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Find Out How to Eco-Travel in Ecuador

The Growth of Ecuador’s Eco-Tourism Scene


While Ecuador may be the smallest among the top ten most biodiverse countries, it stands tall when it comes to inspiring and educating ecotourism enthusiasts. Ecuadorian tourism entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the sustainable ecotourism movement, blazing a trail for others to follow. They have raised awareness and attracted much-needed financial support to preserve the environment around them. Instead of resorting to short-sighted methods that exploit the land, flora, and fauna, these entrepreneurs are taking a long-term approach, implementing sustainable models that generate revenue for generations to come. As a testament to its commitment to eco-responsibility, Ecuador has unveiled the world’s first sustainable airport constructed from reused materials and featuring bioclimatic architecture powered by renewable energies.


Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of nature-based sustainable travel in Ecuador- a country that packs a powerful punch, from the birthplace of evolution to the lungs of the earth! This tiny yet mighty nation is exceeding expectations, offering a perfect balance of adventure and conservation. As a global change-maker, Ecuador takes the lead in merging dense rainforests, untamed rivers, and prehistoric volcanoes with community, culture, and conservation, creating an unforgettable journey that is both enriching and sustainable. Discover the beauty of Ecuador’s sustainable ecotourism, where conservation and adventure go hand in hand!


Galapagos Archipelago: A Unique Protected Reserve

The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, represent a delicate and precious ecosystem – a true modern-day Noah’s Ark. These volcanic islands have fostered exceptional biodiversity, with a high rate of endemism resulting from evolution far from external interference. A journey to the Galapagos offers the chance to witness sea turtles, rays, dolphins, sea lions, iguanas, albatrosses, and the legendary Darwin finches. However, this unique ecosystem is under threat from the inadvertent introduction of domestic mammals and rats through boat travel.


Restoring balance is a top priority for the Ecuadorian authorities, who closely monitor the islands. The number of visitors is strictly limited, and all activities that could impact the fragile equilibrium of the environment are tightly regulated. Access is granted only to specific sites under the supervision of park guides.


Experience the Yacht Anahí, an award-winning catamaran that was built on a foundation of sustainability and employee empowerment. Considered to be the most efficient vessel in the National Park according to the National Park Authority, the Anahí has a carbon offset program that allocates a portion of each passenger’s payment to fund projects that remove invasive flora and fauna and plant native trees.


Stay at Ikala Hotel on Santa Cruz Island; the first to set a trend in addressing the ongoing sewage problem by installing a compost system along with green energy, local sourcing and eliminating plastics. Another green hotel outside of the main Puerto Ayora area that’s also committed to the environment, reforestation and conservation is Pikaia Lodge.


Sierra Region: The Avenue of the Volcanoes and Forests

Ecuador is home to some of the highest active volcanoes in the world, including Chimborazo, which towers at nearly 6,300 meters above sea level. Cotopaxi, with its magnificent ice cone, is another impressive sight to explore during treks or hikes. It’s worth noting that many of these volcanoes are highly active, adding to their natural allure. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Quilotoa, a stunning inactive volcano featuring a vast lagoon within its crater. There are numerous trekking routes available to explore these majestic fire giants in their entirety.


The fusion of luxury and endemic nature amidst one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, such as the cloud forest of Chocó, makes Mashpi Lodge a paradisiacal place – a true hideaway in the forest, located at an elevation of 950 meters above sea level, nestled amidst low mountain tropical forests and cloud forests, in the heart of a private reserve spanning 1,200 hectares of lush vegetation, of which approximately 70% is primary forest. This is the ideal place to encounter over 500 species of birds, trees, and frogs that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In the midst of a forest adorned with powerful waterfalls and mysterious felines, unique adventures and emotions await you.


Additionally, The Cloud Forest of the Metropolitan District of Quito, located the northwest of the city, between 1,500 and 3,000 meters in altitude, is one of the most botanically and zoologically diverse places on the planet. It takes its name from the continuous presence of mist that rises from the ground and collied with the mountains, resulting in high-humidity levels. This site is home to epiphytic plants and rare orchids, as well as hundreds of bird species and the olinguito, identified in 2013 as the newest mammal species in the Americas. In the 4,230 square kilometers that make up the urban and rural areas of the capital, 400 species of orchids have been identified. This means that over 10% of the species recorded in the entire country are found in the cloud forest.


The Amazon: Sanctuary to seven UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Prepare to be captivated by the enchanting allure of not just one, but seven UNESCO Biosphere Reserves nestled within Ecuador’s borders, were nature flourishes and biodiversity reigns supreme. Each reserve unveils a tapestry of wonders, proudly showcasing Ecuador’s ecological significance on the global stage.


Leading the pack is the iconic Galápagos, an untamed paradise that has fascinated the world since its designation in 1984, and recently extended in 2019. Its mesmerizing landscapes and remarkable species diversity continue to inspire awe and ignite the spirit of exploration. Another gem in our crown is Yasuni, an oasis of life declared a biosphere in 1989, adorned with further recognition in 2001 and 2017. Its lush forests and intricate ecosystems stand as a testament to Ecuador’s commitment to preservation. Sumaco, established in 2000 and extended in 2002, highlights the remarkable natural wonders of Ecuador, where Mother Nature flaunts her prowess with breathtaking beauty and unfathomable secrets waiting to be discovered. ThePodocarpus-El Condor biosphere, established in 2007, provides a sanctuary for unique flora and fauna. Macizo del Cajas, designated in 2013, preserves the pristine highland ecosystems. Additionally, the Bosque Seco, part of the Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve with Peru, was designated in 2014, and in 2017, it gained transboundary recognition. Lastly, the Choco Andino de Pichincha biosphere is an exceptional ecological treasure. These biospheres serve as living laboratories for conservation and sustainable development, making Ecuador stand tall as a global leader in environmental preservation.


Experience the untamed side of the Amazon like never before with a range of awe-inspiring activities. More than a hundred species of amphibians, birds, reptiles, and several hundred mammals await visitors to the park, including the majestic pink Amazonian dolphins, jaguars, caimans, and armadillos, if lucky enough to spot. Another hotspot is the Yacuma Ecolodge in Tena, which has worked tirelessly to preserve the surrounding land from industrial interests and create ongoing employment opportunities for nearby communities. They now employ local guides, serve local food, use green energy, and protect the 274-hectare nature reserve that the locals call home. Embark on day hikes to spot rare bird species and exotic plants or take a guided night walk to witness the vibrant nightlife of the Amazon. After an invigorating hike, visitors can cool off by tubing down the winding Napo River or simply unwind in the comfort of the riverside hammocks.


Ecuadorian Heritage and Culture

For those who wish to take their eco-travel trip to the next level, they can opt for community immersions that offer sustainable tourism experiences. Ecuador has 14 nationalities and 18 identified indigenous groups recognized by the constitution, each with their own unique traditions and customs, making it an ideal destination for community-based tourism. Amidst the lush nature, tourists can partake in the daily lives of local communities. For instance, they can help prepare ceremonial meals, participate in shamanic ceremonies like temazcal (sweat lodge), and learn about indigenous crafts and farming in villages near the Amazon. The more adventurous can even learn basic hunting skills with a blowpipe. During the immersion stay, travelers will stay with locals, sharing moments of celebration and dance. These authentic experiences in the Galapagos, cities like Quito, and the Andes and Amazon will leave lasting memories.