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Ecuador





edwinl
Ecuador has three main geographic regions, plus an insular region in the Pacific Ocean:

La Costa, or the coast, comprises the low-lying land in the western part of the country, including the Pacific coastline.
La Sierra ("the highlands") is the high-altitude belt running north to south along the center of the country, its mountainous terrain dominated by the Andes mountain range.
El Oriente ("the east") comprises the Amazon rainforest areas in the eastern part of the country, accounting for just under half of the country's total surface area, though populated by under 5 percent of the population.
The Región Insular is the region comprising the Galápagos Islands, some 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.
Ecuador's capital is Quito, which is in the province of Pichincha in the Sierra region. Its largest city is Guayaquil, in the province of Guayas on the Coast. Cotopaxi, which is just south of Quito, features one of the world's highest active volcanoes. The top of Mount Chimborazo (6,310-m above sea level) is considered to be the most distant point from the center of the earth, given the ovoidal shape of the planet (wider at the equator).

Although the country is not particularly large (the size of the U.S. state of Colorado), there is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude. The Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate, with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and relatively dry; and the Amazon basin on the eastern side of the mountains shares the climate of other rain forest zones.

Because of its location at the equator, Ecuador experiences little variation in daylight hours during the course of a year.
edwinl
Quito is an ideal place to start your trips around Ecuador. Ecuador is a country with many different contrasts. Ecuador is located on the equatorial line and crossed by the Andes Mountain range, offering visitors beautiful landscapes, stretching from sun bathed beaches by the Pacific Ocean to the wildest tropical forest in the Amazon. To visit Ecuador is to enter a world of wonders and adventures. The opportunities to enjoy a beautiful trip are infinite.

There are unique opportunities to enjoy great adventures of mountain biking, mountain climbing, rafting or exploring the Amazon forest, the wonderful Galapagos Islands, the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and tours through the highlands.

Contact with nature is a common denominator through Ecuador. It's a unique experience to live an adventure of a lifetime, that is the luck that few places in the world can offer and nature in its true splendor. That is the ingredient of true eco-tourism.

Eco-tourism is to be in contact with wildlife. Ecuador offers the world a place where adventure is meshed with the magnificence of nature. The immense biodiversity of the country has thousands of unique species of flora and fauna.

Tourism in Ecuador has developed a lot during the past years. In spite of being a country that isn't well known, every year, more travelers return and confirm the beauty of Ecuador.

Quito, the capital of the country, is a city that represents the beauty of Ecuador. Quito is the ideal point to begin your adventure. From here, the doors to emotion are opened and it is inevitable to admire the treasures that are hidden around each corner. Once in Quito, different travel agencies promote different destinations.

Quito is located at a place. Towered by great mountains and volcanoes, from here it is possible to choose from four different destinations, one more extraordinary than the other. The Highlands, the Coast, the Amazon and the Galapagos islands which are easily accessible from the capital. It all depends on the direction you wish to take.

The highlands consist of the Andes mountain range which presents opportunities to visit different elevations. The snow-covered peaks, glaciers and lagoons are famous worldwide. Paramos (Andean tundra) and towns, established centuries ago, conform beautiful landscapes in such an inhospitable territory where exciting activities can be practiced.
edwinl
Experience a whole new way of life amongst the beautiful surroundings of the cloud forest. Wake each morning to the sounds of nature in this unspoilt environment. Take it easy and just enjoy the surroundings or take part in one of our many activities. There is something for everyone from adventure sports to bird watching.





Enjoy the numerous sights and activities we have on offer. Visit archaeological sites or hike to the stunning viewpoints, go camping in the forest, visit the artisan group or join a game of national ball.




Feel the adrenaline rush of rappelling or tubing or take it easier with a horse or bike ride. For a more relaxed pace maybe help to milk the cows or go fishing and visit our organic farm.



