Types of Tourism in Ecuador
There are about 20 National Parks and Reserves in Ecuador, occupying 16% of the territory. The most popular is the National Park in the Galapagos Islands. Here you can see ancient volcanoes, a diverse natural world and the most incredible animals. Most of the territory of the islands is under protection, so you must strictly follow the instructions of the guide. You will be offered scuba diving, climbing volcanoes, up close to such animals and birds as seals, sea lions, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, pelicans and penguins.
The largest of the islands, Santa Cruz, is considered the most interesting in terms of biodiversity.. To maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the islands, a fee is charged from tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. Among the National Parks located on the mainland, Sangay, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pasochoa Forest Reserve, Podocarpus Park, Cuyabeno Park with a network of lakes and swamps inhabited by pink freshwater dolphins, water turtles, black caiman, anaconda, manatee and otters. Check top-medical-schools.org for travel information in Ecuador.
The Machalilla National Park, located on the Pacific coast of the country, is the only protected coral formation in the waters of Ecuador .. Mangrove forests can be seen in the reserves of Mataje-Kayapas and Manglares-Chirute. The largest protected area in the country is the Yasuni International Biosphere Reserve, which is located in the Oriente region in the basins of the Rio Tiputini, Yasuni, Nashino and Kuraray rivers. The reserve covers an area of 10 thousand square kilometers. On one hectare of land there are up to 473 tree species.
Cotopaxi Volcano is the best place for hiking and mountaineering in Ecuador. It is the highest active volcano in the world. Its peak reaches 5897 m. The journey starts from the Cotopaxi National Park, where you will be assigned a guide. It should be noted that tourists should go through acclimatization for several days before climbing volcanoes.
The highest point in Ecuador – the extinct volcano Chimborazo (6310 m), which is translated from the language of the Indians means “snow mountain”. Volcano Cayambe (5790 m) is the third highest in Ecuador. All these volcanoes are located on the so-called “Volcano Avenue”. This is a chain of mountain peaks about 325 km long, among which a narrow gauge railway is laid. It is considered the highest in the world. Traveling along it, you can admire the mountain landscapes of Ecuador.
The best beaches in Ecuador are found in Atacamas, San Vincent, Bahia de Manta, Salinas, Playas and the Santa Elena Peninsula. Atacamas is the most popular resort in the country, but here you have to be careful with a strong current that can carry you into the open ocean. Salinas – the most expensive and luxurious resort Ecuador. Coastal waters are suitable for sports such as surfing, especially the coast near the city of Canoa, and diving.
Diving in the Galapagos Islands.
The water temperature in the area of the islands throughout the year does not fall below +18 degrees, but it is best to dive from November to June, when the most favorable natural conditions are observed. Visibility in coastal waters is 12-18 meters. It is worth being careful with a strong undercurrent that hits the largest island of the archipelago – Isabella. It is this current that brings cool and plankton-rich water from the depths, which attracts the most fantastic inhabitants of the ocean here. Here you will see hundreds of species of fish, sea lions, turtles and dolphins, as well as the largest swimming lizards – giant marine iguanas. In some places you can meet hammerhead or whitetip sharks, whale sharks and whales.
Not far from Fernandina Island is Urbina Bay with coral reefs. But be sure to remember that the Galapagos is a National Park, where you can dive only in strictly designated areas and with dive guides. The recommended level of experience for diving here is that of an advanced diver who has over 30 dives. Divers must be at least 12 years old to dive. Very often, tourists book entire dive safaris on yachts that cover all the islands and last for several days. Such cruises depart from Gauyakil, or a transfer flight is first organized from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, where the journey begins.
The excursion program in Ecuador includes trips to volcanoes and tropical forests, acquaintance with the flora and fauna of the country, as well as sightseeing of the main colonial cities and the ruins of Indian settlements.