The Andes mountains form a rocky spine that separates Ecuador's lowland coastal plains and its treasured share of the Amazon jungle. Amidst this backbone of majestic mountains and ancient volcanoes extends, for hundreds of kilometers east and west, a bucolic tapestry of paramo grasslands, volcanoes, lagoons, and charming colonial towns. >From the cultural richness of the continent's oldest cities to the awe-inspiring vistas of snow-capped volcanoes and the timeless charm of indigenous marketplaces, the Ecuadorian Andes have something to offer everyone.
The adventurous will relish in the endless supply of adrenaline-packed thrills awaiting them on the Ecuador’s high peaks – the Andes are the world's second highest mountain range.
Climbing to the top of Cotopaxi, the world's highest active volcano, is a challenge not to be taken lightly. If heights aren’t your game, take a dip in some of the world's roughest rapids as you race towards the Amazon basin or go screeching down Ecuador’s infamous Avenue of the Volcanoes on a mountain bike. These are just a few of the adventures the Ecuadorian Andes hold for the fearless adventurer.
Hiking, climbing, trekking, biking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, and bird watching are some ways to enjoy the towering majesty of the Ecuadorian Andes. The other is to simply relax.
Those who have come to Ecuador to get away from it all won’t be disappointed. The highland colonial cities Quito and Cuenca, steeped in history and culture, are among Latin America’s most beautiful and charming. Both Quito and Cuenca offer the discerning traveler impressive collections of museums and colonial architecture, including 500-year old cathedrals, palaces, and plazas connected by narrow cobblestone streets.
The Andean countryside has a different but no less charming appeal. No traveler can rightly return home before spending a weekend at a sprawling hacienda and a day or two in one of Ecuador's timeless indigenous markets. The indigenous markets at Otavalo, Cotocachi, Ambato, Latacunga, Pujilí, Saquisilí, Zumbahua, and Saraguro are all impressive. Various Indian groups of Ecuador's highlands sell handmade products and artisan goods in these Andean villages.