Yasuní is Ecuador’s largest mainland park, a massive 9620-sq-km section of wetlands, marshes, swamps, lakes, rivers and tropical rainforest. Its staggering biodiversity led Unesco to declare it an international biosphere reserve and it was established as a national park shortly after, in 1979. Because this pocket of life was untouched by the last ice age, a diverse pool of species has thrived here throughout the ages, including more than 500 bird species, some previously unknown elsewhere. Resident animals include some hard-to-see jungle wildlife, such as jaguars, harpy eagles, pumas and tapirs.