It seems someone has ordered them all to line up. It is not a rule that the highest has to be at the end of the row. All active and extinct volcanoes are tied up together on Volcano Avenue. This name was given by the German geographer and explorer Alexander Von Humboldt in 1812 while he was trekking in The Andes in Ecuador. He discovered that more than thirteen different volcanoes rise symmetrically along almost 300 kilometers.
This group of volcanoes has been there for ages decorating our Ecuadorian landscapes and being part of every town’s culture and life. Even different stories and legends have been told between people who live at the foot of the volcanoes. As an example, they think Mama Tungurahua (mother in the kichwa language) and Taita Imbabura (father) are their protectors and everything that happens in their towns is because these two volcanoes desire it. This belief works especially on farmers. Having a good harvest depends on Mama’s decision and they respect it. Because some of the volcanoes have recently been in a very bad mood, dressing in frozen white very often and giving unexpected explosions of ash concerts, farmers have traded their duties with those of tour guides. There are no better guides than local people who know the best trails and every hidden place to enjoy the most wonderful landscapes.
Volcano Avenue has been converted into these new tour guides’ office. It is a secondary road between Imbabura (north) and Cotopaxi (south). Besides the volcanoes, it also goes through green hills and rocky mountains suitable for doing different extreme sports like biking, trekking, climbing, canyoning, hiking, horse riding and bird watching. You have lots of options to choose from, depending on your physical shape, what you like, how much of an adventurer you are and how many people go with you. All of these activities include a natural scenario with rivers, waterfalls, and a variety of big tree. Beware because you may also come across wild horses, rabbits and hawks. As happen in many places, contacting these local tour guides directly will be cheaper and more personalized. You can manage your time better and if you are lucky, the weather may allow you to do more than one activity.
During this adventure, you can include in your itinerary some stops to eat traditional food and visit the handicrafts markets that are usually located in the central park of every town. These extreme sports start early in the morning. So, in the late afternoon, the best plan is to go to the nearest town to enjoy some fritada, mote, empanadas, choclo; food that will refill your energy. If you choose to do some biking on the Corazón, at the end of your trail you will get to the old train station. Every weekend, while you are on the train that takes you back to Quito, some dancers with very colorful costumes dance to drums and maracas. You will have enough time to fill your stomach, enjoy the music, take pictures and buy wool caps for the cold return.
This eco–route transforms volcanoes into something more than a natural gift, an active tourist destination that links culture with extreme sports. Go out, choose your destination depending on the adventure you want and then let the landscapes and von Humboldt’s route take you wherever they want.
If you are interested to know more about this route, write a comment down this article.