The magic of Avenue of Volcanoes in Ecuador
“Ecuadorians are rare and unique beings: they sleep peacefully in the midst of crisp volcanoes, live poor in the midst of incomparable riches and rejoice with sad music” - Humboldt
Observed from above, the Ecuadorian Andes display a collage of colors, as if nature had woven their own tapestry over them. A closer look, on the other hand, reveals to us that this surprising panorama is not only an expression of nature, but also the result of man's work.
In the Andean peaks, the afternoon sun covers vast areas of moor, while below, in the valleys, illuminates fields of corn, barley, wheat and quinoa, dyeing them with golden reflections, amber, lilac and amethyst that change step of the inconstant clouds. In the Andes, land of eternal games of light and shadow, nature and human activity, there is no day that resembles the other.
The Ecuadorian Andes are characterized by their impressive mountainous elevations, volcanoes and snowy peaks. Amongst the most important are; Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Within it’s ten provinces there cities of great historical importance such as Quito and Cuenca, as well as artisanal centers such as Otavalo. Likewise, there are several national parks with very rich and varied flora and fauna.
Get ready to hike!
It is important to take into account the elevation that exists along the route of the volcanoes, the main reason is to avoid any discomfort when making the journey. Take one or two days after your arrival in the country to get used to the altitude before starting any ascent of the Andes.
It is necessary to wear warm clothes and appropriate for the weather. It is also essential that the shoes are suitable for mountainous terrain: mountain boots and shoes with traction are the best options.
If the plan is to spend several days on the mountain, then you should go prepared with foods to strengthen the body. Some recommended foods are: liquids, nuts, chocolate, fresh fruits, rye bread and canned proteins such as tuna, sardines and ham.
Don't forget to visit:
Chimborazo: The peak of Chimborazo Volcano is the highest point of Ecuador with an elevation of 6.263 m above sea level. The mountain is the highest peak near the terrestrial equator. Although it is not the highest mountain due to elevation above sea level, because of its location along the equatorial line its summit is the furthest point on the earth's surface from the center of the Earth and the closest point to the moon.
Cotopaxi: At 5 897 meters high, it is one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet. Some visitors, with the necessary strength, preparation and will, go on their slopes to crown their high summit. The volcano is the main attraction of the Cotopaxi National Park, which covers several provinces and protects a wide area of páramo, home of the Andean condor.
Cayambe: The secret of many climbers in Ecuador; much less popular than Cotopaxi. It offers an equally beautiful ascent, but for a much less traveled route. Humboldt after his visit to Ecuador wrote about this volcano: "This mountain can be considered as one of the monuments with which Nature has made a great difference on Earth."
Tungurahua: It is located in the Cordillera of Ecuador (Los Andes), 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Quito. The small town of Baños, known for its thermal waters, is located on its slopes, approximately five kilometers to the north. Tungurahua, which is frequently erupting, is part of Sangay National Park.
Antisana: Potentially active and covered by glaciers. It is located between the provinces of Napo and Pichincha, about 50 km southeast of the city of Quito. Its glacier lost at least 36% of its original mass in the last 50 years. The melting of its glacial hull and the páramos located around the volcano are one of the most important sources of drinking water for the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador.
When to go?
Any time of the year is good to visit the Ecuadorian Highlands. For those who prefer a drier climate, the ideal is from June to September, also in November and December. The rest of the year is considered as a rainy season. However, the inhabitants of the Sierra often say that here the four seasons are lived in a single day since usually the morning tends to be spring, summer midday, autumn afternoon and winter night.
Don’t miss out the Ecuadorian Andes where you can find the highest peak in the country and also the highest point of the planet measured from the center of the earth. You could discover all this wonders by Ecuador Trekking the Avenues of Volcanoes or Ecuador Highlights trips