Ecuador: World’s Leading Green Destination
AgentImage | February 11, 2015
Over the past two years, Ecuador has consistently bagged the title of “World’s Leading Green Destination,” a distinction awarded by the World Travel Awards. The country received its latest recognition as a green destination in an awarding ceremony held in Anguilla Island last December 7, 2014. Ecuador’s Vice-Minister of Touristic Promotion (a branch of the country’s Ministry of Tourism) Dominic Hamilton received the award. Last year, the country was neck-in-neck with several countries such as Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Norway in several categories. Of course, Ecuador prevailed!
This recognition, along with many others, attests to Ecuador’s great natural beauty. From the Andes to the Galapagos, the country has been blessed by Mother Nature with beautiful beaches, verdant jungles and valleys, breathtaking mountains, and more – it truly has some of the world’s most diverse landscapes.
Three Regions, One Country
Divided into parallel sections, mainland Ecuador is home to three distinct regions. In the east you’ll find the Oriente, a region that extends well into the upper Amazon basin. The area is sparsely populated so don’t expect to find a lot of commercial establishments. What you’ll find, however, is miles upon miles of dense tropical rainforest, home to various flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the region is constantly threatened by the encroachment of colonization and the oil industry, but with more and more people becoming more aware of the importance of preserving the environment, this situation may very well still change.
West of Oriente is the Sierra, the indigenous and agricultural heart of Ecuador. In this region you’ll find the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, as well as some of the country’s oldest and greatest cities. Formed by the western and eastern portions of the Andes mountain range, the Sierra is home to more than thirty volcanoes! It has a gentler side, however, as rolling hills also form part of the region’s topography. The land is fertile here as well, as evidenced by patchworks of fields, farming villages, and haciendas found in the area.
In the coastal region, you’ll find pristine beaches, port cities, fishing farms, as well as mangrove swamps. Bordered by the Pacific seaboard, the land is very fertile and produces some of the country’s most important produce. Banana, sugar, rice, coffee, and cacao plantations are found in this area.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget the famed archipelago that is the Galapagos Islands. 19 islands comprise this “living museum,” which are found in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 kilometers away from the mainland. Three ocean currents converge right at the spot where the Galapagos Islands are found, which is what makes it one of the world’s richest marine life sanctuaries. Isolated in the middle of the ocean, the islands are home to an exciting and unusual population of animal life. Here, you’ll find different types of finch, the land iguana, and the Galapagos tortoise. The reptile is the 13th heaviest living reptile, weighing up to 250 kilograms. The Galapagos tortoise is also one of the longest living vertebrates. There are only two known places where the giant tortoises are found. If you weren’t fortunate to see a giant tortoise in the Galapagos, then head to the Aldabra coral atoll in the Indian Ocean.