Ecuador is a country of incredible contrasts. Despite being about the same size as the state of Colorado, it boasts quiet ocean shores in the sunny and dry west, dense, humid rainforests in the east, and huge mountains in the middle of the country.
Several of Ecuador’s peaks are a good deal higher than the tallest mountains in Europe and the lower 48 states, and the capital city is situated in a valley 9,350 feet (2,800 meters) above sea level! Those high elevations make for incredible scenery, exciting high mountain activities, and several must-see destinations. It’s a challenge to pick out highlights from the stunning high elevations of Ecuador but here are a few of the most heavily visited places:
- Otavalo: This high elevation market town will always make it onto lists of must see destinations because it hosts one of the most exciting and colorful Indigenous markets in South America.
- Cotopaxi: This snow-capped volcano is one of the tallest active volcanoes on the planet. Although its 5,897 m (19,347 ft) height should only be climbed by experienced, guided climbers, other exciting activities in the area include hikes and horse back rides through beautiful landscapes, and stays in cozy hosterias.
- Cuenca and Cajas National Park: A beautiful colonial city is always a highlight and Cuenca happens to be one of the most intact Spanish colonial cities in South America. Experience the quaint beauty of this high elevation city along with the unique landscapes of Cajas National Park just outside of town.
- Chimborazo: This amazing snow-topped volcano is the highest mountain in Ecuador (6,268 meters (20,564 ft)), and the point on the surface of the Earth that is farthest from the center of the planet.
Experience the stunning scenery of these and other beautiful High Andean destinations when visiting Ecuador.