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Popular Destinations

Isla De La Plata

 

Isla de la Plata is a small island off the coast of ManabíEcuador, and is part of Parque Nacional Machalilla. It can be reached by boat from the city of Puerto López.

On the island, there is a large diversity of animal species. For example, several species of booby, including the Blue-footed boobyRed-footed booby, and the Nazca booby. Another species found here is the South American sea lion. Dolphins, like the Pantropical spotted dolphin can be found in the water near the island.

Guided tours are given on a couple of different hiking trails. There are many nice beaches on the island where you can see many forms of wildlife and plant species.

Ecuador

Volcan Sierra Negra

Sierra Negra is a large shield volcano at the South eastern end of Isabela Island in the Galapagos that rises to an altitude of 1124m. It coalesces with the volcanoes Ceroo Azul to the west and Alcebedo to the north. It is one of the most active of the Galapagos volcanoes with the most recent historic eruption in October 2005.

Galapagos, Ecuador

Parque Nacional Podocarpus

 

Podocarpus National Park is a national park located in the provinces of Zamora Chinchipe and Loja, in the south-east of Ecuador. It was created in 1982.

It covers 1462.80 km², from two spurs of the eastern range of the Andes to the basins of the NangaritzaNumbala andLoyola rivers. About 85% of the park is in the province of Zamora Chinchipe and the remainder in the province of Loja. It is categorized as a megadiverse zone and an area with a high level of endemic species because is a meeting point between four ecological systems: Northern Andes, Southern Andes, Amazonian and Pacific ecosystems. Although a considerable knowledge has been gathered about its biodiversity in parts of the area, only a minority of the species inhabiting the park has been discovered so far.

The Podocarpus National Park spans from lower montane rain forests at ca. 1000m up to high elevation elfin forests at 3000 m. Paramo or subparamo vegetation is found at elevations >3000 m where a complex of more than 100 lagoons exists, among the best-known being the Lagunas del Compadre.

The park has two main entrances. One is in 'Cajanuma Sector' ca. 8 km south of Loja where elfin forest and paramo habitats at elevations between ca. 2900 and 3500 m can be accessed. The other is in 'Bombuscaro Sector', corresponding to the Bombuscaro River in lower montane forest habitats at elevations from ca. 1000 m upwards. There are two alternative entrances without park guards: the 'Romerillos Sector', corresponding to the Jamboé River southeast of the Bombuscaro Sector is also an entrance for gold miners that work inside the park. Another entrance is at Cerro Toledo, east of the Yangana-Valladolid route in the south-western part of the park.

Ecuador

Charles Darwin Scientific Research Station

 

The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. It is located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, with satellite offices on Isabela and San Cristóbal islands.

In Puerto AyoraSanta Cruz Island, Ecuadorian and foreign scientists work constantly on research and projects for conservation of the Galapagos terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The Charles Darwin Research Station, established in 1964, has a Natural History Interpretation Centre and also carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galápagos Islands.

 

The objectives of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation. The Station has a team of over a hundred scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world.

Scientific research and monitoring projects are conducted at the CDRS in conjunction and cooperation with its chief partner, theGalapagos National Park Service (GNPS), which functions as the principal government authority in charge of conservation and natural resource issues in the Galapagos.

 

Galapagos, Ecuador

Puyango

 

South America’s oldest forest lies 110km South from Machala, covering an area of 2,659 hectares. In this small valley, we find an incredible variety of tree, vegetable, and animal fossils that date back to prehistoric times and constitute one of the planet’s most important ecosystems. The fossilized tree trunks meassure up to 1.6m in diameter dating back 300 million years. It is also an important spot for birdwatching with over 130 species of birds and perhaps more.

Beyond the scientific interest, the trees that have turned into stone are quite an amazing site.  The natural scenery of the area is one of the planets only tropical dry forests and is the home of a variety of native plantlife like the Guayacan, Petrino, Buganvilla and animal life like deer, armadillo, squirells, Pecare wild pigs, hawks, doves, woodpeckers, tanagers and other species.

