New York/Quito – Quito Turismo, the tourism office for Ecuador’s capital city, will begin working with the public water company (Empresa Pública de Agua Potable) in the upcoming months to develop and implement new tourism services in the Antisana Ecological Reserve. The addition of new trails, huts and other tourist attractions will make this very biologically diverse corner of Ecuador more accessible to tourists than ever.
The reserve already offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, trekking, fishing and camping. It is also a veritable delight for photographers and hobby bird-watchers.
The Quito metropolitan area is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Ecuador. The Antisana Ecological Reserve (REA, Reserva Ecológica Antisana) lies just 31 miles to the southeast of Quito, on the eastern slope of the Andes. It features the one-of-a-kind union of Andean forests and snow cover. The land descends from the peak of the Antisana volcano (18,891 feet), which is surrounded by lagoons and marshland, to the flatlands of the Amazon basin.
The 463 square miles of the reserve are home to an astounding variety of animal and plant life. It is one of the most significant habitats for the Andean condor, one of the world’s largest birds, as well as home to the hummingbird, one of the smallest, most delicate birds on the planet. Visitors can also find 418 other bird species, or 26 percent of all bird species in Ecuador, including the black-faced ibis, the ash-browed spinetail, the Andean seagull, the black-winged ground dove, the Andean teal and the hooded siskin. All in all, the reserve houses 73 species of mammals, 42 amphibian species and 19 species of reptiles.
Due to its location on the Antisana volcano, the ecological reserve contains great stores of water. The volcano, the wetlands and lagoons in the moorland, such as the Micacocha and Papallacta lagoons, and the mountain forest provide the region with a continuous water supply. Antisana is not only one of the largest and highest volcanoes in Ecuador; its unique stone formations also make it one of the most spectacular for volcanology.
Set between the Cayambe-Coca and Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Parks, the Antisana Ecological Reserve is also a major link in the ecological cycle and is regarded as one of the world’s ten biodiversity hotspots. The Ñucanchi Turopamba wetland, part of the reserve, acts as a sanctuary for many species of waterfowl and is one of the official recognized wetlands under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty governing wetlands.