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Ecuador Amazon jungle

Ecuador, Amazon jungle

The Amazon or jungle region, located to the east of the Andes, is one of the most accessible and traveler-friendly areas of the upper Amazon basin, the biologically richest area anywhere on earth. There are innumerable varieties of flora, including many of Ecuador's 4,500 species of orchids, and many plants with medicinal value. Wildlife such as butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans are all relatively easy to view.

The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities.

The Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient traditions.

The principal Amazon artery for visitors is the Napo River, a major tributary of the main Amazon River. Its basin is 1400 Km. long and one to three miles wide. As a result of fluvial dynamics, the Napo's 130 islands are covered by young forests, which provide refuge and nesting sites for a multitude of bird species, many of them migratory. Along the length of the Napo, natives and settlers have established communities, intersperced occasionally with small hotels and lodges. Most of the shore is covered with tropical forest, and over thousands of years, riverbeds have formed many attractive lakes.

The Amazon region can be divided into three zones:

The provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Napo make up a northern zone. The major city is Nueva Loja or Lago Agrio. Lago Agrio is the capital of Sucumbíos and the epicenter of the oil exploitation industry. With a wide array of hotels, restaurants and businesses, it is a dynamic, commercial town with a frontier-like feeling.

Another important city of the northern zone is Francisco de Orellana or Coca. Coca is located at the confluence of the Napo and Coca rivers. Historically, this small city carries the name of the discoverer of the Amazon river. The indigenous people native to the surrounding areas, the Tagaieris or Sachas, know it as Coca because historically they went to this site to carry out their curative rituals with chewed up coca leaves.

Francisco de Orellana reflects the diversity of Ecuador in its streets filled with businesses from everywhere. Other important cities in this zone are Tena and Baeza.

Ecuador monkey

The central zone is made up by the Pastaza plains, the Pastaza river and its tributaries. The main city is Puyo. Puyo is located just 100 kilometers from Ambato in the Andes. The town is trying to become a magnet for tourism, hoping to attract the many tourists who visit the relatively nearby town of Baños. As part of its cultural tradition, there are weekly fairs where you can appreciate the customs of the locals.

To complete the atmosphere, there are handicrafts and other samples of the indigenous cultures of: Shuar, Achuar, Huaorani and Alama.

The southern zone is made up by the province of Morona Santiago. In the valley of the Rio Upano lies the city of Macas, the main city of this region. Macas is known for the church of the Purist Virgin that stands in its central plaza. A bit farther south, at the confluence of the Zamora and Bombuscara rivers, is the developing city of Zamora. Zamora is surrounded by a variety of flora and fauna, including tapirs, capybaras, agoutis, pumas, birds and insects. It is known as the mining capital of the country and is home to the gold mines of Nambija, Chinapinza and Guayzimi.


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