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Country Facts

Call direct and talk to the Bird Experts toll free 1-800-538-2149
by Gustavo Cañas-Valle For birding tours to Ecuador please contact us


Historical remarks

History in brief A foreign perspective on Ecuador's History


"The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Seven presidents have governed Ecuador since 1996."

Location and People


Ecuador is located in the Northwestern coast of South America. It shares borders with Colombia (590 km) and Peru (1,420 km). To the West, Ecuador's coastline on the Pacific Ocean is 2,237 km. Ecuador has jurisdiction over both continental and insular territories, the later being the Galapagos Islands. Its total area including the Galapagos is 283,560 sq km (land: 276,840 sq km, water: 6,720 sq km). Ecuador's continental territory is somewhat larger than Great Britain, roughly the size of New Zealand or the US state of Nevada (256.370 sq km).

It shares South America with other eleven countries and with one French Department: French Guiana. Six of those countries are located astride the Andes and only one of these: Ecuador, is also crossed by the Equator. These two features: being crossed by the Andes and the Equator, have important environmental implications for our country: High diversity of Biomes, Vegetation formations and Fauna. This makes the conditions for Ecuador to be one of the Megadiverse countries in the world and the most diverse per unit area.

Ecuador -a very small country- presents unique environmental conditions which favor the presence of an enormous diversity of habitats, diversity of species and a high rate of endemism. Furthermore, the organisms which evolved in isolation in the Galapagos Islands, and their ecosystems, are so unique that they were declared Natural Heritage for Humanity in 1978 by UNESCO.

UNESCO has honored our country with four locations in its territory declared World Heritage: Quito, the Colonial Downtown of Cuenca, Sangay National Park and the Galapagos Archipelago. It is the Andean country with more locations declared World Heritage per square mile.

It shelters 13,547,510 (July 2006 est.) inhabitants. The native language most of them speak is Spanish, though Amerindian languages, mainly Quechua, are also spoken. Ecuadorian ethnic groups are as follows: mestizo (Amerindian and white mix, 65%), Amerindian (25%), Spanish and others (7%), and black (3%). Ecuadorians are 95% Roman Catholic and 5% from other denominations. About literacy, 92.5% of the total Ecuadorian population age 15 and over can read and write (2003 est.).



Including the Galapagos, the total territory of Ecuador can be divided into four regions. The first three are continental, named from West to East: the Coastal lands (La Costa), the Andean highlands (La Sierra), and the Amazon hillsides and upper watershed (El Oriente).
The fourth is the insular territory: the Galapagos Archipelago. "La Costa" extends from 400 masl -meters above sea level- (1312 feet) down to the Pacific Ocean, while "El Oriente" goes from 800 masl (2624 feet) to the border with Peru. Botanical data describes changes in floristic composition at both points in the Andes. The external flanks of the Andean ridge, above these limits and to 1300 m, (4265 ft), form the highly diverse and biologically differentiated foothills which belong to each of these two regions, on either side of the cordillera.
"La Sierra" is a succession of single valleys formed between the two main Andean ranges, extending 427.8 miles across the country. The valleys width reaches a maximum of 24.8 miles. They are separated between each other by low altitude ridges that connect both, the Western and the Eastern Ecuadorian Andes. They enclose both moist and dry inter-andean forests.
The altitudinal range of our territory goes from 0 masl (meters above sea level) at the Pacific Ocean -its lowest point, to Volcán Chimborazo 6,267 masl -its highest point.



Natural hazards:

frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands

Ecuadorian Birds at a glance (Including Galapagos Islands)



Note: This information is still being processed.

1661 Species Confirmed
30 Strict Endemic Species
265 Restricted Range Species
135 Worldwide Endangered Species
133 Species of Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
143 Species of Tanagers (Thraupidae)
78 Species of Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)
94 Species of Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)
213 Species of Tyrant-Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)
46 Species of Parrots and Macaws (Psittacidae)

Main Airports


Quito (Mariscal Sucre International Airport -UIO) Elevation 9,229 feet, 2,813 meters
Guayaquil (Simón Bolivar International Airport –GYE) Elevation: 19 feet, 6 meters
Cuenca (Mariscal Lamar - CUE) Elevation: 8306 feet, 2532 meters
Loja (Camilo Ponce Enriquez "La Toma" Airport – LOH) Elevation: 4056 feet, 1236 meters
Puerto Francisco de Orellana (Francisco de Orellana – OCC) Elevation: 834 feet, 254 meters



Rich indigenous traditions are part of daily life. Ecuador has important nationwide indigenous festivities related to solstices and equinoxes.
One way to know Ecuador's soul and identity is through experiencing our indigenous celebrations. Then, our indigenous brothers and sisters share with us their vision of life through their costumes, dances, rituals and cuisine. Here is a list of some of the Indigenous Celebrations and the month when they happen; a few have been adapted to the Roman Catholic Festivities:

March – Mushuc Nina (New Fire Celebration) and Pawkar Raymi (Andean New Year – March 20th),
April – First Harvest Celebration (Holly Week),
June – Inti Raymi (Sun Celebration & End of Harvest / Saint John's day)
September – Tarpuy Raymi and Fiesta de la Jora (Maize beer celebration)
November – Wakchacaray (All Saints)

News and Economics

Economics & Currency Exchange


Nowadays we use US Dollars as our legal currency. However, the country's currency was historically the Ecuadorian Sucre until 2000. At the time of its disappearance our currency had suffered a 178% devaluation between January 1999 and December 1999. This change in our economy was caused by the inorganic emission of our currency in order to support our financial system. Our economy was rolling down the hill towards a collapse started by the corruption in our local private banks. However, in January 9th, 2000, our government set the constant exchange value for one dollar in S/. 25,000.00 Sucres, in order to tie our economy to the US economy. This caused the lost of acquisitive power of our richness within an order of 70% during the 18 months prior to the decision.

