Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

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Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999.

It comprises three main geographical area: the "costa", the fertile alluvial plain which stretches from the western Cordillera of the Andes to the Pacific coast.

Then there is the "sierra", encompassing the two Andean Cordilleras which run north to south through the country (where the majority of people live) and the "selva" in the East, the Amazon jungle region which accounts for more than a third of the whole of Ecuador.

In the sierra is Quito, Ecuador's high altitude capital lying at almost 3,000 metres above sea level. From there it is easy to visit the colourful market towns of Otavalo and Saquisili and the so called "Valley of volcanoes, including Chimborazo, not only the highest volcano in the world but, because of its situation near the Equator, the closest point on earth to the sun.

The Ecuadorian jungle is not only readily accessible from Quito, it also offers some of the best equatorial rainforest experiences available, especially in the Cuyabeno National Park which is in the heart of primary jungle.

There is nowhere on earth like the Galapagos Islands. Lying 600 miles off the South American continent, these islands are in fact peaks of gigantic equatorial volcanoes. The flora and fauna on the Galapagos, long separates from their continental cousins have evolved differently and because there are no natural predators present.

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Galapagos Islands

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Galapagos Islands

Last Modified 8/1/06 5:13 PM