Welcome to Quito to Santo Domingo de Los Colorados
Dramatic scenery is a big part of the journey west from Quito, with steep pitches plunging toward the misty void as lush hills appear around sharp curves. It’s best to travel this stretch in the morning, when skies are more likely to be clear.
Outside of Quito the road climbs into the páramo (high-altitude Andean grasslands), with views of the extinct Volcanes Atacazo (4463m) and Corazón (4788m) to the north and south, respectively. The tortuous descent leads into the Río Toachi valley, where the air thickens and tropical plants begin sprouting up.
Careful driving on these windy roads – tailgating is a national pastime.