Be amazed by the astonishing array of flora and fauna in the forest as you hike to one of the beautiful waterfalls or enjoy a spot of rare bird watching.

edwinl
Fauna
As indicated before, the Lodge is located in one of the richest areas of bird bio diversity in the world. For that reason Urcu Puyujunda Cloud Forest Lodge is the best destination for people who like nature, adventure and observing unique species.
The existence of remnants of primary forest allows for conservation of endemic species, such as deer, guatusa, guanta, sahino pig, dark eyed bear, pumas and wild cuy (similar to a guinea pig).




Other species that can be found there are:
Mammals: many mammals, including lion, squirrel, armadillo, tigrillo (similar to a tiger) and skunk.
Reptiles: lizard and snake.
Bird life: a variety of birds such as sparrow hawk, hummingbirds and cok of the rock.
Insects: butterflies and spiders, among others.
Amphibians; different species of frog.
Crustaceans: crab and snail, among others.

Flora
The slopes of the Andes are dressed with a wonderful dense ecosystem: the Cloud Forest. This ecosystem, also called "Andean eyebrow" due to its generous vegetation, is one of the most diverse in the world.

This system that appears in very irregular terrain is characterised by a non-continuous canopy cover, enabling the sun rays to penetrate and generate exuberant and unique vegetation forms. This area has become a refugee for many species that can be observed in their wild state. Here you can find many endemic species characteristic of the Cloud Forest such as: Epiphytes, for example heliconia, orchids, bromeliads, and moss; varieties of ferns, for example liquens, Palms, Dragon's Blood, Cinnamon tree, Arrayan, Matache, Guayabillo, Palche Jigua, Aguacatillo, Walnut, Alders, Cedar, Guarumo, Linden; herbaceous plants, for example chilca, manzano, guaba, blackberry and cherry, among many others.


edwinl

Galapagos Islands are known as one of the most remote diving areas on earth. The Galapagos Island is located 1000 Kilometers off the coast Ecuador. The Galapagos island archipelago gathered a very impressive water conditions created by the converging of different oceanic current that full fill the island of rich biodiversity.
Diving in Galapagos Island area will offer you what could be your best underwater experience.

We have 2 seasons in the Galapagos Island, and the water temperature at the sea surface goes from :

* Hot Season (December to April): 22° C - 26° C
* Dry Season (May to November): 18° C - 22° C


We suggest full (7 mm) wet suit hood and glove.

The visibility varies according to oceanic conditions, therefore we always hit the water early in the morning when you catch up the best water and climate conditions.

edwinl
Ecuador is the smallest country in the rugged Andean highlands, Ecuador is among the most rewarding travel destinations in South America. With its array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well preserved colonial architecture, otherworldly volcanic landscapes and dense rainforest, it packs its perimeters with more points of interest than many countries twice its size. You can swim with nature, rafting, trekking climb volcanoes, and humpback whale watching. Bahia de Caraquez
Quito - The capital of Ecuador is arguably the most beautiful city in South America. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and of Pichincha, the country's most populous Andean province, is situated 116 miles from the Pacific coast at an altitude of 9,350 feet, just south of the equator. It has a pleasant climate that can be described as "permanent spring". The city, one of the oldest in South America, is built in a small basin on the lower slopes of Cerro Pichincha. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Quitu and for several decades, prior to its occupation by Spaniards in 1534, was a second (northern) capital of the Inca empire. The city official name as given by the Spaniards, is Villa de San Francisco de Quito, it is Ecuador's second largest city. It is the political, administrative, and cultural capital of Ecuador.

Quito, more than any other South American capital, has preserved its colonial atmosphere, with squares, fountains, public buildings, and houses built in the typical Spanish style. Most attractive is the main square, Plaza Mayor, with its seventeenth-century cathedral, government palaces, municipal hall, and other buildings. Quito is well known for its many small workshops producing native arts and for its outdoor Indian markets.

Otavalo: Every Saturday, this small town of the province of Imbabura ( 100 kilometers north of Quito), get full of colors and get suffocated of agitation, when the natives begin to exhibit in the Poncho square, the carpets, blankets, belts and a great diversity of objects, created with the skill of their hands and the creative impulses of their inspiration. Town of Otavalo Otavalo Day Trip

Guayaquil: Guayaquil holds Ecuador's economic position.

