Green Globetrotter: Exploring Ecuador's Biodiversity

Explore Ecuador's biodiversity with Natural Home.

| November/December 2004

  • Guest accommodations at Kapawi are natural and unpretentious.
    Photo Courtesy Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve

Ecuador packs spectacular diversity into an area about the size of Colorado: snow-covered mountains, tropical islands, and so many medicinal plants that it’s called "nature’s pharmacy." In fact, Ecuador’s tropical rainforests are home to more than 20,000 plant species and more than 528 species of birds. Environmentally sustainable tourism into remote regions assures people access to unique ecosystems while preserving them.

Galapagos Islands National Park 

Six hundred miles off Ecuador’s coast, the volcanic islands that Charles Darwin made famous are inhabited by sea lions, red and blue Sally Lightfoot crabs, giant turtles, and species found nowhere else on the planet.

Ports of call: Small groups stay on a cruise ship and make shore excursions escorted by a naturalist to the archipelago’s islands to see wildlife that’s generally unafraid of humans. A library and on-board science programs provide educational context for the Galapagos’s wonders.



Peaceable kingdom: Swim and snorkel among tropical fish and white-tipped sharks. Photograph a sea-lion pup while the mother looks on. A curious mockingbird may fly down to investigate you, while unconcerned iguanas and colorful crabs sun themselves.

Master and commander: The Galapagos Explorer II ship minimizes its impact on the region’s delicate ecosystem by producing its own fresh water and filtering and purifying residual water with ozone before discharging it. All detergents and shampoos are biodegradable. Metal cans and non-biodegradable trash are returned to port for recycling.



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