Introducing Central Highlands
As poetic monikers go, few can top the sound of ‘The Avenue of the Volcanoes, ’ the nickname coined by German explorer (and unwitting wordsmith) Alexander von Humboldt when he traveled through Ecuador’s central Andean valley in 1802. Not surprisingly, the name stuck. South of Quito the Panamericana winds past eight of the country’s 10 highest peaks, including the picture-perfect snowcapped cone of Volcán Cotopaxi (5897m) and the glaciated behemoth, Volcán Chimborazo (6310m).
For trekkers and climbers, the central highlands are a paradise, and even inexperienced (but acclimatized and extremely fit) climbers can have a go at summiting the country’s highest peaks. Those who are happier off the hill will find the region just as thrilling. The central highlands are home to scores of tiny indigenous villages, some of which are so remote you can only get there on foot, and where people lead lives that have changed little over the centuries.
The region is also home to many of the country’s most traditional markets. Wandering through these outdoor markets, where you’ll find the most unimaginable and interesting goods is one of the country’s most memorable experiences.
Central Highlands destination guides
Speed is the watchword for this high-adrenaline active tour around Ecuador. Across nine action-packed days, you’ll bike Cotopaxi (an Andean stratovolcano), raft down rushing rivers, trek the lush foothills of Baños, and much, much more.
Experience the wildlife of the Galapagos and the diversity of the Amazon on this ultimate Ecuadorean adventure. Get to know Ecuador inside out—from the Andes to the Islands and miss nothing in between. Explore the jungle by canoe and stay with a local Quichua family.