South of Quito lies a wild landscape strewn with active volcanoes and the National Parks of Cotapaxi and Chimborazo. Cotapaxi national park is dominated by Mount Cotapaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, soaring to 19,700ft. The park contains excellent flora and fauna with herds of llamas and deer, hummingbirds, and the elusive Andean condor, as well as scenic walking trails.
Undoubtedly Ecuador’s most beautiful city and designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1999. Encompassed by fertile valleys, this colonial town is ideal for exploring on foot. Narrow cobbled streets, quiet plaza’s, 19th century architecture and domed churches make it a charming step back in time.
Known as El Oriente, the Ecuadorian Amazon is a true rainforest experience. Situated a short distance away from Quito, you have the possibility of spotting giant armadillos, manatees, anacondas, fresh water dolphins and countless monkeys.
The Valley of Mindo is within the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest and is located a short two-hour drive to the northwest of Quito. The 48,000-acre (19,200 hectares) forest stretches over the slopes of Pichincha Volcano and covers diverse ecosystems ranging from the cloud-high treeless plateau or "paramo" through subtropical forest to tropical jungle.
Situated north of Quito amongst the Andean foothills, is an area famed for its lakes, national parks and the bustling market town of Otavalo. For centuries, regional markets have played an important role in Indian life, providing regular gathering places for trade and socialising.
Quito is flanked by majestic mountains and snow capped volcanoes and its centre is divided into two. There is a colonial part with baroque facades, wrought iron balconies and cobbled streets that was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1978, and the modern district, which has all the hustle and bustle of an Ecuadorian city.
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