Volcanoes, haciendas, national parks and thermal springs
South of Quito, a road follows the Avenue of the Volcanoes through a rich landscape of forest and mountains with a fantastic view of Cotopaxi volcano. The valley is dotted with a mix of indigenous and colonial settlements with cottage industries and small-scale agriculture
We can take you on a drive down the Avenue of the Volcanoes on a day excursion from Quito, or travel at a more leisurely pace staying at one of several old estates where the grandiose buildings―harking back to a more opulent past―have been converted into authentic countryside hotels from which you can visit local markets and villages.
These are a quartet of of our favourites
Hacienda San Agustin
Hacienda la Ciénega
Close to Cotopaxi National Park:
Hacienda el Porvenir
Further south, from Riobamba you can travel by rail to Alausí. The track follows a thrilling route up and down the Devil’s Nose switchbacks on a virtually vertical cliff. Continue by road, or fly from Quito, to Cuenca via the Inca ruins at Ingapirca. This is a laid-back, gracious colonial city, From Cuenca, take an excursion to the high altitude Las Cajas National Park, with its translucent glacial lakes.
Another route follows the road southeast of Quito across the high páramo moorland above the tree-line of the ecological reserve of Cayambe-Coca. Pass the towering, snow-draped volcano, Antisana. In the foothills there’s a popular spa hotel at Papallacta, the Termas de Papallacta, which has been voted by some Guardian readers as their favourite romantic hotel) with inviting crystalline thermal springs and pools and nearby walking trails.
Read more about: The Andes Pin It
Las Cajas National Park
Mt Cotopaxi, Avenue of the Volcanoes