillera in the extensive tropical humid forest, this area conserves the upper basins of several rivers of the Amazon as the Quijos, Coca and Napo.
In the Sumaco National Park currently inhabits some indigenous communities like Huamaní, Mushayacta, Díez de Agosto, Huahua Sumaco and Sumaco , which have come together to develop sustainable tourism through the project creation to produce naranjilla, fungi and native forest preservation.
Podocarpus National Park
Located at the Loja province, considered a Biosphere Reserve since September 2007 and Botanical Garden of America, This area is characterized by a very irregular relief formed by folds with torrential rivers that leak the mountain range which crosses the park from the north to the south Its hydrography is complex and includes important lacustrine systems in which the lagoons of Compadre stand out in the northwest, this area stands out as one of the richest in the world in terms of its birds fauna , with more than 560 species representing 40% of birds species of Ecuador. In the Podocarpus it’s estimated that there are 3,000 to 4,000 plants species, and in San Francisco to the northeast of the park there are several species of endemic orchids. It is known the existence of gold in the mountains of the park, a factor that has been the main obstacle to its preservation.
Llanganates National Park
Located at the Southwest part of the Tungurahua province, with an area of 219,707 hectares, and with its large tracts of land. The Cerro Hermoso, is the main highest elevation of the park which is located at the northern part of Quillopacha and Cochas Negras, it was declared a "Gift for the Earth" by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), represent the highest award that this organization gives to the nature conservation effort. In the eastern part of the park, the ridges of the Abitagua mountain stand out, with richest biodiversity typical of the Amazon Rain Forest where harbor 195 bird species including condors, 46 mammals species, 23 reptiles and amphibians species and 800 plant species.
Ecological Reserve Cayambe Coca
Located at 80 km to the northwest of Quito to the Cayambe Volcano foot, with a temperature of 12 ° C, it has 403,103 hectares and a population of 75,000 inhabitants. Through Imbabura, Napo and Sucumbíos provinces. From this place you can see volcanoes such as the Cayambe, the Sarahurco and the Reventador.
The climatic, biological and landscape diversity is a characteristic of the reserve, as well as the high fauna variety it has. It has identified 106 mammals species, 395 birds and 70 reptiles species. It also constitutes the most important reservoir of water that supplies Quito.
Sangay National Park
Located at the inter-Andean part of the Morona Santiago, Chimborazo, Cañar and Tungurahua provinces, with an area of 517,725 hectares. Declared a Natural Heritage in 1983 by Unesco, with more than 324 lagoons, 3 volcanoes with spectacular characteristics (the Sangay, Tungurahua and the Altar). This area includes several vegetation forms from highland Andean areas to humid subtropical forests.
The richness and importance of the flora in the Park exceeds 3,000 plant species, birds with 343 species, followed by mammals with 100, amphibians with 25 and reptiles with 14 species. Currently the sector is occupied by the Kichwas of Puruhá and Salasaca communities origin in the high zone in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo.
Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve
Located at 46 km to the southeast side of Guayaquil, this reserve of 55,000 hectares is part of the inland estuary of Guayaquil Gulf, where the saline waters of the ocean and the sweetness of the rivers converge. It is a protected mangrove area that has escaped the shrimp boom and constitutes the largest mangrove conservation area in the country.
Cotopaxi National Park
The Cotopaxi Volcano is located 30 km to the north part of Latacunga town and 62 km to the south of Quito near to the Lasso town at the Central part of the Andean Cordillera, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. It reaches 5877 meters height.
Galápagos Marine Reserve
The archipelago was colonized for the first time in the 19th century, where artisanal fishing was the most important economic income for the Galapagos Island.
Since the 1940s, there has been a dramatic change, where artisanal fishing began to be replaced by a large-scale one, until the current situation in which most seafood products are exported and often illegally obtained, for that reason several species are in danger of extinction.
Because of it extraordinary ecological characteristics, marine conditions and phenomena of different tropical and subtropical regions that converge here to maintain the natural balance between the different telluric or marine species, a special law for Galápagos recently approved which prohibits the artisanal fishing within the islands to conserve the ecosystems where the species of the archipelago live.
Respecto a su historia el archipiélago fue colonizado por primera vez en el siglo XIX, donde la pesca artesanal era el rubro económico más importante para los galapagueños. A partir de los años 40 se dio un cambio dramático ya que la pesca artesanal comenzó a reemplazarse por otra a gran escala hasta llegar a la situación actual, en que la mayoría de productos de mar son exportados y en su mayoría obtenidos ilícitamente, lo que ha ocasionado que varias especies se encuentren en peligro de extinción.
