NATIONAL PARKS TOURS ECUADOR

ALL CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS COMBINED WITH FABULOUS NATURE

 

51 BEST NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES 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.

 

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.

 

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

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: ECUADOR 2017 51 PROTECTED AREAS/NATIONAL PARKS MAP

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.

 

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.

For combined packages, we can offer special prices.

 

National Parks of Ecuador

For their lasting conservation, protected areas need a lot of visitation, something that is lacking in developing countries. In order to promote visitation to national parks, we created this website. The accuracy of our list varies considerably per country and is still incomplete for most countries of the world, but we are continuously working on improving them. As the lack of visitation continues to be one of the prime drawbacks for their conservation, we decided - after long hesitation - to organize national parks tours that are guaranteed to take you to the best national parks of each country, one country at the time. Currently we offer fantastic National Park tours to Ecuador , Peru, Ethiopia and Uganda.

 

Best National Parks of Ecuador

The Scoring System

To make a selection to which areas you may want to visite, we gave a scoring to the areas, so that you may have an idea what could be important areas for you to visit. The scoring is from 1 - 5; the latter being very good, while comparing between these areas in Ecuador, in order to distinguish among them.

 

While most areas are scenic, some stand out for dramatic landscapes that are not found as abundantly in the other areas. All areas with snow-caped mountains have scored high. Tropical low-land areas score high if there are lakes from where birds and other wildlife can be watched. Access scores a 5 if there is very convenient road-access to good trails or well-organized access over water that can be easily contracted. Ecological importance is based on worldwide rarity of the ecosystem and/or species diversity. Overnight facilities score high if in or very nearby the port of access of an area lodging is available, within an hour's ride.

 

After the scoring system, we present a tour which allows you to visit a representative selection of the many areas in the protected areas system.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Along the border with Peru, Cuyabeno Reserve of Ecuador is an enormous swamp.Epiphytes in the Amazon Jungle

Lagarto Coche is a dense network of creeks and lakes.

The Macrolobium trees form mystic swamps with their bonsai shaped truncs.

 

 

 

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.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Giant Tortoise at Galapagos national parkNATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Tortoise nursery at the Darwin Center at Galapagos National Park

The extremely rare subspecies are bred in a breeding station at the Darwin biological station.

Young tortoises are kept in different cages for each subspecies. After they have grown large enough to have a high survival chance, they are released in the wild on their corresponding island.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Lake Papallacta.NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: 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.

 

 

 

Ecuador National Parks Tour

Many of the areas are only hours away from Ecuador's main cities, and yet.......... very few of those jewels of nature are ever visited. World traveler of 80+ countries and renowned national parks adviser of the World Bank and United Nations, Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil, developed the “ECUADOR NATIONAL PARKS TOUR” which takes you to 8 protected areas in 9 days. Having been part of the United Nations team that selected the majority of the protected areas of Ecuador between 1974 and 1976, nobody knows the ecology and protected areas system of Ecuador better than Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil, aca the "Parks Man Daan".

 

In fact, the National Parks Tour takes you to all cultural highlights of the country - Otavalo, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Ingapirca - while at the same taking you on a journey of discovery of a fabulous representation of all major ecosystems of the Andes and the Coast.

 

As tours to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon are amply offered to the public, we decided not to include those destinations, thus facilitating a modular approach allowing visitors to compose their overall Ecuador visit by combining one's modules of choice. A visit to the Amazon has now become within reach of many visitors. Particularly, the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve has now become one of the world's highest valued Amazon parks for

  • its incredible biodiversity;

  • its convenient access and;

  • its reasonable pricing.

We also left out a visit to the highest and most beautiful capital of the Americas, Quito, as there is enough opportunity to see it between modules. So, when combining all three modules, one gets a selection of most ecosystems of the entire continent of South America as well as all cultural mayor highlights of Ecuador!

 

Our National Parks tours have been designed to complement existing national parks programs to Galapagos and/or Amazon national parks, like Cuyabeno and Yasuní. They can start from different places, particularly Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts as many as 9 days, it is possible to make a limited selection of parks. For instance, a 6 days' module "Andes and Coast" from Quito. 5-6 days' modules are available from Cuenca and Guyaquil. According to your wishes, these modules can be be combined with your Galapagos and/or Amazon program(s). IF you buy our national parks module together with a Galapagos and/or Cuyabeno module from us, we can give you significant discounts.

 

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Peak ChimborazoNATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Vicuhna at Chimborazo.

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.

 

 

 

For those who want to complete their Ecuador visit with a guided tour to Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu, we even offer a 5 – 7 days module, with which you get the most spectacular highlights of nature and culture of South America in one epic journey! We first present the full tour, while at the end of the page you get several modular options on how to break it up into shorter modules.

NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR:  Top 25 Things to do in Peru: Inca wall in Cusco.NATIONAL PARKS OF ECUADOR: Quechua girls in Cusco.Top 25 Things to do in Peru: Cusco colonial street.Top 25 Things to do in Peru: Inca street, Cusco.

Famous Inca stones wall in Cusco.

Quichua Indian girls in traditional dresses.

 

 

 

 

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