Ecuador

Parque Nacional Mahchalilla

 

Machalilla National Park is a preserve in the Ecuadorian Manabí Province near Puerto López and the rural parish ofMachalilla, a small fishing village in the vicinity of the park.

Established in 1979, Machalilla National Park near Puerto Lopéz rests along the Pacific coast. It incorporates beaches,fog forestdry forest, small islands and two larger islands, Salango and Isla de la Plata, the latter named for a legendary hoard of silver left by Sir Francis Drake.

In 1990 the park was named an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention. Wildlife includesarmadillos, two species of monkeys and birds of more than 270 species. Many of the large mammals in Machalilla National Park are regionally and locally endangered. Machalilla National Park is the only habitat outside of the Galapagos Islands of waved albatross. The ocean regions of the park also provide a breeding ground for humpback whales. Vegetation includes opuntia cactuspalo santo treeskapok trees and the algaroba tree.[1] Most of the tropical scrub desert and forest of western Ecuador, once 25% but now only 1%, can be found in the park.

Machalilla National Park has been threatened by a number of factors, including deforestationcommercial fishing,poaching and the ecological impact of the tourist industry. In 1991, The Nature Conservancy, the United States Agency for International Development and a group of partner organizations across Latin America and the Caribbean began contributing funds for conservation as part of the Parks in Peril (PiP) program. Machalilla National Park opened an on-site center for educating visitors about the ecology of the park and conservation issues. The park also hired locals to serve as guards, increasing local awareness of the issues impacting the park. Machalilla's partner organization, Fundación Natura, has also worked with local communities to provide training on environmentally agricultural and fishing practices.

Ecuador

Laguna De Cajas

 

In the province of Imbabura a few hours away North from Quito it is located Mojanda. Mojanda is a complex of three lakes Caricocha (male lake) or big lake, Huarmicocha (female lake) or small lake andYanacocha or black lake. The three of them are connected by different paramo paths and defended by two mountains the Fuya-Fuya to the East and the Yanahurco or Black Mountain to the west. Everything is around the 3 714 meters.

Around the Mojanda Lakes there is a lot of paramo vegetation and a native forest which is of a volcanic origin.

Ecuador

Waterfalls Route Baños

In Baños you will find more than 60 waterfalls. The most populars are: Inés María , Pailón del Diablo, Manto de la Novia, Cabellera de la Virgen, San Jorge, San Pedro, Chamana, Machay, Agoyán, El Fantasma, El Placer, San Francisco, Cashaurco, El Corazón, etc.. The most of this falls you can discover alone without guide, only taking a regional bus, a taxi, a chiva-bus, a bike or hiking.

Ecuador

Antisana Ecological Reserve

In the Antisana Ecological Reserve,  you will admire the beautiful Mica lake and the Majestic Antisana Volcano (5,758 mts, 18,886.24 ft.). Besides Antisana is one of the best places to spot for Andean Condor in a Natural habitat.

Rare animals and plants found in or near the reserve include:

Other notable flora and fauna of the park are, for example:

Ecuador

Quilotoa

 

Quilotoa  is a water-filled caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3 kilometres (2 mi) wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic VEI-6 eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean, and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. The caldera has since accumulated a 250 m (820 ft) deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals. Fumaroles are found on the lake floor and hot springs occur on the eastern flank of the volcano.

Quilotoa is a tourist site of growing popularity. The route to the "summit" (the small town of Quilotoa) is generally traveled by hired truck or bus from the town of Zumbahua 17 km to the South. Visitors must pay two US dollars each to look from the lip of the caldera. A number of simple hostales have developed in the immediate area, and offer services such as mules and guides for the five-hour hike around the caldera (whose diameter is about 9 km), a half-hour hike down (and 1-2 hour hike back up the 400 meter vertical ascent), and very basic lodging down in its bowl. Camping is permitted at the bottom of the crater, but there is no potable water (except half-liter bottles sold at the hostel), and only a single pit toilet, located in the hostel.

Ecuador