Ecuador is a Northwestern South American country with a Pacific Ocean coastline. It is perfectly situated on the equator and bordered by Colombia to the northeast and Peru to the south and east. It is literally the darling of all ocean lovers sporting about 400,000 hectares of aquatic preserves teeming with breathtaking flora and fauna, thick mangroves, and lowland forests. Ecuador’s diving sites are divided into two major areas: the Galapagos islands and the Machalilla National Park particularly in Isla de la Plata that almost resembles the Galapagos islands. Visitors often comment that Ecuador can be visited a hundred times, yet still has more to be discovered.
The Galapagos Islands is a little out of reach for regular visitors because only cruises have licenses to access the area. Being a World heritage site, there’s a sheer abundance of marine life such as sharks, manta rays, and even aquatic birds, mammals, and reptiles. The Wolf and Darwin Islands are the two best dive sites in the Galapagos Islands. The diverse marine biodiversity includes gigantic manta rays, hammerhead sharks, green turtles, amberjacks, whale sharks, trumpet, coronet fish, butterfly fish, and Marbled rays. At the Wolf, there are several cave dives as well. Divers could even hitch rides with enormous and playful creatures such as giant whale sharks. Because of the strong currents prevailing in the area, the dive sites are suited for novice and advanced divers only.
The Machalilla National Park on the other hand can be easily accessed from the mainland Ecuador. It boasts of some fauna commonly found in the Galapagos Islands such as blue footed boobies, pelicans, and gulls. Some divers also spotted dolphins and whales between June and October.
The Galapagos Islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are about 25% of endemic species in the Galapagos and it is one of the last remaining places on earth where flora and fauna are least affected by human activities.
Ecuador has a tropical climate along its coastline and cooler climate deeper in the mainland at higher elevations. The Amazonian jungle lowlands are tropical.
The water temperatures hover around 18-23°C/64-73F in the tropical areas but there are prevailing strong currents and surges of cold water reaches as low as 10°C/50F which also lowers the visibility to as low as 3 metres although it averages around 5 to 25 meters.
Ecuador has a year round diving season.
Some of the hazards include frequent earthquakes, landslides, and floods.
Ecuador’s main airports are Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito and Simón Bolívar in Guayaquil. Some airlines flying to Ecuador are KLM and American Airlines.
It is strongly advised to talk to your travel agents when visiting Ecuador.
Cruise travels are also available and those who are serious about going to the Galapagos Islands should consider this option as it would be easier to go to the islands.
There are also local boat rides, buses, taxis, and rental cars available in the mainland.
The general transportation in Ecuador is considered efficient and continuously being improved.