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Climates of Ecuador
Geography
National Parks
Galápagos National Park

 


Natural

THE GEOGRAPHY
Ecuador is a small country yet is uniquely endowed with a dramatic topography and a variety of climatic zones, vegetation, birds and wildlife. Without ever leaving the country, a traveler can move, in a matter of hours, from the rainforest to the high slopes of the Andes, and then down to the Pacific coast, while observing a breathtaking panorama of land and seascapes.

 
The Ecosystems
Wildlife
Galápagos Islands
Mountain and Volcano Elevations

On route, through Ecuador's wonderful natural world, you will be able to follow the courses of rivers, broad and narrow; rest along the shores of pristine lakes, explore mysterious caves and marvel at unique plant and animal species that have evolved undisturbed on Pacific islands.
From the highlands to the sea level, its people, whose cultural origins and traditions continue to be formed by their immediate geographical environment, echoes Ecuador's fascinating diversity.

The Ecosystems
Ecuador is probably the world's most bio-diverse country in terms of both vegetation and wildlife. About 10% of the world's vascular plant species are located within Ecuador (an area that covers just 0.02% of the Earth's surface).
For instance, the orchid family, for which the explorer Dodson has catalogued 2,725 species, in Ecuador comprises up to 11% of the world's total and 30% of Latin America's orchid varieties. The Andes claim 1,050 orchid species, and between the Amazon Basin and Coast about 800 orchid species have been collected.


Wildlife
Ecuador is proud of how many different and interestingly unique species it houses. Somewhere around 3,800 vertebrate species, 1,550 bird species, 320 species of mammals, 350 reptile species, 375 amphibian species, 800 fresh water fish species and 450 marine fish species have been catalogued in this country.
The bird species in Ecuador are higher in number per area than any other country in Latin America; 18% of the world's total bird species are represented here. Even though Brazil is 30 times larger than Ecuador, it has about the same number of bird species. Needless to say, Ecuador is a paradise for bird watching and research. Some 15% of the world's endemic species are found in the Sierra, on the Coast and in the Amazon, adding up to create the densest bird population in the world.
Remember also that Ecuador has more than a million insect species, among them 4,500 species of beautiful butterflies, 25,000 of these being nocturnal. At the end of all this we can safely say that Ecuador's fauna treasury is incomparable to that of the rest of the world.


Galápagos Islands
There is an especially large effort to keep the ecosytem of these famous islands as pristine as possible, mostly because most of what is here is either endemic or travelled here through some natural means. To help keep the Galápagos Islands natural, there are many rules that are enforced well and with good intention by the wardens of Galápagos National Park. Some of those rules are that you never throw garbage overboard or on the ground, even if it's biodegradable, you can't smoke in many parts of the islands, nor can you stray from the marked paths. In fact there are a few islands which you have to get a special permission to go there, and very few tourists are allowed, permission is mostly restricted to scientists. The Galápagos National Park encourages ecologically aware visitation and your guides are responsible for making the impact of humans minimal. When you see how pristine these islands are, you'll want to do whatever is necessary to leave only as a reminder of your presence
.

 

Mountain and Volcano Elevations

Elevation

Meters

Feet

Chimborazo

6,310

19,245.5

Cayambe *

5,790

17,660

Antisana *

5,704

17,397

El Altar *

5,319

16,223

Illiniza Sur

5,263

16,052

Sangay *

5,230

15,952

Illiniza Norte

5,126

15,634

Carihuairazo

5,020

15,311

Tungurahua *

5,016

15,299

Cotacachi

4,939

15,064

Sincholagua

4,893

14,924

Quilindaña

4,878

14,878

Morurco

4,840

14,762

Guagua Pichincha*

4,794

14,622

Corazón

4,788

14,603

Chiles

4,768

14,542

Rumiñahui

4,712

14,372

Ruco Pichincha

4,680

14,274

Sara Urco

4,676

14,262

Imbabura

4,609

14,057

Hermoso

4,571

13,942

Puntas

4,452

13,579

Atacazo

4,410

13,451

Pasochoa

4,200

12810

Sumaco *

3,900

11,895

Reventador *

3,485

10,629

* signifies active or potentially active volcanoes.

 

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