Podocarpus National Park, Protected Areas, Tourist Attractions
In the southern region of Ecuador you will find the 360,000-acre (146,300-hectare) Podocarpus National Park. The park is made up of two primary areas: the upper pre-montane section with tropical cloud forests and the lower subtropical section. You will also find large areas of virgin forest containing three specific species of genus Podocarpus. You will definitely feel like you have just found paradise as you discover the lush and plentiful plant species contained here. Throughout the park you can find 3,000 species of vascular plants that provide unimaginable beauty which is hidden away for you to discover.
The Podocarpus Park has the highest bio-diversity that you can find contained in one area, with many endemic species of flora and fauna occurring due to the high range of elevation which ranges from 1000m to 3690m. So for example in one hectare you will be able to count up to ninety different tree species. What is also so fascinating is that much of the flora and fauna found here can be found nowhere else in the world except in this park. During your visit you will be taken through cloud forests, a bird watchers delight, and through grasslands where you can follow a trail. There is also the other extreme where visitors can be exposed to volcanic rock.
Included in the enormous bio-diversity in Podocarpus National Park, you will be able to view an array of exciting animal species if you keep on the watch. Attempts to spot speckled bears, pumas, the Andean fox, giant armadillo, jaguar, mountain tapirs, Pudú, the smallest deer in the world and a huge variety of exotic birds (as many as 500 registered species) will keep you busy. Throughout Ecuador there are many bird species threatened by extinction, but up here at the Podocarpus National Park these birds have healthy numbers. An example of these birds is the coppery-chested jacamar, the Equatorial graymails, Peruvian antpitta and the bearded guan. The great variety of animal and insect life does not stop here – there are also approximately 260 different types of spectacular butterfly and 1,200 moth species for you to view at your leisure.