Ecuador contains only about two percent of the Amazon basin, which covers the eastern part of the country. Commonly referred to as the “Oriente”, this region is exceptionally rich in biodiversity of both flora and fauna. Several parks and reserves have been established to protect the ecosystem, each offering its own unique attractions including a variety of options for the tourist.
Yasuní National Park (982,000 ha) is Ecuador’s largest national park. It is home to 567 bird species, 44 percent of the bird species found in the entire Amazon basin, and has among the largest diversity of tree species of any region in the world. The park is largely uninhabited, however there are some Huaorani families and groups who have lived in the park region for generations. Yasuní National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve (603,380 ha), located in the north eastern part of the Ecuadorian Amazon, is home to several indigenous nationalities as well as over 60 percent of the mammal species and over 50 percent of the amphibian species of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. A number of different lodges are found within the reserve, offering the chance to see an amazing variety of monkeys, birds, caimans, and other species. Occasionally freshwater dolphins, anacondas, and manatees can be seen. Deep in the reserve, near the border with Peru, is a region of lagoons and rivers that is practically untouched. This is considered to be the most biologically rich area of the region.
The Sumaco-Galeras National Park (206,000 ha), including the active Sumaco Volcano (3828 m), is one of the least explored protected areas. The heart of the Limoncocha Biological Reserve (4,500 ha) is the oxbow lake with the same name, famous for its black caimans.
The Amazon region has a warm and humid climate year round, and typically receives more than 2000 mm of rain each year, necessary for the growth of tropical lowland rain forests. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, temperatures vary little throughout the year, with greater variation between the daytime and nighttime temperatures. Daytime temperatures average around 28°C/82°F and drop to about 22°C/71°F at night. No true seasons exist, but average precipitation is highest from February to May and the “drier” months are July, August and September. While you might be able to take a multi day trip in the Amazon with no rain, heavy rainfall can occur during the day or night during any time of year.