Trekking - Explore Ecuador's Diverse Terrain and Natural Wonders
There is often no better way to enjoy the natural beauty of a country than to go hiking or trekking. Trekking in Ecuador is a popular activity with visitors who are looking for a new way to discover this beautiful country. The country itself is too big to be easily hiked across but there are many trekking opportunities to be found in each region. Visitors can enjoy varied trekking trails and may choose to climb the side of a rumbling volcano, to explore the wonders of Ecuador’s ancient forests or to discover the many small villages and towns that are hidden in the mountainsides. Most hiking trails in Ecuador require a medium to high level of fitness but if you look around you will be sure to find something that suits you perfectly.
One trekking area that is increasingly popular is that of the valley of Piedra Blanca. Here you can enjoy trails that will take you over towering cliffs, past mysterious caves or even allow you to splash in icy cold waterfalls. There is plenty of bird life to see and you may even see some land mammals and reptiles. If you are a culture buff, there is simply nothing to beat a countryside trek where small rural paths and tracks will take you from village to village and give you the chance to get to know some of the locals more intimately. Apart from getting to learn more about the people of Ecuador, you also get to enjoy plenty of breathtaking scenery along the way. These trails are usually the easiest to do though this is not always the case. You might also want to visit some of the historical sights in Ecuador, such as the Incan ruins that are scattered across the region. If you do your research, you will find that you can enjoy the wonder of the Andes, the beauty of cloud forest and tropical rain forest or the abundance of lower coastal areas. Volcanoes peak around every corner - though not all of them are smoking - and animals can be found in every inch of forest – provided you look hard enough to find the well-camouflaged creatures. Some of the most popular treks are those that allow you to explore the Galapagos Islands. Trekking in the Cotopaxi, Cajas, Podocarpus and Machalilla National Parks are also immensely popular.
One should remember that certain trails that take visitors into the Andes in search of ancient Incan cities will also take you to a higher slope elevation than you may well be used to. If this is the case for you, it may well be wisest to organize a bus ride into the mountains and a few days stay in a village at this elevation before attempting to hike as your body will need some time to become accustomed to the thinner atmosphere. You can usually hire the necessary equipment and guides at the trail starting points or at the camping sights though most people prefer to bring their own. You might also consider investing in a pair of rubber boots to help you beat the muddy and wet conditions that you will encounter along the way. Don’t forget to use plenty of sun block and insect repellent and dress for warm and cool weather. It is also wise to drink plenty of water since this will help your body to cope with the heat and elevation. However, visitors should remember that all water should be boiled before being consumed.