Ecuador is considered a megadiverse country, in both flora and fauna, and orchids are no exception to this rule. The variety in size, color, shapes, and even where and how they grow is very impressive, so much so that an entire branch of eco-tourism is dedicated to people searching out these incredible flowers.
There are more than 4000 species of orchids found here, and new ones are being discovered every day. Though they can be found throughout various regions in the country, the highest number of orchids is found in the cloud forest. A huge number of these orchids are also endemic, meaning that they are found nowhere else in the world. Some are even endemic to a specific forest or very small region of the country! Interestingly, according to iNaturalist, 3 out of every 10 endemic plant species in Ecuador is an orchid.
Unfortunately, due to both their rarity and specialist nature, many orchids are considered endangered, mostly due to habitat loss for development and resource extraction. The good news however, is that the appreciation for orchids and the need to preserve them has helped to stimulate more legal protection for orchids and increase the demand for sustainable tourism in places where orchids are found, which in turn preserves the land and other plants and animals.
Our goal at Galapagos Renaissance is to keep exploring and keep protecting, so marvels like the megadiversity of orchids can be enjoyed by generations more of locals and travellers alike. Ask us about our Cloud Forest tours and how we can help you see some of these amazing orchids in their natural habitat.