a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
Ecuador is one of the best countries in the world for nature and wildlife watching, with a huge range of habitats and species crammed into a relatively small geographical area....
I visited and toured this country for 3 weeks in October/November 2015. I visited a range of habitats, including the city, gardens, the high paramo grasslands of the Andes, the cloud forest of the western Andes, the cloud forest of the foothills of the eastern Andes, and the lowland tropical rainforest of the Amazon.
Ecuador is an easy country to get around. Petrol is cheap and therefore taxis and buses are good value. However, there is sometimes a safety issue, and if you have expensive camera, gear, computer, and/or reference material like I do, you might want to pay for private car travel between spots. This can be expensive, but it is safer, and there are some great drives with fantastic views. And anything that is too expensive to get too by private car, you can always fly to a closer town.
As well as transport, food is fairly cheap, and accommodation is good value. So you can tavel around Ecuador fairly cheaply compared to many other South American countries. However, if you are going to stay in lodges and do nature activities, it will be a bit pricier; however it is still great value.
No doubt, this is one of the best countries in the world for wildlife and ecotourism.
There is a range of lodges in a huge range of habitats and they are good value and rarely crowded.
Many of the lodges include hummingbird feeders.
Because there are so many habitats in Ecuador, there are many species of plants and animals.
If you go out in the rainforest at night there is a good chance you will see a variety of spiders and other arachnids. At night, especially in the Amazonian lowlands, there is a terrific range of photogenic frogs. Although reptiles are hard to see, if you spend enough time in the rainforest you will see a number of species.
All of the places I was lucky to visit, I recommend here as nature/wildlife spots, including;
Tambo Condor (Condor's nest, Andes),
and of course the Ecuadorian Amazon where I stayed at; the Yarina Eco-Lodge
(sorry, I didn't get to the Galapagos!).
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea. Meanwhile I am giving a lecture on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on the "Sounds of suburban south-east Queensland".