Ecuador es un país increíble para visitar. Puedes visitar ciudades, montañas, playas, bosques, islas y mucho más. Ya visitamos la ciudad capital, Quito, y hoy exploraremos más del país (Ecuador is an incredible country to visit. You can visit cities, mountains, beaches, forests, islands, and much more. We already visited the capital city, Quito, and today we’ll explore more of the country). Click here for Part One in case you missed it.
Las Regiones Geográficas del Ecuador
First up, let’s learn about the different regions of the country. Ecuador tiene cuatro regiones geográficas principales (Ecuador has four main geographic regions):
- El Oriente (la selva amazónica) al este (the Oriente (the Amazon rainforest) to the east)
- La Sierra (cordillera andina) en el centro (the Sierra (Andean mountain range) in the center)
- La Costa (costa pacífica) al oeste (the Coast (Pacific coast) to the west)
- La Insular, donde están las Islas Galápagos (the Insular, where the Galapagos Islands are)
For a relatively small country, Ecuador sure packs a punch when it comes to the diversity of its landscapes! It’s possible to visit all of these different regions even on a short trip. I wish I could say we visited them all in our month there, but we only made it to two (La Sierra y La Insular).
Como somos nómadas digitales, tuvimos que pasar mucho tiempo trabajando (Because we’re digital nomads, we had to spend a lot of time working). ¡La próxima vez! (Next time!).
To learn more about the different regions of Ecuador, and for a good listening/reading exercise, check out this clip from the animated show “Tino y Sus Amigos:”
Los Parques Nacionales
Hay once parques nacionales en Ecuador (There are eleven national parks in Ecuador). We were fortunate enough to visit two of them on our trip – Cotopaxi and the Galapagos Islands. Here’s a little virtual tour of each of these amazing national parks.
Es fácil visitar este parque nacional en una excursión de un día desde Quito (It’s easy to visit this national park on a day-trip from Quito). It’s about an hour and a half drive from the city to the park, whose name means “smooth neck of the moon” in Quechua.
The park gets its name from the Cotopaxi Volcano that lies within its boundaries. Este es uno de los volcanes activos más altos del mundo (This is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world). It’s the 2nd highest peak in Ecuador, clocking in at an elevation of 5,897 m (19,347 ft).
Hay muchas actividades divertidas aquí, como senderismo, montañismo, ciclismo y acampada (There are many fun activities here, such as hiking, mountain climbing, biking, and camping). If you really want to reach the summit of Cotopaxi, the best way to do it is on a 2-day tour.
We didn’t have the time, gear, or motivation to attempt to summit the volcano. It was also quite chilly and cloudy that day, so we couldn’t even really see the peak of the volcano…
Instead, we just enjoyed a scenic drive and a short hike with our hosts from Quito. We would love to go back someday and try to get to the peak!
Las Islas Galápagos
El Parque Nacional Galápagos fue el primer parque nacional en Ecuador (Galapagos National Park was the first national park in Ecuador). The official name is actually el Archipiélago de Colón (the Archipelago of Colombus).
El archipiélago lo forman 13 grandes islas volcánicas, 6 islas más pequeñas y 107 rocas e islotes (The archipelago is made up of 13 large volcanic islands, 6 smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets).
Solo cuatro de las islas están habitadas (Only four of the islands are inhabited). The island with the largest population is Santa Cruz, with around 15,000 inhabitants. Next is San Cristóbal with 8,000 and Isabella with around 2,000.
Join us on a video tour of Santa Cruz – the most populated island in the Galaapgos.
Las Islas Galápagos son conocidas por sus numerosas especies endémicas (The Galapagos Islands are known for their many endemic species). These were studied by Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution based on natural selection was formed as a result of his visit to the islands.
Here are some of the many fascinating species that call the Galapagos Islands home:
- piqueros de patas azules (blue-footed boobies)
- piqueros de patas rojas (red-footed boobies)
- piqueros de Nazca (Nazca boobies)
- tortugas gigantes (giant tortoises)
- iguanas marinas (marine iguanas)
- iguanas terrestres (land iguanas)
- lobos marinos peleteros (fur seals)
- lobos marinos de Galápagos (Galapagos sea lions)
- tiburones martillo (hammerhead sharks)
- delfines (dolphins)
- pingüinos (penguins)
- cormoranes no voladores (flightless coromorants)
- pinzones (finches)
If you’re really interested in learning more about the wildlife and the islands in general, check out the Charles Darwin Foundation. For another fun listening and reading exercise, watch this clip from Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street) where Lola visits the famous islands:
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the different regions of Ecuador and a few of its amazing national parks. In Parte Tres, we’ll visit the adventure capital of Baños along with the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca.