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Limoncocha National Biological Reserve

229 miles from Quito, in Napo Province, this 13,000 acres reserve is equipped with basic tourist infrastructure.

FAUNA: There is a large concentration of fauna in and around Limoncocha Lagoon, especially 347 bird species (e.g. tinamous, needle ducks, herons, ducks, falcons and hawks, turkeys, parakeets, parrots and macaws, churn owls and orioles), great caymans and tortoises, a variety of fish and multiple insect forms, while in mammals, there are marsupials, bats, monkeys and agoutis.

FLORA: The vegetation is typical of varzea zones, with aquatic and semi­aquatic plants which serve as habitat for the great variety of birds. Microscopic algae give the water a lemon­green color and are responsible for the heavy fish population.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The singularly beautiful lagoon landscape was formed by the ancient course of the Napo River. A Quichua community lives here, and canoe trips can be made to observe the fauna, while one can get a look at the jungle vegetation on walks through the forest.

Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve

Located in Guayas Province, the park covers 86, 589 acres, which are located 25 miles from Guayaquil. There is a certain amount of basic tourist infrastructure, but there is no place to stay at night.

FAUNA: A fluvial lake is ideal for observing aquatic birds, especially the canclon (horned screamer) and tortoises; in the low part of the park there are inlets inhabited by ducks, pigeons, herons and woodpeckers; mammals such as the howler monkey, agouti, paca, anteater and badgers; and invertebrates such as shrimp, crabs and mollusks,

FLORA: The most important vegetation is the mangrove formations. Stands of laurel, balsa silkcotton, oak, guayacan and ebony can be found in the dry land forests, with many orchids and bromeliads complementing the scenery.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The reserve contains hill with footpaths leading to them, canoe trips are also available through the mangroves, where many birds, invertebrates and various forms of life typical to this eco­system can be observed.

Pululahua Natural Monument

Located in Pichincha Province, its, 8,359 acres are only 24,6 miles from Quito. It has basic tourist infrastructure.

FAUNA: There is a variety of birds here: hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers, toucans, churn owls and gulls. Mammal life includes paramo wolves, ocelot, armadillos, spiney rats, squirrels and gazelles. There is an interesting insect population, in multiple forms and habitats.

FLORA: The paramo is dominant, while foret nuclei support paramo grass, palms, alders, tree ferns, laurel and walnut, with several orchid and anthurium species.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: There is an impressive view of the crater from the Ventanilla (small window) Mirador. The visitor can walk to the center of the crater and climb nearby mountains to observe the geological forms and thermal springs.

Cotacachi­ Cayapas Ecological Reserve

The 752,235 acres of this reserve are located in Imbabura Province 87,6 miles from Quito. It has basic tourist infrastructure.

FAUNA: The fauna is varied, due to the size of the park and variations in plant life. There are condors, hawks, tangaras, anteaters, sloths, ocelots, raccoons, pacas, armadillos, fox, rabbits, deer and paramo wolves.

FLORA: Various forms of vegetation are found here, from the rain forest to the paramo. The vegetation is very rich in herbaceous species, shrubs and trees, as well as vines and ferns.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The landscape varies a great deal, from volcanic lakes and streams to rivers with rapids and waterfalls. The Cayapa Indias live here. Walks with a guide can last eight days, from the top to the low areas.

Cayambe­ Coca Ecological Reserve

Located in Pichincha Province, 60 miles from Quito, this reserve covers 914,270 acres and has basic tourist infrastructure.

FAUNA: Birds are represented by the condor, caracara and hawks. The paramo wolf, coati, rabbits, foxes, spectacled bear, deer and armadillos also live here.

FLORA: Primary forests and extensive paramos support paramo grass, valerian, ferns and lycopodium.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The area is dominated by snow&# 173;topped Cayambe Volcano, which is a favorite of mountain climbers. San Marcos Lake, among others, is a beautiful camping spot.

Chimborazo Fauna production Reserve

144,702 acres are reserved in Chimborazo Province, equipped with basic tourist infrastructure, 109 miles from Quito.

FAUNA: For several years, a program for the reintroduction of vicuņa and llama has been going on in conjunction with the Indian communities which live in the area's paramos. The sword­billed hummingbird and the condor are found here, as well as wolves, pumas, deer, marsupial rats and rabbits.

FLORA: Paramos dominate the scenery. Quinua, the sacred plant of the Incas, grows here. It has a very high protein content and is an important local food.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest mountain (20,696 feet above sea level), is a snowcapped volcano, a great attraction for mountains climbers, as well as those who simply appreciate beautiful scenery. There are two shelters, one at 15,744 feet, and the other at 16,406 feet, where one can stay overnight.

View of the coast




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