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ECUADOR - ECOTOURISM TRADITIONS & CONSERVATIONISM

General Information:Complete name: Republic of Ecuador
Area: 283,520 km2 (175,780 mi2)
Population: 11,700,000 (growth rate: 2%)
Capital: Quito (1.5 million inhabitants)
Main Port:Guayaquil (2 million inhabitants)
Race: 40% mestizo, 40% indian, 15% coming from spaniards, 5% coming from africans
Language: spanish, quechua, quichua and other indigenous languages
Religion:More than 90% catholic, and a minority of other christian churches

Ecuador is located in the northeastern region of South America and its boundaries are Colombia at the north, Peru at the south and west and the Pacific Ocean at the east. Its main cities are Quito, the capital, located in the center of the country and at a few kilometers from the ecuadorial line, Guayaquil, the second city and main port of the country and Cuenca at the so. Ecuador has three main regions: the Coast, the Andean Region and the Amazonic Region, as well as the Galapagos Islands.

Has also some ecological reserves, as the Podocarpus National Park, a beautiful and attractive place for tourists, the Puyango forest, where you can find the millenial petrified trees and some other places. The Andean Region is the area of volcanoes, such as the Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, the Chimborazo and the Cayambe. Tropical rainforest, an immense biodiversity of plants and animals and very interesting places as Misahualli, are the main quality of the Amazonic Region. Along the Coast are located paradise beaches in the near of the main cities, as Atacames, Bahia de Caraquez, Salinas, etc.

Ecuador has one of the greatest biodiversities of the world. It has an endless number of mammals like monkeys, whales, llamas and alpacas. Its wide variety of birds makes possible to have places for birdwatching, where tourists from all over the world are coming all the time to enjoy these marvellous animals.

Culture

The ancient cultures' highlights of Ecuador are mainly its colorful pieces of pottery and figures, paintings, sculptures and gold and plate pieces.

The spaniards brought their techniques of religious art to the indigenous people, which marvellous results can be observed mainly in the colonial churches, as well as in the museums with crafts of the "Quito School", that was developed between the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Quito was named Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO in 1978, thanks to the high level of conservancy and its immense quantity of colonial crafts.

The traditional andean music has been spreaded worldwide, as well as handicrafts as wind instruments, leather fashion, timber, ceramics, jewels .

Interesting Places

Quito

The capital city of Ecuador is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable cities of South America. It's located 2.850 m. above sea level and at a short time from the equinox line. Its climate is very comfortable with spectacular landscapes dominated by volcanoes and the city itself is located at the Pichincha volcano.

One of the most attractive places of the city is the old town, where the colonial buildings and churches from the barroque school that have an endless number of art paintings and figures from the "Quito School" are mainly located.

The most frequently visited places in the old town are the San Francisco Monastery, a building from the XVI century and the oldest church in the country, the Cathedral, from the XVI century, too, La Ronda, a very attractive street and the Panecillo, a small mountain with a marvellous sight of the city with the famous Quito's Virgin. There is a lot of museums, colony churches and squares, as well as an indigenous market at the bottom of El Panecillo.

Another interesting place to visit is the Vivarium, located at Reina Victoria street, where you can enjoy an endless number of living reptiles and amphibia, that are part of the ecuadorian fauna, as iguanas, turtles, frogs, constrictor boas and vipers XXX, this last specie one of the most poisoning in South America.

Otavalo

Otavalo is a small town located 2 hours away from Quito by bus. Every Saturday the tourists can enjoy its main attraction: the indigenous market. This ancient market, dated of the Incas times is a unique opportunity to see colorful handicrafts and to share with the people, that are typically dressed. Men wear white trousers, gray and blue ponchos, rope-soled sandals and long plaited hair. Women wear very rich embroidered blouses with ruffles, long black skirts and crystal necklaces. The most of the sellers live outside Otavalo and they come only on Saturdays to the town.

Otavalo's citizens traditional wear and tapestries are made by themselves in hand looms. Their handicrafts have a very big demand and they have stores along the whole country and they also negotiate their products directly to the USA and Europe. 

Volcanoes Avenue

There is a valley with a large number of the most beautiful and highest mountains at the south of Quito in the way to Cuenca. There is a big part of the ecuadorian population dedicated to agriculture in this zone. Small indigenous towns are located in this way and each of them has its own traditions and uses different kinds of wear.

Cuenca

Cuenca is the third city of Ecuador. It is located in the south of the country and it's easy to get there by bus or by airplane from Quito or Guayaquil. This incredible city was funded by the spaniards in 1557 and it has an immense attraction that can be seen in its buildings and churches of the XVI and XVII centuries, as well as its streets that remain cobbled. The city center rounded by a purely colonial environment. Ingapirca, the famous Inca ruines, are located 50 kms. away from the city.

Jungle

The Jungle is an immense region of low lands in the Amazonia. It has long areas of humid tropical rainforest, where everyone can enjoy the nature, the indigenous tribes, birdwatching and make long walks through it. The most important towns are Macas, Puyo, Tena, Coca and Lago Agrio. In the near of Tena is the small town Misahualli, from where trips to the jungle

The Galapagos Islands

This archipelago is worldwide famous because of its unique wildlife and flora. Its frequent to see tourists swimming side by side with the sea lions, floating with the penguins and seeing a bird walking by your side. The islands are in an area of 50.000 km2 in the Pacific Ocean 1.000 kms. away from the coast. There are 13 big islands and 6 small more. The landscape is irregular and the islands are volcanic, and this is the most beautiful and exceptional experience. There is an enormous diversity of species, including birds, as penguins, water mammals as dolphins and whales, sea wolves, sea lions, etc., reptiles as the famous giant tortoises or galapagos, turtles, iguanas and an incredible flora

National Parks

The Pasochoa forest has a very big biodiversity. It is located at the south-east of Quito. Another marvellous site is the Podocarpus National Park, between the Loja and Zamora provinces, the Cuyabeno Natural Reserve at the north-east of the Jungle or the Machalilla National Park, at the north of Guayaquil - 70 kms. to the south-east of Baños is located the Sangay National Park, with an extension of 232.000 has. This Park is one of the most remote and inaccessible places of Ecuador where many exotic animal are protected.-The National parks as many as 12.

What to Do?

The snow-capped mountain Chimborazo with 6.310 m. above sea is a place where anyone should go without an experienced guide. It's also a good site to enjoy the small towns located around the mountain and where you can go long walks.The Cotopaxi National Park, located 60 kms. to the south of Quito offers incredible possibilities for mountain climbing. If you are not an expert, it is better not to pass the refuge without a guide and the appropriate equipment. Some kilometers more to the south is Baños, a small town in the middle of mountains, with a humid climate, plenty of vegetation, where you can go long walks, trekking, and cycling. You can also enjoy the thermal water in the different swimming pools of the town the mountains at the south of Cuenca is the El Cajas National Park, which offers amazing landscapes with beautiful lakes.

When to Travel

The best months to go to the beach and the Galapagos are from May to December. From January to April the climate is clowdy and rainy, too.Because of its geographical privileged location Ecuador you can have rain and sun in the same day. At the same time, the climate varies from one region to another, e.g. in the Jungle is very humid, dry in the Andean Region and hot and refreshing in the Coast and in the Galapagos.

In the Andean Region the winter is not so rainy as in the Coast. The best climate in this region can be found from June to September and on December.


some source information from ecoturismo-ecuador


  

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