NATIONAL PARKS TOURS ECUADOR

ALL CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS COMBINED WITH FABULOUS NATURE

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR

System of National Parks and Reserves of Ecuador

When studying the Amazon of Ecuador in the 1980s, world famous botanist, Dr. Gentry, discovered the greatest number of plant species per hectare in the world, which made Ecuador the country with the highest biodiversity in the world.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR

Welcome to NATIONAL PARKS WORLDWIDE with the national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas of all countries of the world. National parks are the prime locations of wild and untamed nature; in many countries they are the most exiting places to visit, if you can find them. This website is your first help for getting to the national parks of Ecuador.

 

NATIONAL PARKS TOUR ECUADOR

Hallo, welcome to our Ecuador program. Let me tell something that no travel agent will never tell you. Why? Very simple, because they have no idea, because no travel agent in Ecuador knows more than 3 or 4 parks in the country, other than Galapagos. That is why the "Parks Man", who was part of the selection team, designed a national parks tour for Ecuador, highlighting a great representation of the Andean and Coastal parks. This program can be complemented by a Galapagos and an Amazon module.

 

10 REASONS WHY VISITING THE NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR

  1. Ecuador has some of the most diverse climates and landscapes in the world;

  2. The most beautiful landscapes of Ecuador are in its parks and reserves;

  3. There are 50 parks and reserves, each with interesting nature and beauty that can't be found anywhere else;

  4. The most interesting vacations combine culture and nature; Ecuador has both;

  5. Ecuador is a small country and you can easily visit a different park everyday;

  6. Nowhere else in the world can you find so much biodiversity at such short distances;

  7. There are almost 1700 species of birds recorded for Ecuador, most of which live in the parks and reserves;

  8. With 7 climate zones, there are always parks that can be visited during an optimal season;

  9. Parks vary from rain-drenched Amazon parks, to semi-deserts on the south coast, from chilly high elevation areas to coastal mangroves, from cloud-forests to cactus jungles, from lakes to mountain tops;

  10. Your visit is essential for the conservation of the parks and reserves of Ecuador.

 

 

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR MAP LISTS ALL 51 PROTECTED AREAS

Click on this map to get the highest resolution national parks map of Ecuador.

 

In fact, a United Nations team - including Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil, aca the "Parks Man Daan - selected 39 national parks and reserves (see here the original report in Spanish: United Nations Study by the FAO). As there was no information on ecosystem and hardly any information on species distribution, we used criteria such as distribution of virgin forests and elevation levels, hoping to compose a representative protected areas system. Dr. Gentry's research and studies of many other biologists since then, confirmed that we did it right. In the course of the years, the protected areas system grew to include even more ecosystems and species, now protecting 51 areas covering almost 20% of the territory of Ecuador.

 

Spread across the country, these areas are found in totally different climate zones and elevations, protecting breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wildlife, cloud forests in the Andes, rainforests in the Amazon, and at the coast, mangroves and cactus-clad dry forests.

The National Parks System of Ecuador  has 51 protected areas of different categories. Check our scoring table for beauty, access & wildlife.

 

Dear visitor, we have several websites with info about our Ecuador National Parks Tours, Cuyabeno Loop, as well as our Cuyabeno  and Cofan Lodges in the Amazon.   For those who want to combine the Exuberant Nature of Ecuador with the Famous culture of Peru, we even have a 7 days Highlights of Peru extension! Here you can find our Prices. Our website gives you the best information on the internet, because we are the only tour operator run by professional biologists. Other National Parks tours include Peru, Ethiopia, Uganda.

 

Parks Scoring System

While Ecuador has various different types of management categories, in reality, all these areas are equally important, and we consider them all national parks. Some national parks - which among other things are for the enjoyment of the people - are difficult to get into, while some of the reserves are so accessible and beautiful, that they should really be a national park. With so many parks and reserves to chose from, what really matters to you is which ones are the best. Below you can see the map with all the areas. For more information click here for:

CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW UPDATED 2017 NATIONAL PARKS MAP [CLICK FOR HIGH RESOLUTION]

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Nowhere in the world, can you enjoy the Amazon region like en Ecuador's Cuyabeno Wildlife ReserveNATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: we have two lodges, the Cuyabeno Lodge and the Cofan Lodge.