Debido a que las islas presentan características ecológicas extraordinarias, condiciones y fenómenos marinos de diferentes regiones tropicales y subtropicales que convergen aquí y para mantener el equilibrio natural entre las diferentes especies terrestres o marinas. Se reformuló una ley especial para Galápagos aprobada recientemente. La cual prohíbe la pesca artesanal dentro de las islas para conservar los ecosistemas donde habitan las especies del archipiélago.
Reasons for all this diversity.
An ecosystem is formed by a set of living beings (birds, fish, plants, etc.) that interact with their environment. The diversity of a region is determined by different ecosystems and natural environments that it has.
Ecuador is located in the fire ring of the Earth, which is why it receives solar rays charged with more energy that’s why since its strategically location it allows to have twelve hours of daylight throughout the year, making this zone the most productive area in the world. On the other hand, the Humboldt water current that divides the Ecuadorian coast into a dry zone and the south into humid zone creates micro climates that harbor a large number of forest and wildlife species. On the other hand the volcanic activity aids the generation of micro-environments, which are centers of production of new species.
Ecuador is the fourth country in South America and the ninth country in the world to have mammals diversity, In despite of its small territorial extension, it harbor many biological groups species and the greatest number of species of living beings per unit area.
Mammals are no exception: to date, 433 species of mammals have been identified, but this number will be continue to increase as more species are being discovered.
In Ecuador, 597 species of amphibians have been identified and it is one of the highest concentrations of worldwide. They also are a medical source because they produce substances with analgesic properties good for human beings.
Therefore, Ecuador is privileged since it hosts the fourth largest amphibious-fauna worldwide, and it has the highest amphibian extension per unit area (2440 species per million km2) which makes it the region with the highest amount of frogs and toads species.
Ecuador is a country with a greatest reptile’s diversity in the world, since it has approximately three species per 2000 km2. To date, 473 species of reptile’s species have been recorded, including 33 species of turtles, 5 species of crocodiles and alligators, 3 species of suborder Amphisbaenia, 195 species of lizards and 237 species of snakes.
Paradise for bird lovers
More than 100 sites for bird diversity have been identified in Ecuador, forming part of the IBAs (Important Bird Area) which is an international program designed to protect bird sites for threatened species, whose main criteria for the identification of sites are the presence of endangered and / or endemic species in conjunction with migratory species.
In Ecuador, 1616 of bird species have been identified, mostly found in the tropical humid forests, therefore only in hummingbirds or quindes this country harbor 124 species, which represent the 35% of all species of hummingbirds in the world, that’s why Ecuador is known as “the hummingbird’s country".
Besides, Ecuador has one of the Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), known as the Chocó, site where you can see more than 300 species.
«Ecuador, Hermoso y Diverso»
The Ecuadorian flora is very rich and varied due to the diversity of ecosystems that exist; such as "mangroves, the tropical jungle, Andean forests, and Andean moorlands". It is estimated that there are around twenty-two thousand different and unique plants species, which allow an experience to be achieved between the human being and it surroundings.
Some of them are:
POLYLEPIS OR PAPER TREES (Polylepis Incana)
It can be found along the 3,000 m in the Highlands moorlands. it name comes from the Greek roots poly (many) and letis (layers), referring to its strange bark because it has multiple layers that come off as if they were sheets of paper, which is for the protection of the tree against the insects damage.
GUAYACÁN YELLOW TREES (Chrysantha de Tabebuia)
Endemic species that is found in the dry forests of Ecuador, are characterized by being a tree of 12 to 22 meters height, it has a compact form of bark with strong and deep roots, although what makes it attractive are its flowers of golden yellow color .They are found in Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas, El Oro and Loja cities, especially the parish of Mangahurco, which it blooming every 8 days after the beginning of the rainy season (January, February).
FRAILEJON (Espeletia pycnophylla ssp. Llanganatis)
It’s located at the Andean moorlands at 3,100-4,500 m.s. Is known for having very soft green pubescent leaves, and its yellow flowers; reaching an approximate 10 m size in height. It is a protected species because it increases the water flow in watersheds on the other hand its considered medicinal plant because it is used to cure asthma.
ROSES – ROSACEAE (Rosoideae)
There are more than 100 rose species known which are distributed throughout the world. Ecuador is considered as the fourth producer of worldwide roses, the same ones that are characterized because they are perennial or deciduous with a 5 to 15 centimeters length, and very striking. They are used for making domestic products as oils, beverages, ice cream and cosmetic products such as shampoo, rinse, soap, perfumes and among others.
