Photo: Ilan Greenfield
Ecuador is proud of Mount Cotopaxi, located just outside of the capital city of Quito. For centuries, it was considered the world’s highest active volcano, at almost 6000 meters (over 19000 feet) above sea level. Vulcanology now considers almost all volcanoes ‘active’, and other active volcanoes in the southern Andes are statistically higher, but few are more picture-perfect.
In 1802 German explorer Alexander von Humbolt in a visit to Ecuador´s Sierra coined a phrase that is now part of the tourism vocabulary for mainland Ecuador: Avenue of the Volcanoes.
Between the eastern and western cordilleras of the Andes Mountains, along a stretch of 300 kilometers, all of Ecuador’s highest mountain peaks (nine are above 5,000 meters) are part of a protected area, either a national park or an ecological reserve. The mountain peaks are actually volcanoes, both active and inactive, which offer the opportunity to experience their beauty in many ways.