Limoncocha Biosphere Reserve - A Biodiverse Eco-Tourism Destination
Ecuador is certainly a land with plenty of natural abundance and variety. If you are planning a trip to the country you should make sure that your travel plans include at least one or two tours of some of the country’s great nature reserves. While most people head for the Galapagos National Park, others find that smaller reserves offer more interesting attractions. One reserve you might well consider visiting is the Limoncocha Biological Reserve. The reserve is situated in the Sucumbios Province and you will find it between the Coca and Aguarico Rivers on the northern shore of the Napo River. Because of its proximity to water and fairly level ground, much of the reserve can be classified as wetland or swap.
There is much to see and do in this 4 613 meter reserve. It is named for the Lake of Limoncocha, which is situated within the parks boundaries and around which is a notable bird-watching site. The reserve has the privilege of having a high level of bio-diversity – one of the highest in the world – and yet despite its ecological importance and its protected status, it is constantly under threat from nearby oil activity. Nevertheless, the park is home to some 450 species of birds as well as a number of rather unique trees. Some examples of the flora include cedars, balsa, giant ceibo, laurel and pambil. Many of these plants excel at the reserves altitude of 230 meters above sea level. Most visitors are also intrigued to discover that both black and white alligators are thought to inhabit the swampy parts of the reserve.
In addition to the plant and animal treasures that can be found in the reserve, visitors can also take delight in the reserve's cultural heritage. There are currently a few Shuar and Quichua communities who live within the boundaries of the reserve and who sustain themselves mainly on cash crops. However, they also make use of various forms of ecotourism to make money as this does not negatively affect the surrounding environment. The Limoncocha Biological Reserve is best accessed from Quito, where buses depart regularly for Coca, Lago Agrio and the town of Limoncocha. You can also choose to fly or take a boat to your particular destination within the reserve.