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Costa, Sierra y Selva II

Physical Map of Ecuador

Physical Map of Ecuador

This is a kind of continuation of a blog I wrote a couple of years ago about Peru. In so many ways, Ecuador is a continuation of Peru—in terms of physical geography. Even a cursory glance at the above map shows that there are three distinctive zones vertically dividing the country:

  • Costa. This is the Pacific coast. While in Peru, much of the coast is a rainless desert, much of the Ecuadorian equivalent is a mangrove forest (I suspect perhaps mangrove swamp is a more appropriate term.). Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, is on the coast.
  • Sierra. The brown and purple zone occupying the center are the mountains and volcanoes of the Andes. This is where my brother and I will travel. The altitude ranges from 8,000 to 15,000 feet. The capital, Quito, is in this zone.
  • Selva. The pale green zone to the right of the Andes consists of jungle and a number of tributaries feeding the Amazon. Thanks the the mosquito population and the prevalence of Zika, I have no intention of seeing the Oriente region, as it is frequently called.

When I was in Peru, I spent a good part of the trip along or near the coast—especially since I fell in love with the raffish charms of Lima and the beauty of Arequipa and its volcanoes.