Could you imagine sleeping peacefully among crepitant volcanoes? Maybe not, but that’s the reality about Ecuadorians that mesmerized Humboldt, the German explorer.
The Andean Mountain range represents Ecuador. And it´s not surprising because Ecuador´s mainland is divided by the Andes. When flying to Quito, and with some luck, travelers may be welcomed by the imponent Cotopaxi volcano.
But why do the Ecuadorian Andes blow travelers’ minds? Just keep reading and discover the top 5 destinations visitors should remember when traveling to the Andes of Ecuador.
1.- The Cotopaxi volcano
On a clear and sunny day, there’s a peak visible at almost every corner of Quito. An impressive sight that catches the attention of locals and visitors. That’s no other than the Cotopaxi snow capped volcano.
This active volcano, highly monitored by geologists, is the second-highest volcano in Ecuador, with 5,897 m.a.s.l. (19,347 ft). Yet, aside from its volcanic activity, it’s one of the most visited sites by travelers coming to Quito. It’s only 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital city.
Indeed, it’s a climbing destination, and we can talk more about it in another article, but visitors usually trek the volcano or practice downhill by cycling. It’s a breathtaking experience that is worth living.
The Cotopaxi can be a day tour that takes visitors to the first refuge at 4,864 m (15,917 ft), where the traveler can trek around and be close to the volcanic land and the snow. They also can visit the Limpiopungo Lagoon at the volcano’s base.
Another experience can be staying in a nearby hacienda and living the adventure of horseback riding, for example.
2.- The Quilotoa Crater
Quilotoa lake is considered one of the 15 most beautiful crater lakes in the world, according to Twisted Sifter. Why?
Just look at the following picture of this bright turquoise lake in the middle of a collapsed volcano that has collected water for over 800 years, that has become a lake with a 3 km width and around 250 m in depth.
Not in vain is one of the sights representing the Ecuadorian Andes and its volcanic history, a must-stop for many local and international visitors.
Nowadays, travelers can go down to the lake and even kayak the greenish lake highly concentrated in minerals. Also, it is possible to trek around the crater loop and enjoy the view from different angles. Either way, trekking Quilotoa is quite exigent, so keep it in mind.
3.- The Chimborazo
If the Cotopaxi is the second-highest volcano in Ecuador, the first one is the impressive Chimborazo.
The Chimborazo volcano, with its more than 6,000 m.a.s.l. (over 20,000 ft), it’s considered the closest point to the sun. Located close to Riobamba (50 km / 31 mi), it is one of the tourist sites that catch the attention of many travelers.
It’s one of the pinnacles for worldwide climbers. However, visitors that are not into climbing can experience the beauty of the Chimborazo in a cozy and warm lodge close to the volcano.
From there, travelers can do some trekking routes of different difficulty levels that will blow their minds with the paramo sight.
Aside from these activities, picture how it would be walking up while zipping a good Andean coffee while watching the golden colors of the sun reflect on the snowy mountain. It’ll be priceless!
4.- The Andean Haciendas
Knowing history is understanding the present, and there’s no better way than having access to where many traditions were born. In the case of the Andes, the haciendas (farmhouses) are the centerpiece of the Andean culture that showcases the republican period of the country with significant influences of Spanish customs.
Fortunately, most of these haciendas have opened their doors to welcome tourists and let them embed the traditional Andean culture. Here, hospitality and coziness are the cherries on top of travelers’ experiences.
Some haciendas are like small boutique hotels full of history and details. Others are welcomed by one of the family members who tell the stories behind the house’s walls. Thus, guests feel like family guests that is constantly pampered.
Staying in these traditional houses is understanding the Ecuadorian Andean culture and customs, tasting the flavors, textures, and aromas representing the Andes while meeting locals.
Another important fact is that some of these farmhouses are nowadays an essential pillar for the socio-economic development of local communities while allowing them to express their customs.
Baños de Agua Santa, or Baños, as everyone calls it, it’s the center of adventure in Ecuador. It’s close to one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, the Tungurahua. That’s why watching the eruption process of this volcano is one of the main attractions in Baños.
If travelers are looking for adventure, Baños has an ample variety of activities, from kayaking, canopying, canyoning, kayaking, and rafting. Let us know in the comments if you want us to talk more about it in another article.
El Pailon del Diablo is Ecuador’s most famous waterfall, 100 m (328 ft) high; visitors can go down a series of stairs close to the waterfall that let them feel the force of nature through all the senses.
But that’s not the only waterfall around Baños! The Agoyan Waterfall allows people to access El Manto de la Novia (Bride’sVail).
Another unmissable spot in Baños is the Family Treehouse with its “End of the World Swing,” from where travelers can have an astonishing view of the Tungurahua volcano.
Last but not least, Baños has a great offer of spas and wellness centers ideal for relaxing while enjoying one of the several thermal waters after pushing a good round of adventure.
After this short presentation, do you agree with us that these are some of the unmissable destinations in the Ecuador Andes that travelers must consider visiting?
The best part is that all of them can be combined in one land tour, preferably tailor-made so that the traveler can live an unforgettable experience among volcanoes, haciendas, adventure, and tons of nature and wildlife.