Ecuador – Discover the fascinating Volcano Avenue

The Ecuadorian peaks are attractive for adventurers from all around the world. More than 70 volcanoes and mountains are located along the well-known Volcano Avenue, a 350 km natural jewel that cross the country from north to south. Every year, between June and August, it’s Mountain Season in Ecuador. If you are a summit lover, you can’t miss the opportunity to practice mountaineering, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and other activities; at the same time you can enjoy the fantastic natural view that the country offers.

Volcano Avenue

The German scientist and geographer, Alexander Von Humboldt, named it, after his arrival in Ecuador in the 19th century. He verified the almost perfect symmetry and alignment of the volcanoes, snow-capped peaks and natural paradises, an authentic show for its visitors.

Ecuador is crossed by the Andes, connected through the Pan-American highway to many natural attractions. On this virtual tour, you can reach the closest point to the sun arriving to the Chimborazo (6,268 meters above sea level) or conquer Cotopaxi (5,897 meters above sea level), the highest active volcano in the world. You also be able to crown the summit of Cayambe (5,790 masl), one of the few snow-capped mountains on the planet located at latitude 0, dazzle your eyes at the turquoise blue lagoon of Quilotoa or simply contemplate Rucu Pichincha (4,696 masl).

Below, we present some of the main attractions that are part of the Volcano Avenue and that you should visit this season.


Cayambe is the third highest peak in Ecuador and one of the few volcanoes that is crossed by the equinoctial line, with an altitude of 5,790 meters above sea level, at one of its three peaks. El Cayambe is an ideal destination for adventure and adrenaline lovers. Reaching its summits demands a lot of physical preparation since it must be crossed by glaciers, sandbanks and rocks. From the “Ruales Oleas Berge” refuge located at 4,600 meters above sea level, you can get a spectacular panoramic view of some of the peaks of the Volcano Avenue.


The largest glacier in the country is located in the snow-capped Antisana at 5,704 meters above sea level. Its peaks are generally covered with snow, because of the rainy climate that comes from the Amazon. The two-peaked volcano can be admired from Papallacta or the Mica lagoon, where you can go hiking, biking, camping or doing mountain activities with beautiful Andean landscapes that will be part of the attractions.


Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and the second highest in Ecuador (5,897 meters above sea level). Its snowy cone is one of the most beautiful of the world. The locals says its name means «moon neck». The snow surround its fearsome smoking crater from which strong eruptions have roared. The Cotopaxi National Park, where is located, is an ideal place to enjoy the Andean flora and fauna. The trail until the José Rivas refuge (4,864 meters above sea level) or the visit to the Limpiopungo Lagoon, are some of the favorite activities of the tourists.


The Illinizas are two divided summits of the same volcano. The twin mountains represent the ideal setting for those looking to prepare to climb higher peaks. The north summit located at 5,126 meters above sea level has an irregular slope, however, the south summit, which reaches 5,248 meters above sea level, presents a bigger climbing challenge.


This volcano is known because the turquoise blue waters that give life to the famous Quilotoa Lagoon lie within its crater. The lagoon is the result of a volcanic eruption that occurred hundreds of years ago. Its diameter is approximately three kilometers, while its depth is 250 meters. The lagoon is located within the Illinizas Ecological Reserve, an ideal place to walk along trails that lead to places where the diverse Ecuadorian flora and fauna live.


The colossus known as «Fire Throat» is another of Ecuador’s active volcanoes. For years, it has been erupting constantly, worrying the populations of the surrounding communities. At 5,023 meters above sea level, the Tungurahua offers a spectacle of color, when at night, from the cities of Ambato or Baños, you can see the descent of incandescent rocks that fall in the middle of the explosion. The volcano is part of the Sangay National Park, within its 500 thousand hectares it is possible to admire approximately 3,000 species of plants and 580 species of animals.


Is the highest mountain in Ecuador and the closest point to the sun from the center of the planet. Its summit reaches 6,268 meters above sea level and its slope rest at 4,800 meters above sea level, which makes it a spectacular natural viewpoint. Conquering its summits is one of the main goals of every climber. Chimborazo, despite the fact that it doesn’t have a visible crater, has had some historical eruptions that are part of unique legends that tell about its rivalry with Cotopaxi. The volcano, which is located within the Chimborazo Fauna Production Reserve, is surrounded by various species of flora and fauna. The achupallas and vicuñas give life to the impressive Andean landscape.


Although it is now a dormant volcano, Altar was once considered a super volcano. It is believed that its peaks were the highest in Ecuador and that a huge landslide affected its shape and left it at 5,319 meters above sea level. In Quichua, the volcano is known as Capac-Urcu which means «Sublime Hill». In its crater lies the Yellow Lagoon, a natural wonder that is surrounded by peaks in the shape of an altar.


Known for being constantly in eruption, the Sangay is located at the south, between the Andes and the Amazon. Legends says that, the natives of the area witnessed violent explosions and for this reason they baptized with the name “Samkay”, which means frighten. The Sangay is covered by thick clouds of ash, however, it can be seen from almost all the Sangay National Park.