Select Page

Cotopaxi and the avenue of volcanoes

The picturesque, cone-shaped Cotopaxi – the highest active volcano in the world.

Cotopaxi and the avenue of volcanoes

Set in the heartland of Ecuador, about 40 miles south of Quito, you will find eight of Ecuador’s highest volcanic peaks, including the picturesque, cone-shaped Cotopaxi – the highest active volcano in the world. This is where you can experience some of the best hiking there is to be had whilst you stay at a local hacienda. The views are amazing, green and golden foothills give way to the snow-capped peaks of the majestic volcanoes, not least the impressive Chimborazo. Explore on foot or on horseback, following trails that lead to stunning turquoise volcanic lakes. The crystal clear still waters reflect the captivating skyline. Local villages are dotted about the countryside, spend a little time visiting the colourful local markets, try some of the local delicacies and gain an insight into the life of the indigenous people of the area.

Reasons to visit the Cotapaxi

 Visit the area for a few days or include it in a longer itinerary on mainland Ecuador to compliment your trip to The Galapagos. This area can be included on a road trip down to Cuenca and then on to Guayaquil, and it also features in the train itineraries.


  • Explore the small city of Banos (Banos de Agua Santa), named after the famous hydrothermal springs.
  • Relax and bask in the hot springs at Papallacta.
  • Catch the dramatic Devil’s Nose train from Riobamba, this is one of the steepest train journeys in the world.
  • This area is excellent for birdwatching is home the giant Andean Condor, with its 3m wingspan, orange-faced falcon and various species of hummingbird amongst others.
  • Hike amidst the magnificent scenery of the Cotopaxi National Park.
  • There are plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed, including mountain biking or horse riding in the foothills of the volcanoes.
  • Hike the Quilatoa Loop, passing through the highlands and typical Andean villages, with stunning view and backdrops.
  • Be sure to visit the emerald Laguna Quilatoa, a stunning lake in the crater of an extinct volcano.

When to Visit

Cotopaxi and the Avenue of the Volcanoes can be included in an itinerary year round. There is no best or worst time for this area, and it has been known for four seasons can be experienced in one day. The temperature in the valleys and slopes can be very different to what’s going on at the summit. So anytime is the simple answer!

Places to Stay

Cotapaxi and the surrounding area has a good selection of places to stay: