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Avenue of Volcanoes

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Amid a stunning landscape of dramatic Andean peaks, explore traditional Quichua communities in this ‘land of the Ilamas’, discovering local haciendas, small villages and bustling traditional markets.

Heading south of Quito, you reach a range of truly spectacular mountain peaks, including Antisana and Cotopaxi, amongst many others. These dramatic mountains form the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes as you wind your way south from Quito to Cuenca through the beautiful countryside of the Andean highlands.

Relax in the stunning surroundings of Cotopaxi National Park in a cosy hacienda, from which you can explore the beautiful landscape on foot or on horse-back. At the end of a long day, put your feet up by the fire after a hearty bowl of locro – cheese and potato soup – and a warm mug of canelasso – a heady mix of aguardiente rum and cinnamon - sure to keep the evening mountain chill at bay.

You can even climb Chimborazo Volcano in the company of the famous ice man, who still transports chunks of ice from the mountain to the local market, or visit the Llama Museum, run by local indigenous women.

If you love hiking, then challenge yourself on some of Ecuador’s highest peaks with our wonderful new trekking programmes, combining stunning walks with lodging at local inns, to really discover more about Ecuadorian rural life. If you like the idea of wending your way slowly south through these beautiful highlands and would like to experience the dramatic switchbacks of the Devil’s Nose from Alausi, then you may consider boarding the newly re-opened Tren Crucero from Quito.

The new elegant carriages wind through this stunning Andean landscape, stopping at rose plantations, small remote villages and staying enroute at some delightful traditional haciendas. This is a chance to experience this stunning region at a slower pace as you travel by traditional steam locomotive through the highlands. You can spend up to four days on this very special journey meeting indigenous communities, try some local cuisine at small local ranches and stop for a chance to haggle for souvenirs at small local markets.

Wander among beautiful rose plantations that form the basis for one of Ecuador’s most important exports. Descend from high altiplano through cloudforest to the tropical lowlands dotted with bananas and cacao as you arrive in the bustling port of Guayaquil, from which you can most easily access the fascinating wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands.

However you would like to explore the Ecuadorian highlands from Cotopaxi via Riobamba to Cuenca and beyond, we can tailormake your perfect itinerary, be it by road, on horseback, on foot or by rail.

The Explorations Company, where no two journeys have ever been the same

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