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Agenda Cultural del Ecuador

Amazon Rainforest
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Amazon Jungle parrots

The Amazon Jungle, 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 Amazon rainforest. Ecuador's eastern jungle is often referred to as the Oriente by locals.

The 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 and lagoons. Within its dense vegetation an 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 ticket.

Ecuador's Amazon region can be divided into three zones:

The provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Napo make up the northern Amazon 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 Amazon 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 Amazon 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 Amazon 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.

Next: National Parks and attractions

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