This week we are traveling south to the country of four worlds. This destination is Ecuador. Ecuador is known for having four climates in one area, smaller than the size of Nevada. The areas are the Andes, which is a mountain region, Galapagos, an isolated group of islands (primarily uninhabited), Amazon, a rainforest and jungle region, and Costal, the beach region, and port cities. Each climate is lovely in its own right, and we will be diving into the best way to explore each area.
The Andes Mountain range stretches from the northern portion of South America to the southernmost part of the country. You'll most likely land in this region if flying into Ecuador as Quito, the capital, sits high in the Andes. You'll also be able to see the Cotopaxi Volcano, which is said to be the most magnificent site in all of Ecuador. It is one of the highest active stratovolcanos in the world. For those adventurous to try to complete the over four thousand feet of elevation gain, you can complete the 6-hour hike to summit the volcano. But be sure to bring your headlamp because if you are hoping to summit it for sunrise, you'll have to leave base camp around midnight. When you are visiting the Andes region of the country, in addition to visiting the Cotopaxi Volcano, you can't miss the Devil's Nose Train Route. This train route is a feat of engineering and climbs over 1600 ft in elevation and covers over seven miles.
The Galápagos Islands are where four different ocean currents converge, which makes for one of the most diverse and rich marine environments in the entire world. The islands are ever-evolving and growing due to underwater seismic activity. These islands are incredibly isolated and have been left to their own devices, making for some unique animals species. Some of the more incredible species found were marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees, and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches. This is the land that inspired Charles Darwin and his theories. You can spend time on day excursions exploring the land or the underwater with a scuba dive.
As one of the most biodiverse places on earth, the Amazon is truly a world of itself. You can immerse yourself in birding, the wildlife, and the untapped culture. Getting off the beaten path on the Amazon is easier to achieve in a group, where you can experience an unforgettable guided tour on a longboat. This is one of my favorite places to take an ecotour. There are several ecolodges, activities including birding, hiking, cannoning, and even fishing for piranhas. If you are looking to experience the indigenous cultures in the Amazon, it takes a bit more work getting off the beaten path. These communities are deep in the rainforest and extremely difficult and expensive to reach.
The pacific coast is one of the more underrated areas of Ecuador. People generally head straight towards the mountains and miss the beauty of the coast. The entire length of the country is the coastline. These coastal cities and towns are the perfect way to unwind after an adventurous trip to the rainforest. One of my favorite cities is Canoa. This small calm fishing town is ideal for unwinding. It is the perfect place to practice surfing while preparing for the more prominent surfing destinations like Montanita. In the other cities, between June and October, thousands of humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the coast of Ecuador. There are plenty of prime cities to experience coastal Ecuador.
As you are planning to experience the country of four worlds, be sure to keep in mind that each and every trip should be tailored to your personality and wants. Schedule a consultation today to plan the perfect trip around the world in one country.