Useful travel information on Ecuador, type of currency, climate, things to bring, different areas to visit and where to stay.


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Ecuador Volcanoes

The road south from Quito to Latacunga and Ambato and then to Cuenca is the Pan American Highway, the Pananericana, and it runs through a long, fertile, central valley sometimes known as Volcano Alley. On either side of the valley rise parallel sets of mountains with nine of the country's highest peaks . The volcanos of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Sangay. Pichincha Cotopaxi and Sangay are among the world's top ten most active volcanos.

The volcanos of Ecuador elicit oohs and ahs from travelers, and with the eruptions in recent years, are sights.



Pichincha is an active stratovolcano in the country of Ecuador, whose capital Quito wraps around its eastern slopes. The mountain's two highest peaks are the Guagua (15,696 feet/4,784 m), which means "child" in Quechua and the Rucu (15,413 feet/4,698 m), which means "old person". The active caldera is in the Guagua, on the western side of the mountain.

Both peaks are visible from the city of Quito and are easily climbed. Guagua is usually accessed from the village Lloa outside of Quito. In October of 1999, the volcano erupted and covered the city with several inches of ash. Prior to that, the last major eruption was in 1660, when about a foot of ash fell on the city.

The province in which it is located takes its name from the mountain, as is the case for many of the other provinces in Ecuador (Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, etc). On May 24, 1822, in the context of the war of independence of Latin American, Patriot forces defeated a Spanish colonial army on the slopes of the Pichincha. The encounter, known as the Battle of Pichincha, sealed the independence of the lands that constitute modern Ecuador.


Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located about 75 kilometres (50 mi) south of Quito, Ecuador, South America. It is the second highest summit in the country, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft)

Cotopaxi has an almost symmetrical cone that rises from a highland plain of about 3,800 metres (12,500 ft), with a width at its base of about 23 kilometres (14 mi). It has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, which starts at the height of 5,000 metres (16,400 ft). The mountain is clearly visible on the skyline from Quito. It is part of the chain of volcanoes around the Pacific plate known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.


Antisana is a stratovolcano of the northern Andes, in Ecuador. It is the fourth highest volcano in Ecuador, at 18,871 ft. (5,752m), and is located 50 km SE of the capital city of Quito. Antisana presents one of the most challenging technical climbs in the Ecuadorian Andes.


The inactive stratovolcano Chimborazo is Ecuador's highest summit. Its last eruption is thought to have occurred some time in the first millennium AD. Its summit is generally regarded as the spot on the surface farthest from the centre of the Earth (since the Earth is not a perfect sphere), a distance of 6,384.4 km (3,968 mi).


Cayambe (or Volcán Cayambe) is the name of a volcano located in the Cordillera Oriental, a branch of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located in Pichincha province some 70 km (43 mi) northeast of Quito. It is the third highest mountain in Ecuador.


Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the westernmost volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3 kilometres (2 mi) wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic VEI-6 eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean, and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. The caldera has since accumulated a 250 m (820 ft) deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals. Fumaroles are found on the lake floor and hot springs occur on the eastern flank of the volcano.

Quilotoa is a tourist site of growing popularity. The route to the "summit" (the small town of Quilotoa) is generally traveled by hired truck or bus from the town of Zumbahua 17 km to the South. Visitors must pay two US dollars each to look from the lip of the caldera. A number of simple hostales have developed in the immediate area, and offer services such as mules and guides for the five-hour hike around the caldera (whose diameter is about 9km), a half-hour hike down (and 1-2 hour hike back up the 400 meter vertical ascent), and very basic lodging down in its bowl. Camping is permitted at the bottom of the crater, but there is no potable water (except half-liter bottles sold at the hostel), and a single pit toilet in the hostel provides the only bathroom.


Sangay is a constantly active stratovolcano in southeastern Ecuador. It is the southernmost and most active volcano in the country, and is known for its explosive venting of thick ash clouds, which has built a dome since 1976.


Tungurahua,(Quichua tunguri (throat), rahua (fire): "Throat of Fire" is an active stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Central of Ecuador. The volcano gives its name to the province of Tungurahua. Volcanic activity restarted in 1999 and is ongoing as of 2008 with major eruptions on August 16, 2006 and on February 6, 2008.


El Altar is an extinct volcano on the western side of Sangay National Park in Ecuador, 170 km south of Quito. Spaniards named it as such as it resembled a huge cathedral to them. The Inca called it Capac-Urcu, which means "King Mountain" in Quechua.