The Ecuadorian Andes have achieved a balance of natural and man-made splendors sure to please everyone. Travelers may look forward to climbing, trekking, or horseback riding in the Avenue of Volcanoes that runs the length of the northern Sierra.
The volcanoes that populate Ecuador include Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on earth, and Chimborazo, the peak of which is the furthest point from the center of the Earth because of the Equatorial bulge.
The Andes also offer great birdwatching in the magnificent cloud forests of Mindo; shopping for handicrafts in the world famous market town of Otavalo; fascinating opportunities to interact with the Quichua indigenous in villages across the highlands; great trekking between beautifully preserved colonial-era haciendas; and, sightseeing in colonial towns and cities, such as Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Sierra is rich in natural and cultural beauty. Snow-capped, active volcanoes, lush green rolling hillsides covered in a patchwork of farms and untamed cloud forests, an immense lake formed in the crater of a volcano, natural hot springs, crashing waterfalls, and rushing rivers form a spectacular setting. Moreover, culturally, communities still use languages, traditions and customs dating back thousands of years.