Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The 10 National Parks you should visit in Ecuador
Ecuador is a mega-diverse country, where its natural wonders are protected in more than 20 national parks and ecological reserves. Here are the 10 best National Parks that you should visit in Ecuador.1. Yasuni National Park: Located between the provinces of Pastaza and Orellana , Yasuni is one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth! In the heart of the tropical humid forest, the park's territory encompasses overflowing rivers and low plains in the foothills of the Andes . The Yasuni National Reserve covers 9,820 square kilometers, or 3,792 square miles.Yasuni was proclaimed as a National Park in 1919 and a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1989. The reserve not only protects wildlife, but also protects part of the Waorani nationality. There are more than 9,800 people in the area who work in agriculture; with coffee, bananas, yucca corn, achiote, and pezca, hunting, gathering. Located in the Amazon , there are three types of vegetation within Yasuni: Terra Firme, Vareza and Irapo. Terra Firme refers to areas that are not flooded, Vareza's vegetation periodically floods and Irapo areas are almost always flooded.The Amazon is known for its lush vegetation. You might think that the soil is fertile, but in reality it is very poor in nutrients. The wealth is in a thin layer of leaves, branches, flowers, fruits and trunks that cover the ground. 2. Cajas National Park: In the south of Ecuador, between mountains and rivers there is an impressive natural reserve called El Cajas National Park . This Reserve is located in the province of Azuay, 33 km from the city of Cuenca. Cajas is one of the largest and most biodiverse National Parks in Ecuador, because it has 270 lakes and lagoons, of which 60% of these waters are potable for humans.The humidity and high altitude (3100 m above sea level) provide an ecosystem that accumulates organic material in the soil, managing to retain a lot of water while preserving the flora and fauna of this area. Among the grasslands you can find different species of animals , like the curiquingue, which is a great Andean bird (in the past it was considered the sacred bird of the Incas). You can also find giant hummingbirds, deer, skunks, foxes and local rabbits.
3. Cotopaxi National Park: Due to its location, it is one of the most visited parks. The Cotopaxi National Park extends geographically through the provinces of Pichincha, Cotopaxi and Napo. This ecological reserve is only 37 miles from Quito, and 18 miles from the city of Latacunga. Due to its location, it is one of the most visited parks.Most Ecuadorians come here to touch the snow for the first time! This park is named after the highest active and snow-capped volcano in the world. The Cotopaxi Volcano is 5,897 meters high. 4. Galapagos National Park: In 1978, the islands were declared World Heritage by UNESCO under four criteria, one of them being that the Galapagos Marine Reserve is “a spectacle of underwater wildlife with abundant life, ranging from corals to sharks, to penguins, to marine mammals, and nowhere else in the world can offer the experience of diving with such a diversity of marine life forms that they are so familiar with human beings that they accompany divers amicably. ” (UNESCO)The Galapagos Islands ecosystem contains “more than 2,900 existing species, 25% of which are endemic to the archipelago. There are also 24 species of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and sea lions within the reserve. ” 5. Machalilla National Park: