TRAVEL ITINERARY: 8 days, 13 days
PODOCARPUS NATIONAL PARK
SOUTHERN ECUADOR MAP.
JOCOTOCO FOUNDATION PRIVATE RESERVES MAP
WHY VISIT ECUADOR
PRESENTATION First, thanks you for choosing us, and let us through this short presentation to give you to know the benefits of this our little country called Ecuador, so rich in diversity of ecosystems, species of animals and plants. Within the 17 megadiverse countries considered is Ecuador, with an area of only 256 370 km2, and which, with only 0.17% of the surface of the planet has more than 11% of vertebrate species in the world. The origin of this is richnest is about owing to Highlands, our Geographical position at the Tropic of cancer, the hottest region in the planet, our position in the American Continent which permit we are influenced by two oceanic phenomenons: a Marine Warm and Damp Current coming from the north called “ El Niño”, and another Marine Cold and Dry Current coming from the south called “ Humboldt”. This allows the existence of four main regions Andean Highlands, Tropical Coastal plain, amazon basin, and Galapagos Islands. These special features allow you in turn that our country possesses 46 different ecosystems, in addition to the Galapagos Islands. For bird lovers, Ecuador has become one of the favorite destinations to be visited. Occupies a privileged fourth globally with 1586 species of birds, after Colombia, Brazil and Peru. On the mainland there are 8 endemic species and 25 endemic Galapagos Islands. Within this important ecosystem diversity, you can highlight, choco region, and to the south of Ecuador Tumbesian region where we can find a huge variety of bird species. Reasons sufficient to ensure and say that we have a nature and bird diversity unparalleled that will make sigh with pleasure to the tourists decide to visit our country. NATIVE CULTURES. ECUADOR´S MOSAIC America, erroneously called the “new” world, has a rich an ancient cultural tradition that is known as pre-columbian. The conquering Spaniards saw the ethnic groups that still inhabits Ecuador today as “primitive”. In fact many people have a hard time understanding native American Culture. The XVI Spanish tried to eradicate indigenous beliefs and customs. Fortunately, many ethnic groups retain theirs traditional way of life and belief systems. In the colonial era, the Spaniards imposed Catholicism. To this day, many of the indigenous cultures have adopted this faith. However, they maintain their original language, dress, and artistic expressions. Especially in the rain forest, many ethnic groups are still isolated and have little contact with western culture, and to this day, they maintain a way of life similar to the way their ancestors lived over 500 years ago. In Ecuador, when we speak of mega – diversity we speak not only of our magnificent biological world, but we also refer to the human factor. Our ethnic – diversity is rich, with characteristics depending on the natural environment of the Coast, the Highlands and the Rainforest. THE CULTURES OF THE COAST The oldest known cultures of America lived on the Ecuadorian coast (8800 to 3500 B.C.). The cultures that subsist practically intact to dis day are: The Awá, the Chanchis or Cayapas, and the Tsachilas or Colorados. They lived in the tropical rain forest of west Andes and possibly settled there escaping from the invasion of the Incas from Perú (XV C) or from Spaniards (XVI C). THE AMAZONIAN CULTURES Many archeologists maintain that some of the oldest cultures (over 10.000 years old) are actually from this tropical humid rainforest, impossible to reach for many centuries. In the “cosmology” of these indigenous groups, the human being is a part of the “Amazanga” (rainforest) and the human spirit wanders in this forest every dawn. The human spirit can enter an eagle or a serpent or a jaguar, each one with a symbolism as to their nature according to their beliefs. The rainforest provides their food, medicinal plants, and spiritual richness. To these people, the tropical rainforest is their home, their drugstore, their supermarket, and their church; thus, theirs utmost respect for their environment. They are, according to modern world, economical standard, apparently very poor. However, they have a rich spiritual life and live in peace surrounded by their families, taking from nature only what they need for survival and taking time to meditate and enlighten themselves. To share a few days with them is an incredibly enriching experience. THE HIGHLANDS The cultures of the highlands are by no means the oldest, but they are the most visited and well known, probably bacause of their geographical location of easy Access by roads and highways. Many communities that live in the highlands still maintain their cultural manifestations through dress, language (Quichua), and festivities. Just 62 miles north of Quito you can visit the Otavalo Indian Market. a must see for any tourist that comes to Ecuador. The market offers wonderful weavings, tapestry, rugs, bags, artwork and other products made by the indigenous community. These people are hardworking, skillful, and artistic. Families work together and then sell their work at the fair. Transactions take place quietly with bargaining on the side of the tourist. These are very proud people who have not lost their cultural identity despite the fact that mestizos and whites inhabit the city of Otavalo. The Otavaleños travel all around the world selling their goods. A BIRDER´S PARADISE No other country in the world has as many bird species in such a small land area. With a list of over 1630 species. Ecuador ranks fourth in the world in bird diversity. You don´t need to be an expert to experience the exhilaration of encountering such a variety of birds. Their amazing assortment of colors and intriguing habits are irresistible.