The beautiful national parks located in the South American country of Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands and other great tourist destinations in Ecuador.
From the Galapagos Islands to active volcanoes the national parks in Ecuador are filled with great natural wonders which fuels tourism in Ecuador. As more and more tourists seek ecotourist destinations to travel to they are discovering the national parks in Ecuador which is making tourism a growing part of the Ecuadorian economy. These are the beautiful national parks in Ecuador.
Galapagos National Park
The world famous Galapagos Islands are contained in the Galapagos Islands National Park which Ecuador created in 1959 to protect this World Heritage Site. Today the Galapagos Islands are one of the great tourist attractions in the world as visitors from all over the planet travel to Ecuador every year to see the famed islands and the unique wildlife and habitats that exist in Galapagos National Park. Many tourists take cruise ship tours to Galapagos and the cruise ships offer the best value here.
Cotopaxi National Park
Cotopaxi National Park is located in north-central Ecuador about 50 miles south of the capital city of Quito. The main visitor attraction in Cotopaxi National Park is the 19,344 foot high active volcano named Cotopaxi which is the second highest mountain peak in Ecuador. Cotopaxi has erupted over 50 times since 1738. It is certainly a beautiful natural wonder in Ecuador and a top tourist attraction. Most tourists visit Cotopaxi on day trip tours from hotel accommodations in Quito but there are also hostels and other visitor accommodations located closer to the park.
Machalilla National Park
Machalilla National Park is located along the central coast in western Ecuador near the small fishing village of Puerto Lopez where the parks headquarters is located. Protected along this coastal national park are beaches, cloud forests or fog forests, islands, over 270 species of mammals including breeding grounds for humpback whales. Hotels, lodges and hostels are located in the area to accommodate tourists.
Podocarpus National Park
Podocarpus National Park is located in south-central Ecuador about 20 miles west of the city of Cuenca. Podocarpus National Park was created in 1982 and contains over 100 lagoons or mountain lakes, many waterfalls, cloud forest, rainforest, around 800 species of birds, over 4,000 species of plants and the park is sometimes called the Botanical Garden of America. Podocarpus is a popular tourist attraction with visitors who like to hike, bird watch, see waterfalls, view abundant wildlife and flora. Tours to the park are readily available.
El Cajas National Park
El Cajas National Park is located near Podocarpus National Park in south-central Ecuador about 18 miles west of Cuenca. Created in 1996 El Cajas National Park contains almost 300 glacially originated mountain lakes and lagoons spread out among the many valleys, cloud forests and ravines in the park. El Cajas is a popular tourist attraction in Ecuador with hikers, bird watchers and nature lovers and is home to the rare South American Condor and the Giant Hummingbird. Visitors to the park can find accommodations in Cuenca and the surrounding areas.
Sangay National Park
Image Source (Tungurahua Volcano in Sangay National Park in Ecuador)
Sangay National Park is located in central Ecuador and is a popular tourist attraction that contains two active volcanoes along with a wide range of animals and plants living in the varied ecosystems of the park that range from tropical rainforests to glaciers. Animals that can be found in Sangay National Park include Andean foxes, ocelots, mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, margay which is a type of cat, jaguars, giant otters and northern pudus which are very small 15 inch high deer. Tours of Sangay National Park are available from different tour groups.
Yasuni National Park
Yasuni National Park is located in northern Ecuador about 150 miles east of Quito. Yasuni National Park is full of great natural wonders like waterfalls, mountains, valleys, rivers and diverse species of mammals, amphibians, plants and birds. The park also contains vast oil reserves underneath the ground and faces threats of exploitation which the Ecuadorian government is fighting by asking the international community to compensate the government with 50% of the revenues the government could get if it allowed the oil to be produced. The more tourists visit Yasuni National Park the easier it will be to keep the park free of exploitation.
Isla de la Plata
Isla de la Plata is a beautiful small island located off the central coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The island is named for the legendary silver treasure left on the Isle de la Plata by Sir Francis Drake. Isle de la Plata is part of Machalilla National Park and is known for its great beauty as well as being home to many species of birds and mammals like several species of booby, Pantropical spotted dolphins and South American sea lions. There are many hotels including a few luxury hotels located along the central coast of Ecuador to accommodate visitors wishing to visit Isle de la Plata.
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