Given the diversity of ecotourism destination choices available around the world, the Ecotourism Examiner continues the series Eco-Destination Friday with a summary of remarkable Ecuador. Home to more than 25,000 plant species, 1500 bird species including the Andean condor and blue-footed booby, 1000 species of fish and 300 mammal species, Ecuador offers an educational conservation lesson at every turn.
Top ecotourism sites:
With beautiful scenery at its 20 national parks and activities such as trekking, whitewater rafting, thermal hot baths, volcanic lagoons, and small boat cruising through the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is a dream destination for nature lovers and has much to offer families.
About the size of Colorado, Ecuador rests on the Pacific Ocean between Columbia and Peru. The country has four distinct regions each with its own climate and distinct species. The El Oriente (Amazon jungle) is in the east, La Sierra (Andes Mountains) rests in the center, La Costa (Pacific Coastal lowlands) is in the west and the Galapagos Islands sits off the coast.
Some top sites include Galapagos Islands National Park, colonial Quito, Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa volcanic lagoon, Amazon jungle rainforest, and Bellavista Cloud Forest.
Although the country has used the U.S. Dollar as its official currency since 2000, Ecuador’s main language is Spanish. Because it sits in the Equator, Ecuador is also a year-round destination with two main seasons – dry (November through February) and wet with average temperatures all year around in the 70’s.
How ecotourism benefits environmental aims:
Given Ecuador’s reliance on petroleum and agriculture production processes, the country does have some persistent environmental issues including deforestation and water pollution. In the past, there have been good intentions to stem these issues in favor of more sustainable practices, but those policies are dependent upon the ruling political party’s priorities. Nonetheless, the Smart Voyager certification program has been very effective for the tourism industry to stem its water waste and introduce more offsetting measures to preserve wildlife.
Why a good choice for a family trip:
Ecuador is a wonderful place to discover as a family though it is important to consider the age and maturity level of the child before planning this trip. Since there are rules in place for protecting both people and nature, it is important that children do not wander off trails nor touch any flora or fauna.
Children must be able to follow directions and listen to the guide, and if visiting the Galapagos Islands, the child must know how to swim. Nevertheless, Ecuadorians are very family oriented and children are accepted everywhere. If the child already has an appreciation for nature, a family trip to Ecuador will be a most memorable one.
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