TAXO – (Passiflora Tripartita)
Originaria de la Zona Andina de América del Sur, es reconocida en Ecuador como “Flor de Quito” debido a su presencia en bosques fríos y templados. Es una planta rica en vitamina A y fruto dulce, utilizada para realizar zumos, batidos y helados, posee algunas propiedades curativas, reduciendo la ansiedad y el insomnio.
Orchids - (Orchidaceae)
Ecuador is known as “Orchids Country” emphasizing that we possess four of the fifth orchid’s subfamilies, the same ones that grow in tropical, subtropical environments and in temperate or cold zones. Known as the "queens of imitation" due to their surprising ways of imitating, they grow on rocks with moss and others on the ground, have shapes, colors and typically smell that make them enigmatic plants and thre are issue of investigation
Qué tipo de vestimenta se requiere para su estancia en Ecuador
Es muy importante saber que prendas de vestir puedes llevar para tu estadía en Ecuador, todo esto depende de la zona que quieras visitar, es decir que si desear ir a la Costa o a la Amazonía debes tomar en cuenta que las dos regiones cuentan con un clima cálido seco por lo tanto tu vestuario debe consistir en ropa muy ligera que no permitan que te sofoques mientras disfrutas de tu aventura. Pero si prefieres la altitud de las montañas, en tu maleta no puede faltar ropa que te mantenga caliente y te proteja del frío glaciar, así como materiales necesarios si deseas escalar montañas como el Cotopaxi o el Chimborazo.
Si te preguntas que usar en Galápagos no puede faltar tu traje de baño y ropa ligera para que goces de las hermosas playas de las Islas Encantadas, además es importante llevar un gorro, gafas, protector solar y repelente para proteger tu piel en cualquier región que visites.
Lo que debes recordar es que no es necesario que cargues mucha ropa en tu maleta ya que en cualquier rincón del Ecuador podrán encontrar hermosos mercados locales donde puedes realizar varias compras y adquirir bellísimas prendas y recuerdos.
Medios de transporte
El Ecuador cuenta con varios aeropuertos Nacionales e Internacionales, los más importantes se encuentran en Quito (Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre), Guayaquil (Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo), Cuenca (Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Lamar) y Galápagos (Aeropuerto Seymour) los cuales poseen una estructura adecuada para satisfacer las necesidades de todo aquel que quiera visitar este hermoso país pluricultural.
Pero si tu deseo es viajar vía terrestre, el país cuenta con una flota de buses completamente equipados para trasladar con seguridad a los pasajeros que deseen viajar hacia cualquier rincón del Ecuador, además que sus conductores se encuentran capacitados para ofrecer un servicio de calidad al momento del embarque. Es importante mencionar que cada ciudad cuenta con su propio terminal, y es allí donde puedes encontrar las diferentes flotas que se dirigirán hacia: Pujilí, Guano, Ambato, Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Atacames, Alausí, Santo Domingo, Baños, Puyo, Tena, Pelileo, Lago Agrio, Tulcán, Guaranda, Cuenca, Machala, Manta, etc.
Tarifas de taxi
Si tu deseo es movilizarte en taxi debes saber que la tarifa mínima por este servicio es de 1,50 obviamente esto aumentará de acuerdo al destino al que desees ir.
Sugerencias para una estancia agradable:
• No camine por la noche en áreas mal iluminadas.
• Deje documentación y cosas valiosas en su habitación de hotel o en las cajas de seguridad
• Lleve su mochila en la parte delantera, especialmente si está llevando una cámara fotográfica.
• Siempre que se encuentre en una cafetería, restaurante, cabina telefónica o cualquier espacio abierto, mantenga sus cosas a su lado.
• Tenga cuidado si alguien esta sospechosamente cerca de usted.
• No permita que ningún extraño entre en su habitación.
• Se recomienda no visitar ninguna plaza demasiado tarde por la noche.
• Si viaja en un autobús, no reciba caramelos ni papeles de extraños.
• Cuando esté en el aeropuerto, preste especial atención a sus pertenencias.
• No deje que los extraños le ofrezcan alojamiento. Consulte una agencia de viajes.
Visa de turista:
Las personas extranjeras que ingresen al país pueden permanecer en el Ecuador un máximo de 90 días sin visa.
Deben portar los siguientes documentos:
– Pasaporte vigente (6 meses de vigencia)
– Cédula o DNI ciudadanos de Suramérica
Países que requieren Visa:
- REPÚBLICA POPULAR DEMOCRÁTICA DE COREA