Today, we released a new country/regional souvenir for Ecuador! If you have found a geocache in Ecuador, you automatically receive the souvenir on your profile.
A direct translation of the Spanish word for “equator,” Ecuador is a South American country with continental gems including the Andean capital city of Quito, the port city of Guayaquil, numerous restless volcanoes, and the Amazon Rainforest. One of 17 megadiverse nations on the planet, Ecuador showcases a variety of natural features, including the Galápagos Islands, a volcanic island chain which played a vital role in Charles Darwin’s evolutionary research.
Most geocachers begin their Ecuadorian geocaching expedition in Quito, the well-preserved historic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can hike Mount Pichincha in search of GC12EH4 and take in the picturesque views of the city. After immersing yourself in the capital’s history, head north to find GC56FKX, a true geocaching oddity: a cache neither above nor below the equator, but exactly on the line! If you are looking for a physical challenge, don’t miss GC1F164, an EarthCache featuring one of the world’s highest active volcanoes: Cotopaxi.
In addition to Ecuador’s continental wonders, there is so much to see offshore. A visit to Ecuador would not be complete without a journey more than 500 miles (804 km) off the South American continent to the Galápagos Islands. These islands became the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and are home to numerous native flora and fauna which provided the setting for many of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary discoveries.
Once you arrive on the islands, set sail to Bartolome Island (Isla Bartolomé), one of the oldest geologic formations on the islands. This small yet striking site hosts our Geocache of the Week, BARTOLOME (Galapagos), GC1KGT8.
Although only 297 acres (1.2 sq km) in size, Bartolome Island attracts visitors from around the world due to its scenic and awe-inspiring views. Regarded as a geologist’s playground, the island has many geologic wonders as well as the massive “Postcard View” of Pinnacle Rock as seen within the souvenir.
For those climbing to the top of the island, the logging requirements include a photo with the “Postcard View,” descriptions of the volcanic features on the way to the top, as well as an account of the rock formations beneath the crystal clear aquamarine water below.
If you decide to make the climb to the top, many volcanic features are sure to catch your eye. The cache page explains that three geologic formations are vital to understanding the geology of the island.
- First, lava tubes, formed by rushing lava which has now solidified and cooled, can be readily seen on the walk to the top.
- Second, spatter cones are the result of high pressure lava and gases reaching the surface, culminating in an explosive release of gas.
- Lastly, lava bombs are the volcanic rocks expelled from the cones that dot the landscape.
For the geocachers who decide not to climb the summit, the logging requirements consist of a photo of the island’s beach, a drawing of Pinnacle Rock as seen from the beach, and some trivia about the island’s legendary plant life.
On your way out of the Galápagos, don’t forget to find GC3ND9R, a geocache at the legendary Post Office Bay. Originally a method for seafarers to send letters to family via other sailors, today visitors from around the world leave postcards for other sightseers to deliver!
Whether you are interested in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, species found nowhere else on the planet, intense mountain climbing, awe-inspiring geologic formations, or sustainable tourism, Ecuador is an unforgettable geocaching and cultural destination where all of these passions collide.
We know geocachers love country and regional souvenirs and we do too! We are releasing at least one new country/regional souvenir per month starting in January 2019. These new souvenirs will be featured alongside Geocaches of the Week in each region and shared on the third Wednesday of each month. Check out all of the Geocaching souvenirs here.
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.