Ecuador - Avenue of the Volcanoes, the Galapagos Islands and colonial cities of the Andes
Vast tracts of humid Amazon rainforest, snow capped volcanoes topping 20,000 feet, indigenous highland Andean villages, a tropical coast with banana plantations and the offshore evolutionary melting pot of the Galapagos Islands, are all part of the small country of Ecuador. Lying along the Line of Equator in a country smaller than the US state of Colorado are four distinct bio climatic zones.
In the colonial cities of Quito, the capital, in the cultural centre of Cuenca in the south, and in Riobamba in the central Andean heartland, are architectural treasures from the Spanish colonial era. The highland towns of Peguche, Cotacachi and Cayambe, part of the northern Otavalo region, are mountain people with expert weaving and craft making skills that are centuries old. In Guamote, south of Riobamba, you will find a riot of colours and a cacophony of human and animal sounds in the weekly farmers market.
The road south from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito was famously named the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ by explorer and geologist, Alexander von Humboldt. Within three hours drive from Quito, lie 14 volcanoes, all higher than 15000 feet. Chimborazo, the highest, is over 20,000 feet.
Travel past the subtropical resort town of Banos in the shadow of the sometimes smoking, sometimes lava belching volcano of Tungurahua, and you will reach the gateway to the vast Amazonian rainforest with its network of meandering rivers.
A hour’s flight to the west, lie the Galapagos Islands. Whether you cruise to some of the islands on a luxury yacht seeing the varied marine and wildlife in the company of an expert naturalist or do day trips to different islands on modestly priced sail boats based out of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island, travelling here is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ journeys that need to be done and struck off the travellers bucket list.
In these and the other photo albums, join me in a photo journey through this varied land.
- Ecuador & the Galapagos - a set on Flickr
Ecuador & the Galapagos