Explore the National Parks, Reserves and Protected Areas of Ecuador
If you have the urge to escape from city life or get in touch with your innermost feelings, then Ecuador is for you. Ecuador is land of great biodiversity and natural beauty. Boasting a wide array of flora and fauna, Ecuador is a great place to get in touch with nature and reconnect with the the earth. Although this South American country is quite small, it has been listed as number 17 on the list of the most biodiverse countries worldwide.
Ecuador is home to more than 16,000 vascular plant species, which sustain the many animal species that reside here. All in all, Ecuador has 258 mammal species, 1 640 bird species, 600 marine fish species, 345 reptile species, 358 amphibian species and an amazing 4 500 butterfly species. Yet, there is still much to still be discovered about this remarkably diverse land. Ecuador's landscape is so varied and the country is ideally located to host such a great mix of plant and animal life. Situated in the Tropic of Cancer, Ecuador is nice and warm. El Niño from the north and the Humboldt Current from the south exert their influence on the climate of the region. This has resulted in mangrove forests and salt marshes, along the tropical ocean coastlines. The vast Andes mountain range divides the country in two and has given rise to the cloud forest with its exceptional flora. Inter-Andean valleys also form with lush vegetation. The paramo or alpine tundra areas are where you will find woody shrubs, herbaceous plants and wild rosemary.
Ecuador provides visitors with extensive opportunities to explore its natural areas. There are numerous protected areas and national parks in Ecuador that will guide you through the quiet mangroves, along mountainsides and through cloud forests. In these remarkable zones you will discover unique landscapes teeming with life. Ecuador's Galapagos National Park and Sangay National park have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites. Other fine protected areas and reserves worth visiting include Antisana Ecological Reserve, Chimborazo Forest Reserve, Cajas National Park, El Condor National Park, Galapagos Marine Reserve and Podocarpus National Park, amongst many others. One of the best ways to explore these pristine areas is by hiking with a trained guide. They will be able to take you to the most magnificent spots within the nature reserves of Ecuador. Canoeing through the mangroves is another unique treat for nature-lovers. Keep an eye out for pudus, pumas, spectacled bears, mountain tapirs, sloths, monkeys, iguanas, dolphins, seals and whales as you explore these exciting protected areas of Ecuador. Truly, Ecuador's National Parks and nature reserves will thrill your senses and increase your appreciation for the beauty of nature.