Cuenca or to give it its full name Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador and sits at 2560mtrs above sea level. It’s centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by many tourists.
Ecuador is the land of volcanoes with forty seven in total including the ones on the Galapagos. Twenty seven of these are potentially active. It sits across the equator covering a variety of landscapes from lush amazon jungle, the world famous Galapagos islands and Andean highlands. Here we will share our discoveries and adventures in this spectacular and proud land.
We crossed into Ecuador via the Rumichaca bridge from Colombia. Heading first for the town of Otavalo to do a spot of hiking. We did two really good hikes the first was the circuit of Laguna de Cuicocha and then a few days later we made it to the top of Fuya Fuya both spectacular volcanic landscapes. Then we moved on to Quito airport to begin our adventure on the Galapagos archipelago. Flying in to the island of San Cristobal. Then visiting the Islands of Isabela and Santa Cruz by fast boat.
“Ecuadorians are strange and unique beings. They sleep peacefully surrounded by roaring volcanoes, they live poor among incomparable riches and they become happy listening to sad music”
Alexander Von Humboldt
Now back on the mainland having had two wonderful weeks on the Galápagos Islands, we will be exploring the capital of Ecuador, Quito spending a few days there to recharge our batteries after a hectic few weeks. We continue our adventures with a move to Latacunga as a base to explore Cotopaxi and hike the spectacular Quilotoa Loop. Then further south to take in Riobamba as a base to visit the Chimborazo Volcano before we head down the Pan American Highway to the Colonial city of Cuenca. We then take the overnight bus to the beach resort of Mancora to cross the border into Peru.
How to visit Chimborazo Volcano as a day trip. Breathtaking views and an excellent hike to 5000m.
Cotopaxi volcano is probably the most iconic emblem of Ecuador and one of the most recognisable mountains in South America if not the world. So with that in mind you would think it would be hard to visit and expensive.
The Quilotoa loop three day hike is one of the most popular hikes in Ecuador mainly because of the spectacular countryside that walkers make their way through on dusty paths and lush green vegetation.
We had been looking forward to discovering Ecuador’s colonial capital since we entered the country almost a week ago. It is one of the first twelve places to be given the status of a unesco world heritage site.
Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos, is home to the largest town in the archipelago Puerto Ayora which is the main Galapagos tourist hub.
Isabela Island is the largest of the Galápagos Islands and is distinctly shaped like a horseshoe. It is made up of no less than 5 young volcanoes fused together with some of them still being active with the most recent eruption on Sierra Negro being only in 2018.
San Cristóbal is the fifth largest and easternmost island of the Galapagos. It is comprised of three or four fused volcanoes, all extinct.
Laguna de Cuicocha is a volcanic crater lake on the outskirts of Otavalo in northern Ecuador. It’s an easy day hike using public transport so is an ideal hike for budget conscious backpackers.
Fuya Fuya means cloud cloud in Kichwa the local indigenous language of the Otavalos people. Legend says that the clouds are born here on it’s twin peaks
Otavalo is a town in the Andean highlands in the Imbabura province of northern Ecuador. It’s surrounded by volcanoes including and the most amazing landscape