The Amazon, the world's largest remaining rainforest, stretches
from eastern Ecuador to the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area almost
as large as the continental USA.
Fully one-third of Ecuador consists of Amazonian rainforest.
Ecuador's eastern jungle is often referred to as the Oriente
by locals. Like all of the rainforest, Ecuador's Amazon
is characterized by exuberantly green tropical forest
extending as far as the eye can see. This sea of green
is criss-crossed by hundreds of winding rivers, estuaries
Within its dense vegetation and abundance of exotic flora
and fauna can be found. For those who are looking for
an unforgettable adventure, walking through these tropical
forests, sleeping in rustic cabins and sharing a day with
the native peoples of this mysterious region is just the
Ecuador's Amazon region can be divided into three zones:
The provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Napo make up
a northern zone. The major city is Nueva Loja or Lago
Agrio. Lago Agrio is the capital of Sucumbíos and
the epicenter of the oil exploitation industry. With a
wide array of hotels, restaurants and businesses, it is
a dynamic, commercial town with a frontier-like feeling.
Another important city of the northern zone is Francisco
de Orellana or Coca. Coca is located at the confluence
of the Napo and Coca rivers. Historically, this small
city carries the name of the discoverer of the Amazon
river. The indigenous people native to the surrounding
areas, the Tagaieris or Sachas, know it as Coca because
historically they went to this site to carry out their
curative rituals with chewed up coca leaves. Francisco
de Orellana reflects the diversity of Ecuador in its streets
filled with businesses from everywhere. Other important
cities in this zone are Tena and Baeza.
The central zone is made up by the Pastaza plains, the
Pastaza river and its tributaries. The main city is Puyo.
Puyo is located just 100 kilometers from Ambato in the
Andes. The town is trying to become a magnet for tourism,
hoping to attract the many tourists who visit the relatively
nearby town of Baños. As part of its cultural tradition,
there are weekly fairs where you can appreciate the customs
of the locals. To complete the atmosphere, there are handicrafts
and other samples of the indigenous cultures of: Shuar,
Achuar, Huaorani and Alama.
The southern zone is made up by the province of Morona
Santiago. In the valley of the Rio Upano lies the city
of Macas, the main city of this region. Macas is known
for the church of the Purist Virgin that stands in its
central plaza. A bit farther south, at the confluence
of the Zamora and Bombuscara rivers, is the developing
city of Zamora. Zamora is surrounded by a variety of flora
and fauna, including tapirs, capybaras, agoutis, pumas,
birds and insects. It is known as the mining capital of
the country and is home to the gold mines of Nambija,
Chinapinza and Guayzimi.