Ecuador literally means equator taken from the fact that the country rests directly on the equatorial line. It lies in the north-western region of the continent of South America and is bounded by Colombia in the north and Peru in the south and east. Its western shores meet the vast Pacific Ocean alongside the islands of Galapagos which is approximately 620mi from the mainland. Lying in the equator, the land generally experiences a tropical climate especially in the Pacific Coast but because of different geographical terrains, the varying elevations have caused it to experience a wide array of climate patterns. Consequently, the variability in both ecosystems and climate has made Ecuador a shelter of biodiversity. In all this, the people of Ecuador have strived to preserve their heritage in history, culture and biodiversity. Take a look into this land of natural heritage where time has only made the places more suited for discovery.
The Galapagos Islands
One of the most famous islands in the world for all naturalists, Galapagos Islands and its diversely radiated finches and turtles gave way to Charles Darwin’s crucial insights on the theory of evolution and natural selection. Consisting of volcanic terrains, its islands are home to many endemic species that has become a persisting study in the scientific community and a prioritized conservation effort among biologists. Cruise, recreational activities and wildlife photography have also been propagated in its shores for curious tourists. It’s a whole new of level of exploration in the historical and infamous Galapagos Islands.
El Oriente’s Rainforest
El Oriente will give you a peek into the abundance of the Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest ecosystem in the world, featuring its lowland tropical broad leaf rainforest that is also part of the Amazon Basin. A real jungle, for lack of better word for it, the area is actually one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world after the discovery of hundreds of different species of colorful birds, monkeys and other fauna and an extremely high number of insects, mostly undiscovered and unidentified. Its lush forest vegetation such as the kapok tree, which grows up to 200 feet, is a sight to behold. The rainforest offers an adventure into a wild jungle.
Another interesting site in Ecuador, Cuicocha Lake is actually a crater lake located at the foot of the already extinct Cotacahi Volcano. The depression was made when an intense volcanic eruption occurred 3000 years ago. Alongside other volcanic eruptions in the surrounding volcanoes, which are now dormant, the region contains fertile soil which has made it ideal for growing crops. The place has become a trekking and hiking area for nature lovers because of the deep blue water of the lake and the extraordinary terrain.
Isla de la Plata
Off the coast of Puerto Lopez in Manabi, in the northern part of Ecuador, another hidden treasure drifts along the ocean. A different experience from Galapagos but an equally enchanting place, Isla de la Plata has been nicknamed “Silver Island.” It was probably derived from the story of how Sir Francis Drake hid his treasure on this very island or it could simple be because of the bird droppings found on the cliffs that shine when struck by the sun. Either way, the tour into this tiny, peaceful island will give you a change to sight numerous humpback whales, dolphins and a variety of birds. Ecuador has much more to offer in every island it holds.
Cotopaxi National Park
The experience won’t be complete without a glimpse into Cotopaxi National Park which boasts one of the tallest and still active volcanoes on earth, the Cotopaxi Volcano. Surrounding this majestic landmass are beautiful lakes and mountain scenery with glaciers that sparkle in the sun. All this has made Cotopaxi National Park the most famous protected area in Ecuador and for a good reason.