Five January picks for nature enthusiasts in Ecuador


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There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of activities in nature to behold within the borders of this mega-diverse country: places so different, so lush, so special, that offer from adventure sports to a deep connection with Ecuador’s unparalleled nature and diverse ecosystems. Our idea, of course, is to inspire you to discover these truly magical corners of our country.

This month we offer you the following nature travel ideas to take advantage of in the near future…

¿Are you seeking a true immersion in nature? ¡Follow our lead! (PH: Jorge Vinueza)

Puyango’s Petrified Forest

El Oro/Loja

The petrified forest of Puyango is a magical place where wood turns into stone… walking the trails and encountering these fossil deposits is undoubtedly what motivates your visit in the first place. But biodiversity here abounds, with deer, peccaries, endemic reptiles, over 170 species of birds. You can visit during two different seasons. In the rainy season, everything is green. In the dry season, it looks like a post-apocalyptic world. Due to far from major urban centers, it is good to combine with other visits. Follow this link for a fascinating southwestern Ecuador route.

Templo Machay

Chimborazo Faunal Reserve

In the heart of Mount Chimborazo, a hike all along the base of the volcano takes us to ‘the cave’, otherwise known as Machay Temple… This trek takes you through the unique desert environment that surrounds the snow-capped glaciers – which offers an impressive, ghostly landscape of an uninhabited planet— up to the ‘temple’ itself, known for its legends and myths, including the legendary access to the treasure of the great Apu mountain god…
Discover this and more…

Inside Chimborazo’s Machay Temple (photo: Jorge Vinueza).

Finca La Cotona


The Mompiche area, known for beach and surfing, is also home to a rich tropical ecosystem, full of all kinds of faunal and floral communities. It makes sense… it’s located in one of the regions in the world with the most rain and precipitation. Therefore, it is also among the greenest and lushest. Finca ‘La Cotona’ offers a true immersion in this megadiverse habitat, with an opportunity to see howler monkeys and take a dip in paradise lagoons shaded by forest. For this and more, read our article on what to do in Mompiche.

Milpe Bird Sanctuary

Los Bancos

Mindo already has a reputation as an ecotourism hub … but other sites in the Northwest remain to be discovered. Pay Milpe Bird Sanctuary (at km 91 on the Los Bancos road) a visit: the forest is wonderful; perhaps a hike down to the river; there are dozens of hummingbird species; it’s also a good place to seek out larger birds like toucans and other unique forest dwellers, including the umbrellabird and several manakin species, like this Club-winged Manakin!

En esta ruta de la Fundación Mindo Cloudforest, te contamos sobre otros lugares de interés para las aves y la naturaleza.

The River Anzú

Puerto Napo

An ideal river for rafting or kayaking, surrounded by nature at the base of the lush Amazon Basin, the Anzú River (like other Amazonian rivers) allows us to experience the rainforest in a different way. Contact kayak and rafting tourism agencies and get inspired by this article we drafted about a year ago

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