National Parks & Protected Areas of Ecuador

By: Sonia St-Michel & Ryan Maxwell

Ecuador is one of the most beautiful, biologically diverse countries in the world, and fortunately its countless natural wonders are protected in twenty-plus national parks and reserves. Within these areas you can experience unmatched scenery and an incredible array of flora and fauna. Whether you are in a misty cloud forest reserve, paddling through mangroves on the coast, or on the summit of the world’s highest active volcano, you will discover why Ecuador is one of South America’s most popular outdoor adventure destinations.

National Parks and Reserves by region (for detailed information, follow the links to the respective regions):

Andes

 

  • Cajas National Recreation Area
  • Chimborazo Reserve
  • Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • El Angel Ecological Reserve
  • Ilinizas Reserve
  • Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve
  • Podocarpus National Park
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Antisana Volcano in the Higlands

Antisana Ecological Reserve.

Amazon

  • Cuyabeno Reserve
  • Limoncocha Biological Reserve
  • Yasuní National Park
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Rainforest – Jason Halbertstadt

Andes-Amazon

  • Antisana Ecological Reserve
  • Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve
  • Llangantes National Park
  • Sangay National Park
  • Sumaco-Galeras National Park
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Andes & Amazon – Jason Halberstadt

Coast

& Galapagos

  • Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco
  • Machalilla National Park
  • Mataje-Cayapas Mangrove Reserve
  • Manglares Churute Mangrove Reserve
  • Galápagos Islands National Park

The Galapagos Islands were designated as Ecuador’s first national park in 1959; the first Mainland Park, Cotopaxi, was established in 1975. Since these two parks were founded the Ecuadorian government and private institutions have set aside dozens of other large parcels of land. It should be noted that while Ecuador has been vigilant about creating parks, it has not always proved serious in maintaining its protected areas. The country’s wonders, even within national parks and reserves, are not safe from development and environmental degradation. Due to this, visitors are encouraged to travel responsibly and be mindful of the different customs, ecosystems, and environmental regulations of Ecuador during their journey.

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Galapagos Islands – Jason Halberstadt