The Andean paramos or moorlands are unique from any point of view, as they are found only in South America from Venezuela, through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru at altitudes between 2900 and 5000 meters (9512 and 16400 feet) at the snowline. They have similarities in each Andean country due to weather and altitude, but at the same time, they are different.
In these remarkable ecosystems, life continues in different to time the image we have of a paramo is a vast area covered by shrub vegetation that gently sways to the rhythm of the cool winds of the highlands, in a relaxing wave like movement on the slopes of the mountains, with high snowcapped peaks in the background. However, their diversity is evident; to the north are the frailejones (from the Espeletia genus and other similar ones) large plants with wide stalks, and rose shaped tops that stand alone and proud like giants in the rough terrain.
But towards the south there are also humid, cloud and rain paramos, especially along the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes; the most accessible are in Papallacta and Antisana y the eastern cordillera, but perhaps the most famous and complex are those of the mythical Cordillera of the Llanganatis, not only for the difficulty of access but for being the only witnesses to the efforts, failed and fortunate, of the treasure hunters in search of the millenary riches that long-lost civilizations hid there on their way to immortality.
Another type of paramo are the dry ones, like those in Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, where there are large straw fields and not much else, so you can see the soil made of sand, like high-altitude deserts.
We invite you to explore the different types of paramo in Ecuador, along the Avenue of the Volcanoes and regular excursions to Papallacta, the Antisana Reserve, the Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Volcano, El Cajas National Park near Cuenca, Podocarpus National Park in Loja and the Chimborazo Reserve. There will be time for a close and unhurried look at these magical landscapes, with a truly insightful interpretation of these singular ecosystems and provide lasting memories. The paramos are fascinating, fragile and vital to the conservation of the biodiversity in the high Andes; the sources of water and the streams and rivers that descend from them, will depend on the degree of importance and protection awarded to them, to guarantee the existence of future generations.
Metropolitan Touring is one of South America’s most known and respected travel companies, providing unrivalled service to our guests for nearly 60 years. Along with our operations in Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, we also own and operate the finest ships for Galapagos Island cruises - the M/V Santa Cruz, Yacht Isabella II and Yacht La Pinta - as well as the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. Come explore with us!
We take immense pride in our Galapagos cruise explorations, during which our guests experience the ever-changing ecological paradise of the islands. Our Galapagos cruises provide opportunities to walk, swim, snorkel, photograph and observe the archipelago’s amazing wildlife in the company of expert naturalist guides. Our Galapagos cruises are characterized by the highest standards of comfort, cuisine and service on board, combining these elements to provide solo-travelers, families and small groups with an unforgettable exploration of ‘the enchanted isles.’
So, pack your bags and come explore with us for a Galapagos cruise of a lifetime!