ecoDestinations - Ecuador

ecoDestinations - Ecuador

 

¡Bienvenidos!

Ecuador is a go-to destination for any ecotourist. It is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries in the world, where you’ll be sure to hear howler monkeys in the forest, hang out with llamas in the Andes, and see humpback whales along the coast. Highlights include Quito, the capital of Ecuador that is filled with Spanish colonial architecture, and the Galapagos Islands, which is surrounded by the second largest marine reserve in the world. Expect to experience vibrant cultural cities, sleepy beach towns with amazing surf, and ancient jungles surrounded by active volcanoes and snow-capped peaks.

 

Biodiversity:

Ecuador was named one of the world’s mega-diverse countries by Conservation International. As a means to protect its precious ecosystems, Ecuador’s 2008 constitution was the first in the world to legally recognize the Rights of Nature. It is home to some 1,600 bird species, 4,500 species of butterflies, 405 reptiles, 440 species of amphibians and 382 species of mammals. Its cloud rainforests are considered the single richest area on the planet, containing approximately 15% to 17% of the world’s plant species and nearly 20% of its bird diversity. The cloud forests are also home to iconic species such as the spectacled bear, jaguar, sloth, howler monkey, and puma. The Galapagos Islands, famous as the location where Darwin developed his ideas on the Theory of Evolution, are another hotspot of biodiversity. These 19 volcanic islands, located at the confluence of three ocean currents, is the habitat of some very unique animals, including the land iguana, the giant tortoise, and the Galapagos penguin.

 

Indigenous Peoples:

The indigenous movement in Ecuador is one of the strongest in South America. There are 14 distinct indigenous peoples that represent 7% of the Ecuadorian population, including the Tsachila, Chachi, Epera, Awa, Kichwas, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar, Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Zapara, Andoa and Waorani. There are even several groups of uncontacted peoples deep within the Amazon. Indigenous communities own more than 6.8 million hectares of forests; however, deforestation and pollution through the oil, copper, gold and agriculture industries threaten their territorial and cultural integrity. In order to protect the wellbeing of indigenous lands and culture, it is necessary to establish their right to self-determination at the local, national, regional, and international level.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is nestled in the heights of the Andes. It was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an ancient Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m (9,350 ft). It was declared one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the 1970s due to having one of the best-preserved and least altered historical centers in Latin America.

 

Cuenca is located in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautiful colonial Spanish architecture. Highlights include the New Cathedral, the Old Cathedral, the Carmelite Monastery, and the Santo Domingo Church.

 

Qhapag Ñan is the old Andean Road System and the newest edition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, having been added in 2014. It was an extensive system used as a link from Cusco, the Inca capital, to the rest of its empire, spreading over 30,000 km (18,640 miles) along the Andes. Its most famous portion is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

 

The Galapagos Islands consist of 127 islands and islets, 19 of which are volcanic, and are situated 1,000 km (620 miles) from the coast of Ecuador. The UNESCO World Heritage Site called it a “living museum and showcase of evolution.” Human settlements are restricted to only 3% of the area, on four of the largest islands. The Galapagos Marine Reserve, which surrounds the islands, is the second largest in the world.

 

Sangay National Park has a wide spectrum of ecosystems, from active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, plains, and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. It is an important refuge for rare species like the mountain tapir and spectacled bears.

 

National Parks:

Cayambe-Coca National Park features hot springs and highland prairies that are frequented for its excellent fishing and bird watching. It also contains archeological structures such as the pre-Incan Sun and Moon temples in Puntiatsil, and a portion of Qhapag Ñan. It is also known for the San Rafael Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Ecuador measuring 131 m (430 ft).

 

Cotopaxi National Park is located near Quito and is the location of Cotopaxi volcano, which is among the highest active volcanoes in the world.

 

El Cajas is a national park about 30 km west of Cuenca. It is home to a large variety of animals many of which are endemic or endangered. It is currently a candidate as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Machalilla was named an internationally important wetland. Wildlife includes armadillos, monkeys, and over 270 species of birds. The ocean regions of the park also provide a breeding ground for humpback whales.

 

Yacuri National Park has over 46 high-altitude lakes. The most commonly visited are Laguna Negra, an extremely deep lake in the caldera of an extinguished volcano that is frequented by traditional medicine men, and Laguna Yacuri, the largest lake in the park. Qhapag Ñan also passes through the park and there are several archeological ruins including petroglyphs, plazas, and cemeteries.

 

Yasuni National Park is arguably the most biologically diverse spot on Earth. It contains approximately one-third of the world’s amphibian and reptile species, as well as very high levels of fish (382 different species!) and at least 596 species of birds. It is also home to two uncontacted indigenous tribes, the Tagaeri and Taromenane.

 

Ecolodges

 

Casa Divina

Casa Divina Lodge is located 1.2 km (3/4 mi.) outside the town of Mindo in the western lowlands of the Pichincha Province in Ecuador, South America.  We are proud to offer comfortable and elegant accommodation in the middle of the cloudforest. The town of Mindo offers many activities for the outdoor, nature-seeking traveler. World class birdwatching is at its best in and around the Mindo area. Please inquire about birdwatching packages and personalized tours.

Ecotours

 

Biking Dutchman Logo

Biking Dutchman

Biking Dutchman is the premier biking agency in Ecuador and pioneered mountain biking in the country in 1991. We invite you to join us on a tour through the spectacular countryside that makes Ecuador a biker’s paradise. Biking Dutchman has been providing memorable vacations for cyclist of all abilities for over two decades.

   

 

Share your #ecoDestinations story!

