Ecuador is characterized for beautiful national parks full of a diverse and generous nature, and for friendly people willing to give you the best for an excellent tourist experience. The cost, the sierra, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands have a wide diversity of ecological and cultural parks, where visitors will learn about every detail of Ecuador.
The country has a total of nine national parks scattered throughout its geography:
El Cajas National Park. Located in the Andes, in the South of Ecuador, in the province of Azuay. It has 232 lakes located on extensive valleys which regulate and keep the streams in the area through its drainage. El Cajas is the origin of important rivers (Tomebamba or Mazán) that supply drinking water to the city of Cuenca and provide electricity to a big part of the country. It is characterized by the formation of large elevations of land, a sub-alpine rainforest, and a very characteristic fauna such as the water mouse or the llama.
Cotopaxi National Park. Located on the border between the provinces of Pichincha and Cotopaxi, it is the second national park in the country. Its boundaries include the Cotopaxi volcano. In its ecosystem, we find pines, herds of wild horses, bears or condors.
Galapagos National Park. Founded in 1959, it was the first National Park inaugurated in the country. It is divided into several ecosystems and has endemic plants as well as a very characteristic local fauna (turtles or iguanas, among other species). It is part of this park, the so-called North Seymour Island, which origins are in the elevation of underwater lava. It has a low, bushy vegetation, and a sizeable population of land iguanas and sea lions. Also the island of Santa Cruz, a sleeping volcano on which live a total of 12,000 inhabitants, and it features animals such as the Galapagos tortoises among its fauna. Here, you will find the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Llanganates National Park. Located between the provinces of Napo, Pastaza, Cotopaxi and Tungurahua. Inside it you can find El Cerro Hermoso, the highest elevation of the Park. Its flora and fauna are considered true indigenous representatives of the country.
Manchalilla National Park. Located on the South coast of the province of Manabi, it consists of a terrestrial zone and a marine area of vast expanse. Its attractions include the beach of Los Frailes and La Isla de la Plata. We can find in it up to 81 species of mammals, 270 birds and 143 of fish.
Podocarpus National Park. Located in the provinces of Loja and Zamora Chinchipe, more than a hundred Lakes are part of this park. It has waterfalls, canyons, and several types of mammals and plants.
Sangay National Park. It is located between the provinces of Morona Santiago, Chimborazo and Tungurahua. We find in it more than 322 lagoons, three volcanoes and extensions of upper montane forest. The Park is divided administratively into two zones: the high, with snow-covered volcanoes and rivers; and the low, with a tropical rainforest.
Sumaco-Napo-Galeras National Park. Located between three provinces (Napo, Orellana and Sucumbíos). Among the fauna we find sloths, pumas and leopards.
Yasuní National Park. Located between the provinces of Orellana and Pastaza, it was declared as a biosphere reserve by the Unesco in 1989. We can find in it 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles and more than two thousand species of flora.
DURATION: 8 hours
DEPARTURES: Daily (08:00 hours)
Traveling to the southern part of the highlands, through Los Chillos Valley and the “Volcanoes Avenue”, you can enjoy the marvelous view of the Cotopaxi, the highest active snow-capped volcano of the world and go across rich valleys. Cotopaxi National Park is 70 km (42 miles) away. It’s considered a National Park and an Ecuadorian Ecological Reserve. Its name in Quichua means The Sweet Neck of the Sun. The volcano is on the western mountain range and lies within an area of 36,000 acres, which make up the Cotopaxi National Park. We are sure that this one day journey will fascinate you, especially since you will be able to admire the beautiful “Limpiopungo” lagoon and the volcano (5,897 m above sea level).
Afterwards you will have lunch at “La Ciénega”, which is a colonial farm and one of the oldest & nicest farms in the area.
DURATION: 8 hours
DEPARTURES: Daily (08:00 hours) except Friday
Travel to the southern part of the highlands, through Los Chillos Valley and the “Volcanoes Avenue”, enjoying the marvelous view of the Cotopaxi, the highest active snow-capped volcano of the world and go across rich valleys.
Cotopaxi National Park is 70 km (42 miles) away. It’s considered a National Park and an Ecuadorian Ecological Reserve. Its name in Quichua means The Sweet Neck of the Sun.
It is on the western mountain range and lies within an area of 36,000 acres, which make up the Cotopaxi National Park. Before the visit to Cotopaxi National Park we visit an Indigenous market (except on Friday)
We are sure that this one day journey will fascinate you, especially since you will be able to admire the beautiful “Limpiopungo” lagoon and the volcano (5,897 m above sea level).
Afterwards, you will have lunch at “ La Ciénega”, which is a colonial farm and one of the oldest & nicest farms in the area.
DURATION: 2 days
DEPARTURES: Daily (08:00 hours)
Similar CVC 31 with the addition of a night at one of the hostel in the area, with all meals included: one continental breakfast, two lunches (from the menu),and one dinner (from the menu). The second day you will visit an Indigenous Market, depending on the day.
IMPORTANT: If you begin the tour on Thursday, you will visit first Saquisilí Market, and the next day you will go to Cotopaxi National Park.
DURATION: 4 days
DEPARTURES: Daily: (08:00 hours)
Day 1. – We will be traveling to the southern part of the highlands, through the Valle de los Chillos and the “Volcanoes Avenue”, you can enjoy the marvelous view of the Cotopaxi, the highest active snow-capped volcano of the world, and go across rich valleys.
You will visit Limpiopungo Lagoon. The lunch is at La Ciénega Hostel or similar. In the afternoon, we will departure to Baños city with a nice warm weather, in the way, there is a stop at the weaving center of the Salasacas tribe. we spend the entire afternoon at Baños, which is famous for its hot springs.
The lodging will be at Sangay Hotel or a similar.
Day 2. – We leave Baños, we will go to Cuenca, with a stop at the archaeological site of
Ingapirca, the most important Incan Ruins. The ruins are just 80km far from Cuenca, its weather normally is cold, so we recommend you to bring warm clothes. A box lunch is included.
Day 3. – In the morning, there will be a city tour in Cuenca and immediately, we will
continue to Gualaceo Valley and Chordeleg. A lunch in a lovely farm, then the return to Cuenca and overnight.
Day 4. – Transfer to the airport and fly back to Quito.
In this program you can ask for railway sections along Quito to Alausi, please confirm operation days.