Nowhere in the world, can you enjoy the Amazon region like en Ecuador's Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, where 

we have two lodges, the Cuyabeno Lodge and the Cofan Lodge.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: on the border with Peru: LagartococheNATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Cuyabeno, extensive network of lakes and creeks, where almost nobody ever comes.

Expensive to get to, but no doubt, Ecuador's most spectacular and fauna rich area is on the border with Peru: Lagartococha, where 

you will find an extensive network of lakes and creeks, where almost nobody ever comes.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Cuicocha, no doubt is Ecuador's most scenic crater lake, but there are several others as well to enjoy.  NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: The Cotopaxi National Park is home to the world's highest active volcano.

Cuicocha, no doubt is Ecuador's most scenic crater lake, but there are several others as well to enjoy. 

The Cotopaxi National Park is home to the world's highest active volcano.

 

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: The San Rafael Waterfalls are Ecuador's most spectacular falls.  NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Ingapirca is Ecuador's Machu Picchu.

The San Rafael Waterfalls are Ecuador's most spectacular falls. 

Ingapirca is Ecuador's Machu Picchu.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Chimborazon, the highest point on earth where you can get by carNATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: The Chimborazo Volcano also is the highest point on earth to see vicuñas

Get to the highest point on earth where you can get by car and enjoy the roughest landscape. Either enjoy outside or from the shelter while enjoying a hot drink. 

The Chimborazo Volcano also is the highest point on earth to see vicuñas, as they roam past 5000 m into the snow.

 

SCORING TABLE *  **

 

Scenic

Access

Ecological Importance

Overnight Facilities

BIOLOGICAL RESERVES

Cerro Plateado Biological Reserve

 

 

 

 

El Condor Biological Reserve pdf ***

3

1

3

1

El Quimi Biological Reserve pdf

 

 

 

 

Limon Cocha Biological Reserve pdf

4

5

3

5

ECOLOGICAL RESERVES

Antisana Ecological Reserve pdf

3

2

2

1

Arenilla Ecological Reserve pdf

2

4

1

3

Churute mangrove Ecological Reserve pdf

3

3

4

3

Cofan-Bermejo Ecological Reserve pdf

2

2

2

1

Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve pdf

5

5

4

5

El Angel Ecological Reserve pdf

5

3

5

3

Ilinizas Ecological Reserve pdf

5

5

5

5

Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve pdf

5

2

5

2

 

       

FAUNA RESERVES

Chimborazo Fauna Reserve pdf

5

4

5 (vecuñas)

5

Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve **** pdf pdf-visitantes

5

5

5

5

Manglares el Salado Fauna Reserve pdf

2

3

2

2

Puntilla de Santa Elena Fauna Reserve

 

 

 

 

GEOBOTANICAL RESERVE

Pululahua pdf

5

5

2

5

MARINE RESERVE

Galapagos Biological Marine Marine Reserve pdf

3

5

5

5

Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL PARKS

Cajas National Park pdf pdf-visitantes

5

5

4

5

Cayambe Coca National Park pdf

5

5

5

1

Cotopaxi National Park pdf

5

5

2

5

Galapagos NP National Park pdf

5

5

5

5

Llanganates National Park pdf

3

1

3

1

Machalilla National Park pdf

3

5

5

5

Podocarpus National Park pdf

3

3

5

1

Sangay National Park pdf

5

2

5

1

Sumaco-Napo-Galeras National Park pdf

3

1

4

1

Yacuri National Park

 

 

 

 

Yasuni National Park pdf

4

3

5

5

NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS

Isla Santay National Recreation Area

 

 

 

 

Los Samanes National Recreation Area

 

 

 

 

Quimsacocha National Recreation Area

 

 

 

 

El Boliche National Recreation Area pdf

3

5

3

4

Playas de Villamil National Recreation Area

 

 

 

 

Lago National Recreation Area pdf

2

5

1

3

WILDLIFE REFUGES

La Chiquita Wildlife Refuge pdf

2

4

2

4

El Pambilar Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

El Zarra Wildlife Refuge pdf

 

 

 

 

Isla Corazon and Fragatas Island Wildlife Refuge pdf

2

5

3

5

El Morro Mangroves Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

Rio Esmeraldas Estuary Mangrove Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

Rio Muisne Estuary Mangrove Wildlife Refuge pdf

2

2

2

2

Pacoche Coastal Marine Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

Pasachoa Wildlife Refuge pdf

 

 

 

 

Santa Clara Island Wildlife Refuge

2

2

2

2

* We have a pdf with the entire list of protected areas of Ecuador.

