There are places that, due to their isolation and difficult access, have remained unknown for many years, but when studies are carried out, a surprising world is discovered. This is the case of the Cordillera del Cóndor: a large mountainous massif of more than 160 kilometers long that is located in the south of the country, between the provinces of Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe.
Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe, these areas, because of their remoteness from the population centers, are not accessible and there are no facilities for tourists to visit these areas. Visits for scientific and research purposes. Visits for research purposes must be requested and coordinated with the Ministry of the Environment. This Amazonian mountain range protects cloud forests and even moorlands, which is part of the surprises it has been keeping for many years. In recent years, the Cordillera del Cóndor has awakened the world’s interest as a site of special importance for science and conservation, since most of it is still intact and little explored. To protect these forests, the Ecuadorian government created four reserves along the Cordillera, each charged with protecting a different altitudinal range and which together conserve the best of this place, together conserve the best of this place. There are three biological reserves: El Condor, El Quimi and Cerro Plateado, and one Cerro Plateado Refuge, and one Wildlife Refuge: El Zarza. Together, the four areas protect more than 41,000 hectares of one of the least known areas of Ecuador.
The few studies carried out reveal an impressive biodiversity that could break all records, its position has allowed a mixture of Amazonian and Andean species, but also an incredible number of endemic species have been recorded. These mountains are formed by sandstone, a type of rock very different from those that form the Andes Mountains. Because of this, a different type of soil has developed, where a very particular dwarf forest and a false dry scrubland are found. According to botanical studies, the Cordillera may have a richer flora than any other area in the world, with 2,030 species.
In the last five years alone, several species new to science have been discovered, including 65 types of orchids, a marsupial shrew and one of Ecuador’s few carnivorous plants.
The fauna in the lowlands, especially in the Cerro Plateado B.R., is typically Amazonian: there are spider monkeys, jaguars, Amazonian tapirs, pumas and in the rivers there is the agile and elusive small otter.
In the highlands, on the other hand, there are spectacled bears, night monkeys and a marsupial mouse endemic to the Cordillera. The list of amphibians and birds is extensive; especially in amphibians, there are several endemic or unique species.
The elevations of the mountain range are the source of streams that feed the great rivers of the southern Ecuadorian Amazon. Zamora, Santiago and Namangoza. The area is extremely humid due to condensation. There are no recreational or tourism services in El Quimi Biological Reserve, there are no transportation routes and there are only access roads to the buffer zone.