Volcanoes - Chimborazo / Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi Ecuador's "Avenue of the Volcanoes" is a 325 km. long valley between the major Cordillera ranges. Massive and standing alone, the volcanoes provide brooding, snow-covered contrast to the green equatorial lushness. They also provide mountaineers a rare opportunity to achieve very high altitudes without technical difficulty. Volcano climbing offers an exciting, unforgettable challenge.
In the Indian language, Chimborazo means "mountain of snow". It is an enormous mass of overwhelming scale. Alexander Von Humboldt mad an unsuccessful attempt to climb the Chimborazo in 1802, and believed it to be the highest mountain in the world (6,526 feet). This distinction lasted until the discovery of Mt. Everest fifty years later. Chimborazo was finally climbed by Edward Whimper in 1880. Today it is climbed fairly frequently, but less than Cotopaxi, which is the highest active volcano of the world (6,005 meters). Read about The Cotopaxi National Park.

Ecuador Archaelogical Sites - Ecuador has several ruins left by the Incas or other Amerindians. The principal Inca site is Ingapirca. Others include Rumicucho, near Quito; La Tolita, near Esmeraldas; and Tomebamba in Cuenca (most of the ruins in this old provincial capital have been built over, but some can be seen at Avenida Todos Santos). The ancient Valdivia culture (dating from 3200 BC) left remains at Real Alto, San Isidro (excavated mounds) and Santa Elena—all of which are located in the coastal area northwest of Guayaquil. Santa Elena is notable for having the world's oldest known cemetery (dating from 5000 BC). Inside Machalilla National Park is the Agua Blanca site. (Artifacts from most of these places are best seen in museums in Guayaquil and Quito. Ingapirca Inca Ruins

Ambato, Ecuador - This modern city (pop. 140,000) south of Quito was rebuilt following a 1949 earthquake—little evidence of the colonial era remains. Ambato, however, is a good place to buy Salasaca Amerindian tapestries and other handicrafts (Monday is the main market day, with smaller ones on Wednesday and Friday). Sights include the Quinta de Mera (historic home), the local museum and the relaxing Parque Juan Montalvo (named after the Ecuadorian political essayist). The city hosts the Fruit and Flower Festival during the last two weeks of February (fruits, flowers, bullfights, street dances and festivities). Visitors can take excursions to Chimborazo (at 20,700 ft/6,310 m, it's Ecuador's highest peak); the Fauna Production Reserve (15,000 acres of native flowers and plants); and nearby town of Banos. Ambato is 75 mi south of Quito. "Tigua Art"

Baños, Ecuador - Is located in the middle of a mountainous region = It is a place for relaxation while exploring the Andean Highlands. It is very well know for its natural springs. There are many locations that can accommodate a good long dip. The lovely scenery around Banos is the area's other main attraction, and there are several ways to enjoy it. Good hiking trails, horse back riding and even riding a bike in the mountains. White-water boating is also possible in the area. Please have these all pre-arranged by your travel agents. "It's a Must"

Cuenca, Ecuador - Panama hats are the trademark of Cuenca, Ecuador's third-largest city. Panama hats were first made in the Cuenca area and are still produced there. The city still maintains is Andean Small town aura. In town you can immediately sense and feel what it was living 100 years ago. The year round spring like climate is a tremendous draw to Cuenca. The town has an Old World, Spanish colonial feel—flower boxes on windows, wrought-iron balconies, red-tile roofs, cobblestone streets and a lively market (open Thursday, with a smaller market on Saturday). It's also a center for arts and crafts—many of the things sold in Quito and Guayaquil come from this area. Among the sights are several cathedrals and convents. Home of the original Panama hat.

Galapagos Islands - The Galapagos Islands are a group of twelve volcanic islands and numerous islets an rocks 650 miles off the Pacific coast of Ecuador. The area of the islands is 3,086 square miles. Only two are inhabited: Isabela, the largest of the group, and San Cristobal. Current estimated population in the islands is 20,000. The islands are hilly, rising to a height of 5,000 feet, and there are several active volcanoes.

