The Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve
Covering over 200 000 hectares and featuring 10 distinct ecological zones the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve is one of the most diverse and spectacular of Ecuador's protected areas. Featuring altitudes ranging from 30m to 4990? the reserve is home to an incredible range of plants and animals including over 2000 identified plant species and more than 500 different bird species.
The reserve is particularly important because it safeguards one of the few remaining examples of Ecuador's coastal rainforest, a much threatened ecosystem which forms part of the Choco; an internationally recognised bio-region which extends from Southern Panama to Northern Peru and has been rated as a global bio-diversity hotspot.
Unfortunately despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of the reserve it has been threatened by illegal colonisation, poaching, logging and mining, all of which have proved difficult to control. Thankfully because of its isolation and the difficulty of access the reserve remains one of the best preserved of Ecuador's protected areas.