Sangay National Park (World Heritage)

Sangay National Park (World Heritage)

Middle America

The Sangay National Park (World Heritage) has different ecosystems due to its different altitudes and climates.

The landforms range from treeless plains to tropical mountain rainforests to glaciers and snow-capped peaks up to over 5200 m. There are three volcanoes in the national park: the 5230 m high Sangay, the Tungurahua and the El Altar. Visit for Costa Rica travel package.

Sangay National Park: Facts

Official title: Sangay National Park
Natural monument: originally designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1975, since 1979 national park with an area of ​​5177.65 km², of which an area of ​​2719.2 km² is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes the Andean Cordillera with the 5139 m high volcano El Altar and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay (5300 m); last eruption of Tungurahua 2013, El Altar is considered extinct; National park south of the equator with a subtropical and temperate climate, highest average rainfall 2414 to 4827 mm / year
Continent: America
Country: Ecuador
Location: eastern Andean region (Cordillera Oriental), south of Quito
Appointment: 1983
Meaning: a special, protected ecosystem between glaciers and tropical rainforests and home to the Andean condor and the rare mountain tapir
Flora and fauna: eight vegetation zones such as desert-like wasteland, mountain rainforest, cloud forest and subtropical rainforest of the Amazon basin; so far 1566 plant species identified above 2400 m; the flora includes laurel and myrtle plants, as well as bamboo and stone slices; The fauna includes puma, guinea pig, jaguar, ocelot, spectacled bear, spider monkey, mountain and lowland tapir and northern pudu, the smallest American deer species, as well as around 500 species of birds such as the Andean condor that occurs around El Altar, Cubilin and Quilimas, the king vulture, the swallow pond, the Giant gnome belonging to the hummingbirds and the red rock cock

On the “avenue of volcanoes”

As A. von Humboldt At the beginning of the 19th century he crossed the highlands of the Andes for a year and a half, the arduous journey on mules took him through high, almost vegetationless desert plains, and in the swamps to be crossed the pack animals sank up to the saddle girth. At night, the German scholar and his Indian companions crouched under tents made of heliconia leaves to protect themselves from the rain. These leaves overlapped one another like bricks, kept the water out and could be rolled up again the next morning so that they could do their next rest at the next rest. For the former mountain assessor in the Prussian civil service from Berlin, the greatest fascination were the gigantic volcanoes, the 30 snow-capped peaks that rise from the 3,800 meter high Altiplano, the high plateau of the Andes. Visit for Ecuador the center of the world.

The observation of the scenery of fire-breathing mountains led A. von Humboldt to rethink the theory of the formation of the solid land on earth. He came to the conclusion that not – as he had previously assumed and as it was the followers of Neptunism represented – all rocks were formed by deposits in the seas. Rather, the view of the dynamic eruptions and earthquakes confirmed the view of the Plutonics, who attribute the formation of the earth’s crust to magmatic processes from the glowing interior of the earth. This was and is clearly visible on the Sangay, which is one of the most active volcanoes on earth and spouts lava into the snow around its summit every 15 to 60 minutes. On a clear night, glowing lava and ash rain offer a brilliant spectacle. However, since the volcano is almost always shrouded in clouds and the view is clear for only four or five days a year, such spectacular images can rarely be expected.

Most visitors to the park want to get to the volcanic peaks and – like A. von Humboldt once did- Enjoy the feeling of standing on top of the world in thin air. The sheer height of the volcanoes and the complex geological conditions in their immediate vicinity have created eight peculiar vegetation zones: from subtropical rainforest to mountain and cloud forest to poor, moss-covered dwarf forest as well as inhospitable páramo and mountain tundra. The lush rainforest thins out with increasing height, the trees get lower, and the eternal wetness is reflected in the thick vegetation with lichens and mosses. The open, swampy high mountain landscape of the Páramo, on the other hand, stretches like a belt between the green, tropical forests of the valleys and the high, treeless regions of eternal snow. Here are gnarled stone forests.

Mammals are rarely seen in the Páramo during the day, because they seek refuge on the edges of the cloud forest and only come to the open raised bog at night. The nimble Andean jackal often only finds the remains of its last meal: guinea pigs are at the top of its menu. The swampy valley floor – large-leaved Gunnera thrive here, reminiscent of gigantic rhubarb – is the habitat of the long-beaked, nocturnal Andean godwit. Every now and then an Andean condor sails high above the head-high, bowl-shaped puyas, which belong to the bromeliads and form huge flower candles above the tuft of leaves, in search of rewarding prey. Star-sized white-headed dippers and black-and-white striped torrent ducks can be seen in the rapids of the icy streams. From the squat Wedge-shaped mountain tapir, on the other hand, is mostly only visible in deep tracks on the sandy banks of streams and rivers, where it has made its way out of the dense undergrowth. Lots of animals that A. von Humboldt might have observed during his travels, how the white-tailed deer have disappeared due to intensive hunting and progressive reclamation for intensive agriculture. Eucalyptus trees from Australia that grow on the edge of the village or rainbow trout that were brought in from California would certainly have confused A. von Humboldt a lot.

Sangay National Park (World Heritage)