The Andes Mountain range forms Ecuador´s ecological backbone. It runs from north to south dividing the continental part in 3 main regions. La Sierra, as the Andes are called in Ecuador, boasts active, glaciated volcanoes with summits up to 6263 m. (Chimborazo), highland lakes, moorlands, wetlands and mountain forests. The lower parts of the Andes show a patchwork of farm fields with ancient crops like quinoa, maize and potatoes.
Andes programs 1 -18 days
The Cloud Forests (Bosque Nublado) on the outer slopes of the Andes are considered a unique ecosystem with an amazing high biodiversity. At altitudes ranging from 900 to 2600 m above sea level, it is home to hundreds of bird species, and mammals including the spectacled bear, Andean coati and even pumas. The plant life is extremely diverse: the trees that literally grow in the clouds are festooned with wild orchids, bromeliads and ferns.
Cloud Forest programs 2 – 3 days
The Amazon Rainforest (Oriente), descending east of the Andes, can be divided in the Upper Amazon (hilly and rugged, with crystal clear streams and waterfalls) and lowland rainforest. Both are abundant with giant trees, vines, ferns and flowers. It is the territory of large mammals such as Howler monkeys and tapirs, and lots of smaller creatures like bizarre insects and glass frogs. The incredibly rich plant life provides food, medicine, clothing and tools to the indigenous population.
Amazon Programs 3 – 4 days
The Pacific Coast (Costa) west of the Andes, features dry and humid tropical forests, huge ceibo trees, mangroves, rocky cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches. It is home to a variety of shore birds and sea birds, including iconic species like frigate birds and blue-footed boobies (Isla de la Plata). Beyond the relaxing beach resorts, you can discover trails to remote Montubio communities and learn about the Pre-Incan Valdivia culture.
Pacific Programs COMING SOON
The Galapagos Islands are located 1000 km west of Ecuador mainland. Counting 13 major islands, 6 smaller islands and lots of islets, this archipelago was formed by submarine volcanic eruptions that continue until today. The Galapagos are named after the endemic giant tortoises. The fabulous fauna in this natural laboratory of evolution also includes marine and land iguanas, Galapagos penguins, lava lizards, flightless cormorants, blue footed boobies, sea furs and more.
Galapagos Programs COMING SOON