Ecuador encompasses a wide range of natural landscapes and climates, from the arid Pacific lowland coast to the snowcapped peaks of the Andes to the eastern tropical lowland plains of Amazonia. It also includes the Galápagos Islands off the country's western coast in the Pacific Ocean.
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Sometimes referred to as Amazônia, the Amazon Rainforest is a natural region and biome in northern South America that occupies the Amazon Basin, a drainage basin of the Amazon River and its tributaries. Nine countries have some parts of the Amazon region within their borders.
The Andean Volcanic Belt is a major volcanic belt along the South American coast, segmented into four main areas of active volcanism. The Ring of Fire is an area in the Pacific Ocean basin where earthquakes and eruptions occur due to the movement and collision of tectonic plates.
The Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world. They form a continuous highland along the western coast of South America. The Andean Region extends from Caribbean Venezuela, through the Atacama Desert to cold, windy and wet Cape Horn.
The Archipiélago de Colón (Galápagos Islands) are volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 600 miles west of continental Ecuador. The archipelago is known for its large number of endemic species and was studied by Charles Darwin during the second voyage of HMS Beagle.
The Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve is located in southwestern Ecuador. The dry forests located within the reserve are the most extensive and best preserved in the country; however, their rarity makes them a conservation priority.
The Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve includes seasonally dry forests that form the heart of the Endemic Region of Tumbes, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. The reserve was formed by the joining of two existing biosphere reserves in Ecuador and Peru.
The Chocó Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve is located in northern Ecuador, in the Pichincha province, northwest of the capital city of Quito. The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot. Many archaeological sites of the Yumbo culture can be found in the area.
Quito, Ecuador's capital, sits high in the Andean foothills. Constructed on the foundations of an ancient Incan city, it’s known for its well-preserved colonial center, rich with 16th- and 17th-century churches and other structures blending European, Moorish and indigenous styles.
Cordillera del Cóndor is a mountain range in the eastern Andes that is shared by and part of the international border between Ecuador and Peru. El Cóndor National Park is located in Ecuador, bordering the Santiago-Comaina protected area of Peru.
The Ecuadorian Andes are divided into parallel volcanic cordilleras that form the central Andean highlands region of Ecuador. This Sierra natural region contains ten major basins that contain roughly half of Ecuador’s population.