Vast green landscapes and snow capped volcanoes
The centre part of Ecuador is dominated by the impressive Andes mountain range, which stretches throughout the country from north to south. In this region you can enjoy beautiful landscapes with volcanic mountains, lakes, crater lagoons with turquoise waters as well as natural sources of thermal waters. Hundreds of species of orchids and birds can bee seen, and Inca ruins are added to offer spectacular views. The mountains landscape ranges from 1,500 meters to 6,310 meters, the highest point being the snow capped peak of the Chimborazo volcano. Take the Avenue of the Volcanoes for the best route, and visit indigenous villages with colorful markets.
north of Quito
Local markets and great walks
Known as the Valley of Dawn, Otavalo is a destination that offers a wide range of alternatives for both adventure tourism and nature, culture and delicious cuisine. In addition to the famous market where you can buy a wide array of local handicrafts, this area is great for regional hikes such as the lagoon of Coicocha, the Cascada de Peguche and the Taxopamba waterfalls, as well as a visit to the Condor Park. The valley is also famous for its big rose production which is shipped all over the world.
Cotopaxi National Park
One of the highest active volcanoes in the world
The Cotopaxi volcano, an almost perfect snow cone that stands at 5,897 meters is something unique and is perhaps, along with Galápagos, the greatest symbol of Ecuador´s geography recognized throughout the world. Being one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, it dominates the whole landscape of the protected national park. Thousands of mountaineers of all nationalities have reached its summit, but most visitors manage to reach the Refuge at 4.900 meters. The Cotopaxi National Park is easily accessible just a 1 hour drive south of Quito, ans a visit to the Ecuadorian Andes is not complete without a stop here.