You can check the exchange rate of one Euro to Dollars at .

Updated Local News

Major newspapers:

Major magazines:

Major newspapers:

Indigenous communities' news:

Updated Economy News

Major economic magazine:

Power & Electrical Systems


The table below summarizes information on the electrical systems in use in Ecuador.








60 Hz

A & B

This electrical system is similar to the one used in the United States though voltage in the states is 120V. Plugs used are type A (Flat blade attachment plug) and type B (Flat blades with round grounding pin). This electrical system is different than the one in the United Kingdom: voltage ranges from 230V to 240V with a 50 Hz frequency, and plugs are type G (Rectangular blade plug).


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Our Deepest Fear
author: Marianne Williamson

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Scounting Trip Report Santos & Minas Gerais States

manakin The Brazilian Caatinga Alagoas,
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New pocket field guide for Ecuador

Our partner ( Lelis Navarrete ) and senior guide who has been working with us 20 years ago has published in conjunction with Miles Macmoullan this unique and superb efficient guide :

Ecuador News

neblina forest
I first visited Ecuador in August 2012 for a week, drawn by the prospect of seeing Spectacled Bears and Mountain Tapirs in the Andes, topped of with a range of nice primates in the Napo Valley.

Derek Moore
& Ornithologist

neblina forest
I recently spent two weeks with friends touring the Pantanal and some other sites in Brazil which was organized by Neblina Forest Tours.

World Wild Zoom

Wildlife Photos Guide

World Wild Zoom specializes in a unique collection of photographic guide-book applications for iPad, using world-class images -all taken in natural, wild situations- shown in a book like format with priority given to the photography.

BBWF 2012

real umbrella

Fourteen Years Now

NEBLINA FOREST Birding Tours has been attending to the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland Water since 1998.

Dear Friends

neblina forest We are posting this picture of our son Tony and our brand new daughter Daniela. Tony grew up with Neblina Forest. First he was the waiter at the lodge when he was only 10 years old. He continued to grow with birding as he carried the telescope for Xavier during short birding trips. As he showed his interest for cars, he drove for us and managed the office. But he had his own dreams and is now a very successful General Motors hybrid expert. He has turned on his own path.
Mercedes and Xavier

Our recent
clients say

Client : Caryn Throop
Month : Feb 2012-02-09

Dear Xavier and Mercedes,
Tom and I can hardly believe our good fortune. We had a perfect four days with Sandra and Edwin. We feel extremely lucky. Sandra probably told you that we saw so many condors flying in small groups and one large group of 11.

Our recent
clients say

Client : David Wilcove
Month : January 2012
Country : USA

Dear Xavier,
I enjoyed the trip thoroughly and look forward to returning to Ecuador to see more of its amazing birdlife. On that next trip, I would like to spend a little more time trying to lure elusive forest birds (such as antpittas and tapaculos) into view with the tapes.

Our recent
clients say

Client : David Pearson
Month : July 2011
Country : Ecuador

In July, Alejandro Soleno guided me for nine days in pursuit of as many as possible of the 95 Ecuadorian bird species I have not yet seen. We found 515 bird species on the trip, of which 21 were new ones for me, as well as a pair of Mountain Tapirs walking across the trail only 7 meters from us.

Our Reserve

Neblina Forest has been a leader in environmental
habitat protection...

Birds seen during our

Bearded Helmetcrest

A Bearded helmet-crest landed right in front of our eyes, as we arrived to the Los Nevados National Park, Caldas, Colombia, April 11th, 2010. Photo by Gustavo Cañas – Valle, 2010



Special tour 2010 BIRDING IN THE 

10 days /9 nights

You leave Miami in the afternoon on America's scheduled service to Quito. We will arrive in Quito in the evening and transfer to our simple but comfortable and centrally located hotel.


Conservation y maquipucuna
We at Neblina Forest are promoting ecotourism as a strong tool for Conservation. We have been doing so the last 20 years in our professional career.

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Our Partners in Conservation and Tourism

Neblina Forest has stablished working relationships with organizations and companies dedicated to conservation and nature tourism. Our partners' and our goal is to promote conservation through responsible tourism, based on principles of environmental protection and social equity
zoom Wildlife Travel Guajalito Sani lodge Fundación Sembrando Esperanza

NEBLINA FOREST Puembo PO BOX 17 17 12 12 Quito - Ecuador PHONE: 593 2 2393- 014 / 22393 013 CELULAR: 099 759 1359 / 099 759 1313 E-MAIL: /

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