How have you been inspired by the power of ecotourism? Voice your opinion on ecotourism in your destination, seek out like-minded travelers, and ask questions about destinations of your dreams! Join us on Facebook, follow #ecoDestinations on Twitter and spread the word so your friends can support ecotourism while learning about amazing destinations around the world!


TIES Traveler Membership

"I am a member of TIES since 2002 and proud to support this important and worthwhile cause."

- Susan Brook, Chicago, USA

 

TIES Traveler Members receive special member emails delivering tips on traveling responsibly and advice for conscious travelers about ecotourism destinations and experiences. You will be able to benefit from the rich collective knowledge of TIES global network, and gain invaluable insights - from useful travel tips to best practice stories. Join our network of 14,000 members for free, and start learning more about why and how your travel choice makes a difference!

 

To be a part of the ecotourism movement, become a TIES member Sign up now
 

 

 

Latest News and Articles on Patagonia

Interview with Machete Tours   Machete Tours is an eco-tourism company running enlightening and entertaining cultural, wilderness and activity tours in South America. From stories of ancient Inca creation Myths told amidst the misty and dramatic ruins of pre-Colombian citadels to living demonstrations of Peruvian festivals and insights into day to day life Machete Tours can guarantee ethical adventures that are both rich and inspiring.   Why are ecotourism and sustainable tourism principles important to Machete Tours?   We consider ecotourism participation and...
  Sumak Travel & Cafédirect Producers' Foundation team up to offer Fair Trade Adventures   Fair Trade Adventures are the result of an exciting and innovative partnership between Latin America ecotourism specialists and TIES members, Sumak Travel, and Cafédirct Producers’ Foundation, a UK based charity that is owned and led by smallholder farmers.   These small group tours, to unique destinations in Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica, will give travellers a rare opportunity to meet the farmers and artisans behind popular fair trade products such as...
  An Ecotourism HopTour of Peru After a wonderful ESTC conference in Quito and a “HopTour” of Ecuador, Florie continued her adventure down the South America continent with a two months trip through Peru! As always, she shares the best tourism practices and stories that she encountered on her way through video blogging and helping small accommodation providers with marketing tips in exchange for room and board (read previous article on TIES about the Hopineo initiative for a better tourism). Follow her adventure on Facebook and Hopineo Blog. She compiled for you the article...
Our Plan to Help One Small Village in Peru   Adios Adventure Travel is a small tour operator in Peru with an office in the US. On a recent trip to Peru, one of our local guides, Klever, and Victor, our young Inca Trail cook, took me to visit the village of Kallipata, to meet our Inca Trail porters in person. Klever knows that I have participated in many service projects and medical mission trips in Peru. Our goal was to survey the needs of the villagers with the intention to organize a medical mission trip. After all, why shouldn’t we support the families who ultimately...
      Why llamas? Because they are a native and highly eco-friendly animal   Llamas are indigenous animals perfectly adapted to pack labor in high altitudes and mountain trails, unlike foreign carrier animals introduced to Peru such as donkeys, mules and horses, whose use results in trail erosion and ecosystem degradation.     Llamas have a high value for our cultural landscape since they are the emblem animals of Peru.   They are present in a great variety of local cultural expressions.   Their feet are like cushions, which do not erode or...
In September 2014, Southwind Adventures Travel Specialist Cynthia Ord embarked on the M/V Aria, a 32-passenger deluxe vessel, for a five-day Peruvian Amazon river cruise. The voyage departed from Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest.   For me, cruising the Peruvian Amazon in the luxury of the M/V Aria had its obvious perks. The experience felt almost like spectating a grand performance. In my cabin I had a floor-to-ceiling panoramic window framing an unbeatable view of the river, and a California king-sized bed with fine Peruvian cotton linens where I could curl up and...
    DON’T get naked While streaking in some parts of the world can make for a good story and interesting pictures, doing it in Peru can make for some serious trouble, especially now that the government is cracking down on those who expose their cracks.   DO bring a reusable water bottle. All trash, including plastic drinking bottles, has to be shipped from Machu Picchu to Cusco City via train. Help reduce waste by carrying water in a bottle that doesn’t get tossed when emptied.   DON’T touch the ruins While it’s tempting to touch the massive...
      "Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to eternal fusion with the cosmos, there we feel our own fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America,” penned the renowned Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.     This sentiment is shared by avid travelers, history buffs and culture lovers who flock by the millions every year to witness the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu. The truth is, it’s one of the few places that people from all over the world say they want to see for themselves before they die. Each day, about 2,500 people do....
Experience Imagination: In South America (by Latin America for Less)   Lima, PERU: A boutique Latin America travel agency, Peru For Less / Latin America for Less, has presented an award winning travel video featuring some of the continent's most impressive landscapes and experiences from an epic adventure across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and southern Brazil.   The movie, Experience Imagination: In South America, condenses some of the continent’s most thrilling travel experiences into a film of just less than 6 minutes. It was shot by renowned travel...
This August: Connect with Nature and the Local People of Peru Peru is well known for its Andean Cordillera and the legacy of the Incas, the latter being well represented by its renowned and well visited lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. However, we too often ignore that Peru is more than that since a large part of its territory lies within the Amazon basin rainforest east of the Andes.   The 18-day journey "From the Andes to the Amazon: A sustainable tourism journey to Peru, Connecting with local people" by InkaNatura Travel is intended mainly to help travelers...

 

About TIES


As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..

 

 

 

> The International Ecotourism Society 

 

ESTC


The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

Connect to Us   


Become a Fan of TIES  Follow TIES on Twitter  Share Your Pictures with TIES

Share Your Videos with TIESLinkedInPinterest Google Plus  Vimeo TIES on Teachable