The Route of the Volcanoes

Ecuador is a privileged country for all the natural wonders that can be found. The majestic volcanoes and snow-capped mountains of the Ecuadorian Highlands are must-visit destinations if you’re an adventure lover and want to be amazed by unbelievable Andean landscapes.

“Ecuadorians are rare and unique beings: they sleep peacefully in the midst of crisp volcanoes”. The famous explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt said this after climbing the most famous volcanoes of the Ecuadorian highlands, being completely amazed by their beauty and majesty. Along the “Route of the volcanoes” you will be able to admire beautiful snow-capped volcanoes, lush green valleys, crystal clear waters and other incredible landscapes.

In this blog post, Expedition Ecuador brings you everything you need to know about this Ecuador adventure, including the destinations we visit as part of our “Volcano Experience” tour. Check out all the information about this tour here! Get ready to become an expeditionary on one of the most spectacular routes in the world! Amaze yourself with breathtaking views you will remember for the rest of your life.

Inside the crater of a volcano

Quilotoa is an impressive lagoon formed by a volcanic eruption in 1280. The eruption was so powerful that several lahars reached the Pacific Ocean. After the explosion, the top of the volcano collapsed and today you can see a large crater where this beautiful turquoise lagoon was formed. This crater has a diameter of 9 kilometres and is 250 metres deep.

Although it is not possible to swim, it is possible to do adventurous activities such as kayaking. Surely you have never imagined sailing in the crater of a volcano! The turquoise and emerald colors of the lagoon are caused by volcanic minerals and can vary depending on the time of day and the sunlight.

Ecuador’s most iconic volcano

Continuing with this exciting route, the Cotopaxi Volcano is a must-see destination on any Ecuador tour. This imposing volcano rises from a relatively flat terrain and offers breathtaking views from all directions. Many tourists enjoy hiking, climbing, horse riding or cycling around the volcano. The entire ecosystem of Cotopaxi is home to a wide variety of animals and lush vegetation. You will see a unique combination of pine vegetation and beautiful animals such as wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, condors, horses, and foxes.

The summit of the Cotopaxi is 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) high, making it one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet. Cotopaxi is a word from the indigenous Quechua language that translates as “neck of the moon”, a name derived from the crescent moon shape of the crater. Don’t forget to include the stunning Cotopaxi in your volcano route! As you hike, you won’t be able to resist taking lots of pictures of the beautiful Andean landscape and getting your adventurous spirit going.

The closest point to the sun

The Chimborazo is the highest mountain and volcano in Ecuador. Its altitude above sea level is 6,263 meters and measured from the center of the earth it reaches 6,384 kilometers. This makes it the furthest point on earth, surpassing Mount Everest by two thousand meters. This also makes it the closest point to the sun. At the top of the Chimborazo are glaciers from which ice is extracted.

The people who extract the ice sell it in the markets of the cities of Guaranda and Riobamba. Formerly, the ice was transported to cities along the coast of Ecuador. In the past, the ice was transported to cities along the Ecuadorian coast. The Chimborazo is a very special volcano for its beauty and majestic landscapes. It has been a destination of great interest to historical travelers and expeditionaries such as Edward Whymper, Hans Meyer or Alexander von Humboldt. There is a famous poem called “Mi delirio sobre el Chimborazo” written by Simon Bolivar in which he shows his admiration for this mountain.

Climber’s favorite volcano

Cayambe is the third highest volcano in Ecuador at 5790 meters. This volcano can be climbed by beginners as well as intermediate and advanced climbers. Many people consider this to be one of the best places to start learning climbing techniques in Ecuador. If you want to try climbing this stunning volcano, plan your Ecuador tour between October and January! The most striking thing about this volcano is its beautiful abundant snow cover!

Other amazing activities

As you will see on our Ecuador tour, there are other amazing activities you can add to your volcano route. You can visit local markets in the small town of Zumbahua, go to the Toachi River Canyon and reach the deepest point of the canyon, visit one of America’s largest markets and buy artisan souvenirs in Otavalo, or taste delicious traditional biscuits in Cayambe. Check out our one-day trip to Otavalo here!

To sum things up

Alexander von Humboldt realized that Ecuador was in a privileged geographical location for many reasons, but what surprised him most was the number of volcanoes that rise majestically, creating natural landscapes that would inspire the most talented painters to create true works of art. These are just some of the destinations you can visit on the Route of the Volcanoes. As Ecuador is crossed by the Andes range, it is possible to reach several volcanoes in a short time. Don’t forget to check out our Volcano Experience tour!

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