– Explore Ecuador With Cheryl Reed –
Ecuador is no bigger than the size of Nevada. It’s incredible how much can fit inside one small Andean nation. From wildlife to people, from big cities to rural villages, from the jungles to the beaches, Ecuador has something for everybody.
One of the things that will leave a mark on visitors is the love and joy that the people of Ecuador exude. You will immediately feel Ecuadorians’ warmth and true curiosity of you, as a person. It makes for an immediate connection on even the shortest of trips.
Ecuador is a Spanish speaking country with a population of more than 13 million inhabitants. The majority of the people are considered mestizos, a mix of Spanish and native Ecuadorian.. There is still a large segment of Indigenous Ecuadorians, many of whom carry on the language and ways of their ancestors. As many as 20 different groups still exist, each with their own form of dress and indigenous language.
Known for its extreme biodiversity, Ecuador is home to 1,600+ species of birds, 4,200+ species of orchids, over 300 types of mammals including 15 species of monkeys, the bizarre Mountain Tapir, and the beloved Spectacled Bear. Many of these animals can only be seen on Ecuador’s mainland.
Ecuador includes four different geographic regions:the coast, the Sierra, the jungle and the Galapagos Islands. That makes it possible to explore each of its four geographic regions in one vacation!
The Sierra, The Spine of Ecuador
The Sierra is the region running down the center of Ecuador from north to south. It is home to the Andes Mountains, sometimes called the Avenue of the Volcanoes. It’s the best place to see beautiful mountains resting amid patch-work farm lands.
All of our group tours begin in the Sierra. Our own Above the Clouds Guest House is situated in the newly designated UNESCO Choco-Andino Biosphere. The area is rich in biodiversity in part because moist air from the Pacific Ocean meets with the cold air from the highest Andean peaks, trapping clouds whose moisture fosters a multitude of unique flora and fauna. Here you can find close to 500 varieties of birds such as the famous Andean Cock of the Rock along with thousands of types of plant life including rare orchids and over 1500 types of ferns.
The Amazon Basin, Ecuador’s Jungle
Ecuador’s jungle makes up the eastern one-third of the country which is home to unspoiled wilderness and an abundance of animal life. From river dolphins, to 15 species of monkeys, to 500 species of birds, this jungle is very much alive. You can also visit Indigenous villages where people continue to live off the land. This is Cuyabeno Lodge deep in the heart of the Amazon.
The Coast, Ecuador’s Endless Beaches
Ecuador has 1200 miles of coastline consisting of secluded beaches, fishing villages, National Parks, and pure beauty.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s National Treasure
The Galapagos Islands lie some 1500 miles off the coast of Ecuador and it is where you can have close encounters with fearless wildlife such as penguins, sea lions, and giant tortoises.