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique fauna and flora, which include species not found elsewhere. Best known are the huge tortoise (galapago) and some species of lizards. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1830. It was here that he made the major portion of his observation that led to his theories on evolution and the Origin of the Species. Many scientists have since carried out research on the islands. Ecuador Hotels
edwinl
Ecuador Regions - Politically speaking, Ecuador is divided into 22 provinces. Ecuador's total area is 256,370* square kilometers and its population is over 12.5 million inhabitants.
Geographically speaking, Ecuador consists of four distinct geographical regions: the Pacific coastal (Costa) lowlands in the west, the Highlands (Andes - Sierra) in the center; and the eastern lowlands (Oriente). The last, Galapagos Islands which are 600 miles west in the Pacific ocean.


The coastal lowlands (Costa) are in general relatively flat, interspersed with low hills that spurs of the Andes. The most prominent is a line of hills reaching an altitude of approximately 750 meters (2,500 feet) that extends to the coastal of Guayaquil. The northern part of the coastal lowlands is covered by a tropical rain forest, while in the south there is a rapid transition to the arid conditions that prevail also over the coastal region of Peru.

The Highlands (Los Andes Ecuador) consist of two parallel ranges, a southern extension of the Colombian ranges-the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Central- make up the highland region. The two ranges are separated by a succession of ten main basins that form part of a long, deep rift valley. The intense volcanic activity characteristic of this rift valley has produced the discontinuities that resulted in a series of basins. Rising alongside the basins are thirty volcanoes, many of them active, with some of the world's highest, largest, and most beautiful snow-capped volcanic cones. These include Mt Chimborazo (20,561) and Cotopaxi, the world's largest active volcano. Numerous national parks and protected areas of wilderness feature a wide range of microclimates and enormous bio-diversity, making the Sierra a paradise for bird watching in particular. The highlands provide exciting hiking and trekking and there are excellent routes for mountain biking and horse riding. One of the world's greatest train journeys begins in Riobamba passing through the famous "Devil's Nose" on the way to the coast.

The Eastern lowlands (Oriente) The eastern lowlands are part of the Amazon basin. An undulating plain slopes gently eastward and is drained mainly by the Putumayo (which flows along part of the boundary with Colombia), Napo, and Pastaza rivers and their tributaries. This region is covered almost entirely by dense tropical rain forest. Most of it is uninhabited; settlement is confined to the foot of the Andes and to small areas along the banks of the main rivers, where some agriculture is practiced. Ecuador Amazon Jungle Travel

There are innumerable varieties of flora, including many of Ecuador's 4,500 species of orchids, and many plants with medicinal value. Wildlife such as butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans are all relatively easy to view. The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities. The Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient traditions. The Amazon also has some of the finest white water rafting routes in the country.

Galapagos Islands - Ecuador's most beloved and popular national park lies in splendid isolation about 600 miles off the mainland. Made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands are no less enthralling now than they were a hundred years ago. Every year, thousands of curious visitors journey to the remote islands to behold the wondrously variegated wildlife that inspired The Origin of Species. Galapagos Islands Travel Tips

Climatic conditions generally reflect the country's equatorial latitude and local vertical altitudes. There are almost no seasonal variations in temperature. The average temperatures of the hottest and coolest months at Quito are 54.9 F and 54.5 F, and at Guayaquil (sea level) 81F and 76F. Seasonal differences are rflected mainly in variations in rainfall. There is no dry season in the extreme north, where maximum rainfall occurs twice March-April and September-November. The vertical zones are similar to those of other Andean countries. The tierra caliente (hot zone) extends to an upper limit of 3,300 feet. Most of this zone is in the coastal and eastern lowlands. The tierra templada (temperate zone), ranging from 3,300 to 6,500 feet , extends over some interment basins, valleys, and slopes of the Andes. The tierra fria (cool zone), from 6,500 to 10,000 feet, is a climatic zone of most of the basins and densely inhabited valleys of. Ecuador Hotels
rshackelford
My roommate visits Ecuador at least 4 times a year. He loves it. He has friends that live in Quito.
edwinl
so cool, what are you waiting to come here? Wink
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