Ecuador is a small country that offers a great variety of nature and cultural options. From the fascinating Galapgos Islands to the mighty Andes and the mysterious Amazon, travel to Ecuador can be quite rewarding.
The geographical diversity of Ecuador means that there are a number of different climates and microclimates in the country’s four regions. Temperatures vary according to elevation and the location of the cities and towns. Due to geographic differences in altitude, longitude and latitude, and the climatic effects of the Pacific Ocean, the Amazon, and the Andes, the various regions and sub regions of Ecuador have very different climates and microclimates.
The Pacific coast has a rainy season between December and May and a dry one from June to November. The temperature oscillates between 23 and 26 degrees centigrade. The Highlands, on the other hand, has a rainy, cold climate from November to April and a dry one from May to October. The temperature here is between 13 and 18 degrees centigrade. In the Amazon, the climate is rainy and humid between January and September, with temperatures between 23 and 36 degrees centigrade, and it is dry between October and December. The Galapagos has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging between 22 and 32 degrees centigrade. All this climate variables are exactly what made Ecuador such a megadiverse country.
Ecologically, Ecuador is one of the richest countries on the planet. The amazing biodiversity throughout the nation’s various regions means that there are thousands of unique species of flora and fauna in Ecuador. Ecuador is home to ten percent of the world’s plant species, the majority of which grow in the northeastern Amazon, where an estimated 10,000 species thrive.
The diversity of the climate here has given rise to more than 25,000 species of trees. Moreover, the Andes is home to an estimated 8,200 plant and vegetable species. In the orchid family alone, 2,725 species have been identified in the area. In the Galapagos, there are about 600 native species and 250 more which were introduced by man. Three of the twelve key biodiversity zones identified by the naturalist Norman Myers can be found on the Ecuadorian mainland.
Ecuador is home to 8 percent of the world’s animal species and 18 percent of the planet’s birds. Around 3,800 species of vertebrates have been identified in Ecuador as well as 1,550 species of mammals, 350 reptile species, 375 species of amphibians, 800 fresh water fish species, and 450 salt water fish species. Ecuador is also home to 15 percent of the world’s endemic bird species. Moreover, there are more than a million species of insects and 4,500 species of butterflies that live in Ecuador.
The ecosystems which exist in the country go from sea level to an altitude of around 6400 metres. Its total area is 14,583,227 hectares, including the highlands, the coast and the Amazon region. There are 46 ecosystems which are made up of paramo, woods, valleys and the Pacific Ocean, located in different climate zones. One of the ecosystems which is richest in biodiversity is the tropical rain forest, which large trees of different and numerous species and an abundance of plants, flowers, mammals, reptiles, birds, invertebrates, fish and amphibians.
There are 10 national parks, 14 natural reserves, a wild life refuge and a recreation area which are considered natural heritage and protected by the State. They cover an area of around 4,669,871 hectares of land and 14,110,000 of water, divided into four regions. The biodiversity is the main wealth of these areas, although there are also a number of communities in the urban sector as well as indigenous and country people in the rural area.