Ecuador Regions - Politically speaking,
Ecuador is divided into 22 provinces. Ecuador's total area is 256,370* square
kilometers and its population is over 12.5 million inhabitants.
Geographically speaking, Ecuador consists of four distinct geographical
regions: the Pacific coastal (Costa)
lowlands in the west, the Highlands (Andes - Sierra)
in the center; and the eastern lowlands (Oriente).
The last, Galapagos Islands which are 600
miles west in the Pacific ocean.
The coastal lowlands (Costa) are in general relatively flat,
interspersed with low hills that spurs of the Andes. The most prominent is a
line of hills reaching an altitude of approximately 750 meters (2,500 feet) that
extends to the coastal of Guayaquil. The northern part of the coastal lowlands
is covered by a tropical rain forest, while in the south there is a rapid
transition to the arid conditions that prevail also over the coastal region of
(Los Andes Ecuador) consist of two parallel ranges, a southern extension of the Colombian ranges-the Cordillera Occidental and the
Cordillera Central- make up the highland region. The two ranges are separated by
a succession of ten main basins that form part of a long, deep rift valley. The
intense volcanic activity characteristic of this rift valley has produced the
discontinuities that resulted in a series of basins. Rising alongside the basins
are thirty volcanoes, many of them active, with some of the world's highest,
largest, and most beautiful snow-capped
volcanic cones. These include Mt Chimborazo (20,561) and Cotopaxi, the world's largest active volcano. Numerous
national parks and protected areas of wilderness feature a wide range of microclimates
and enormous bio-diversity, making the
Sierra a paradise for bird watching in particular. The highlands provide
exciting hiking and trekking
and there are excellent routes for mountain biking
and horse riding. One of the world's greatest
train journeys begins in Riobamba passing through the famous
"Devil's Nose" on the way to the coast.
The Eastern lowlands (Oriente)
The eastern lowlands are part of the Amazon
basin. An undulating plain slopes
gently eastward and is drained mainly by the Putumayo (which flows along part of
the boundary with Colombia), Napo, and Pastaza rivers and their tributaries.
This region is covered almost entirely by dense
tropical rain forest. Most of it is uninhabited; settlement is confined to the
foot of the Andes and to small areas along the banks of the main rivers, where
some agriculture is practiced. Ecuador
Amazon Jungle Travel
There are innumerable varieties of flora,
including many of Ecuador's 4,500 species of
orchids, and many plants with medicinal value. Wildlife such as
butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans
are all relatively easy to view. The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range
of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird
watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities. The
Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there
are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and
Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient
traditions. The Amazon also has some of the finest white water rafting
routes in the country.
Islands - Ecuador's most beloved and popular national park
lies in splendid
isolation about 600 miles off the mainland. Made famous by Charles Darwin, the
Galapagos Islands are no less enthralling now than they were a hundred years
ago. Every year, thousands of curious visitors journey to the remote islands to
behold the wondrously variegated wildlife that inspired The Origin of Species.
Galapagos Islands Travel Tips
conditions generally reflect the country's equatorial latitude and local
vertical altitudes. There are almost no seasonal variations in temperature. The
average temperatures of the hottest and coolest months at
are 54.9 F and 54.5 F, and at Guayaquil (sea level)
81F and 76F. Seasonal differences are rflected mainly in variations in rainfall.
There is no dry season in the extreme north, where maximum rainfall occurs twice
March-April and September-November. The vertical zones are similar to those of
other Andean countries. The tierra caliente (hot zone) extends to an upper limit
of 3,300 feet. Most of this zone is in the coastal and eastern lowlands. The
tierra templada (temperate zone), ranging from 3,300 to 6,500 feet , extends
over some interment basins, valleys, and slopes of the Andes. The tierra fria
(cool zone), from 6,500 to 10,000 feet, is a climatic zone of most of the basins
and densely inhabited valleys of.