Ecuador

Ecuador is a relatively small country compared to most of its South American neighbors. In fact over the years, both Peru and Colombia have stolen border lands from Ecuador. Straddling the Equator that gives the country its name, it has incredible geographical and bio-diversity, with four very different regions: isolated islands, cloud forest, volcanic mountains, and Amazon jungle. Its huge range of animal species makes Ecuador one of the 17 mega-diverse countries in the world. With its first human population tracing back to almost 9,000 B.C.E., many cultures have stamped lasting impressions on Ecuador–particularly the Incan and Spanish Empires. But now its biggest tourist attraction is the archipelago of The Galapagos, with hundreds of animal species, many unique to this ecological system. The Walleighs visited all four geographical regions: the Galapagos; quaint yet modern Quito and the Andes’ still-active Avenue of the Volcanoes; Bellavista Cloud Forest; and the Amazon Basin jungle along the Napo River.

Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes–Still Actively Building the Andes

Ecuador

Journeying from the jungle–visit Ecuador’s Amazon Basin Jungle in El Oriente (The East) to view our adventures there–to the mountains on the same day meant totally readjusting our minds and bodies again.  We left the Napo River (2,500 ft.) for the Andes at 12,000 to 15,000 ft. elevation. The weather transitioned from 150% humidity and 85o […]

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Ecuador’s Amazon Basin Jungle in El Oriente (The East)

Ecuador

Traveling to the jungle from Quito meant many changes: leaving Quito at 9,400 ft. to be at less than 2,500 ft. altitude in Ecuador’s El Oriente (Eastern in Spanish) Region was only the first.  Then came flying for about 30 minutes to Coca (pop. 20,000) along the Napo River; taking a ten-minute bus ride to […]

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Galapagos Archipelago’s Boobie, Frigates and More

Ecuador

Rick, Wendy and Carolyn loved observing how all the animals were “ecologically naive” –no fear of predators–so they could get very close. While Giant Tortoises are the Galapagos’ emblem, Wendy’s  #1 priority was to see the Blue-Footed Boobies.  “Booby” may be derived from the Spanish “bubie” or dunce, possibly because Spanish sailors saw them waddling […]

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Galapagos Archipelago’s Tortoises & Other Animals

Ecuador

Famous Giant Tortoises: Giant Tortoises have been especially vulnerable for centuries since sailors took them for meat on-board whaling, military, or pirate ships.   Sadly, these animals had been kept alive on their backs for up to two years to serve as a source of protein… On Santa Cruz Island, Rick, Wendy and Carolyn visited Giant […]

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Galapagos Achipelago’s Geology

Ecuador

About 1,000 miles west of mainland Ecuador lies the unique Galapagos province, 97% of which has been protected, since 1959, from any use except tourism and science.  It is where Charles Darwin stayed for 5 weeks during the survey voyage of the HMS Beagle and which stimulated his eventual theories of Natural Adaptation and Evolution.  […]

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Ecuador’s Bellavista Cloud Forest

Ecuador

About 100 miles northwest of Quito lies a huge mountainous cloud forest region at about 9,000 ft. altitude. Bellavista private preserve has an eco-lodge, scientific station, steep trails, and hundreds of birds, insects, and exotic semi-tropical plants within its mountain-side jungle.  This required a full-day visit since the drive to the cloud forest took almost 3 […]

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Ecuador: Incredible Geological, Ecological & Biological Diversity & its Key Cities

Ecuador

Ecuador is a relatively small country compared to most of its South American neighbors.  In fact over the years both Peru and Colombia have stolen border lands from Ecuador.  Straddling the Equator that gives the country its name, it has such a range of animal species that it is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries […]

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2011 Walleigh Travel Journal: Galapagos & Ecuador

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AUGUST 16 TO SEPTEMBER 6, 2011: OVERVIEW OF OUR ENCHANTED EXPEDITION INTO ECUADOR—AN ECOLOGICALLY, GEOLOGICALLY, AND CULTURALLY DIVERSE SMALL COUNTRY. We were truly impressed with the beauty of so many aspects of Ecuador that it’s hard not to use a bit of exaggeration. This relatively small country had been shrunk to half its size prior […]

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