Cotopaxi and the Avenue of Volcanoes

Ecuadors famed Avenue of Volcanoes” offers some of the countrys most incredible volcanic scenery.

This legendary pathway through the Andes is also home to fascinating local culture and handicrafts, archaeological sites and historical haciendas.  

 A highlight of this region is descending the wonderful “Devil’s Nose Pass” by rail. The exciting train ride begins in the small town of Alausí and finishes in Silambe. A feat of engineering, the short journey follows twisting and turning track over the Andes, passing gorges and down the section known as the Devil’s Nose, a series of impressive switchbacks.  

One of the world’s highest volcanoes standing at 5,897 metres, Cotopaxi is a tall, active, cone-shaped volcano (also known as a stratovolcano). It is the highest active volcano in the world and one of the most spectacular and impressive sights in Ecuador. Located in its namesake national park, the surrounding landscape is home to small haciendas and offers plenty of activities for travellers to enjoy including hikes, horseback riding and local markets to explore.     

Along the route, there are several beautiful towns and cities such as Riobamba and Cuenca. Like many other Ecuadorian cities, Riobamba has many beautiful colonial buildings. Almost the entire city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1797 but was later rebuilt. Cuenca is another beautiful colonial city, and the historic centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

  • Some of Ecuador’s most jaw-dropping scenery
  • Impressive Cotopaxi – the world’s highest active volcano at 5,897 metres
  • Beautiful, historical towns such as Riobamba and Cuenca
  • Experiencing the incredible “Devil’s Nose Pass” by train
  • Home to archaeological sites and historic haciendas

Generally, Ecuador has two seasons, wet and dry; however local weather patterns vary greatly depending on geography. In the highlands, the dry season is June-September and December, making these months (as well as January) a popular time to visit the country.

Cotopaxi Volcanoe in Ecuador

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Amazon River Cruises FAQ

Ecuador has a number of extremely luxurious riverboats that offer guests a chance to explore the remarkable Amazon Rainforest on either 4,5 or 8 day itineraries. These itineraries offer in-depth exploration in total luxury and style. 

Compared to a comfortable eco-lodge, cruising through the Amazon Rainforest on a luxury riverboat allows visitors to see more of the Amazon Rainforest. Another benefit is that you can watch the world pass slowly by from the comforts of your private suite, an elegant lounge or spacious observation deck. Luxury riverboats also offer some of the highest standards of service, food and luxury within the Amazon ecosystem. 

Best Ecuador holidays

Galapagos Extravaganza

This 15 day/14 night itinerary combines the very best of the southern, north and central islands exploring Floreana, Espanola, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, South Plaza and North Seymour islands.

Recommended places to stay in Ecuador

Casa Gangotena

Situated on Plaza San Francisco in the heart of Quito’s historic centre, Casa Gangotena is the city’s leading luxury hotel.

Finch Bay Hotel

Located on the south side of Santa Cruz Island, this stunning hotel is positioned in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago.

Mashpi Lodge

Hidden amongst pristine cloud forest in the Andean foothills, Mashpi Lodge is Ecuador’s premier eco-lodge.

Pikaia Lodge

Perched on the edge of an extinct volcano this remarkable lodge boasts some of the most spectacular views in the Galapagos Islands

Talk to one of our South America Experts

Taleen Gaidzkar

Senior Destination Specialist

Natasha Redondo

Destination Specialist

Ecuador Overview

What is the best thing to do in Ecuador?
Ecuador offers an incredible array of experiences within its borders; from heritage-rich colonial cities and luxurious rainforest lodges to opulent Amazon River cruises and exciting rail journey’s – there is something for everyone to enjoy. Most compelling of all is the wild beauty and unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands.

Ecuador Culture
From Amazonian frontier towns and Pacific fishing villages, to colonial cities and country markets, Ecuador is a blend of a many cultures. The country is famous for its excellent handicrafts, whilst Afro-Ecuadorians are known for marimba, a lively form of traditional music and dance.

What can I combine Ecuador with?
Mainland Ecuador can be easily combined with a cruise through the beautiful Galapagos Islands, located just under 1000 kilometres off the coast. Neighbouring Peru is the other county most easily (and best) to combine with Ecuador. Top highlights include Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and historic Cusco.

How do you get to Ecuador?
Ecuador’s capital Quito, and the country’s largest city Guayaquil, are the major hubs for flights into the country. Both cities are serviced by a number of airlines directly such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, American Airlines, Air France and United. Latam Airlines (primarily based in Santiago, Chile), is the major airline in South America and offers direct flights to number of US and European cities. The Galapagos Islands are a 2 hour flight from Quito or 1.5 hour flight from Guayaquil.

US – Ecuador is very easy to fly to from the United States. There are plenty of direct flights to either Quito or Guayaquil from a number of US cities. Airlines that fly between the countries include United Airlines, American Airlines and Latam Airlines.

Europe – There are a number of countries that operate direct flights into Ecuador from Europe including France and the Netherlands. Alternatively Latam fly to European countries such as Germany and Spain.

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