** We have an introduction to the protected areas sistem of Ecuador in Spanish.

*** We have detailed pdf reports in Spanish on a variety of areas that you can download from the respective links.

**** The area names with links take you to the corresponding web pages.

 

 

We have developed 7 modules for Ecuador that can be purchased individually or combined:

  1. CONTINENTAL NATIONAL PARKS TOURS:

    1. Ecuador National Parks tour, Andes Module 5 days;

    2. Ecuador National Parks tour, Coast Module 5 days;

    3. Ecuador National Parks tour, Andes-Coast Module 6 days;

    4. Ecuador National Parks tour, Andes-Coast Module 7 days;

    5. Ecuador National Parks tour, Andes-Coast Module 11 days;

  2. GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, VARIOUS OPTIONS VARYING FROM ISLAND HOPPING TO BUDGET OR DELUXE YACHTS;

  3. AMAZON TOURS.

CUYABENO, GETTING THERE AND BACK

There are 3 options to travel to the Amazon Lowlands:

  • Take the night bus from Quito to Lagoagrio (usually leaves at 11 at night) from the "Terminal Norte" in Quito and arrive in Lagoagrio at dawn, which takes about 7 hours. It costs about $ 25 for the round trip and you have to leave from your hotel in Quito to the terminal  an hour before departure (by taxi). Alternatively, you can take a day bus, but then you will have to spend the night in Lagoagrio. We will pick you up in Lagoagrio in combination with arriving passengers by plane, departing generally at 10:30 (depending on the arrival of the plane), to Nuevo Unión (2 hours), where we embark in our canoe at about 12:30. Between your departure from your hotel at night at 10 at night until boarding the our motorized canoe, will be more or less 15 hours. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Fly with Tame Quito - Lagoagrio. You can book your ticket at https://www.tame.com.ec, which costs about $ 150 round trip, but additionally you have to consider the cost of a taxi that costs 2X25; Then it actually costs $ 200. Your flight usually leaves at 9 in the morning, and takes 30 minutes to arrive. As many times the flight is delayed, count on arriving around 10, and after getting your luggage, it will be 10:30. We'll pick you up at the airport. From there it takes two hours to arrive in Nuevo Union, where we leave in our canoe at 12:30. Thus flying takes a total of 5 - 6 hours from your hotel until you can embark on the Rio Aguarico. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Take our Private Trans-Andean Transportation to the Aguarico or Cuyabeno River, of which you can read the details below. We will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning and take to the Aguarico River in about 8 - 9 hours depending how much time we spend on the way at the overlooks into the Cayambe _ Coca Ecological. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO - AGUARICO

 

Lake Papallacta.San Rafael Waterfalls.

Near the mountain pass you pass by beautiful paramos and some of the highest rainforests in the world along Lake Papallacta.

The San Rafael waterfall surrounded by virgin cloud forest is the most beautiful waterfall of the country.

 

Jamanco Spa at Lake Papallacta LakeThe Reventador Volcano pouring out lava.

Bordering Lake Papallacta is the Jamanco Spa with great mineral water without prior filtration as done in the Papallacta resorts. As a result, the mineral quality is supposed to be better, while resort prices are a fraction of the spas in Papallacta.

The Reventador is Ecuador's most active volcano and frequently runs of down-pouring can be seen glowing in the night.

  • It is possible to arrange for spending the night at either a Papallacta (costly) or Jamanco (friendly and much more economical) Spa, but then another day is needed.

  • Many passengers who take the private transportation, chose to fly back or visa versa.

Lagoagrio airport.Cayambe Volcano right on the Equator.

Arrival at the airport of oil-boom town Lagoagrio.

On a clear day you can see the Cayambe exactly on the equator, as you fly around it. It is the only major volcano as well as the only glacier in the world precisely on the equator. On the way in, chose a window on the right and on the way back on the left of the plane.

 

What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.

 

National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.

 

Phone USA: (++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740

Email: [email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide