|Travel Ecuador : Volcanoes :|
Ecuador is home to many different volcanoes, both active and inactive. The Andes runs in a corridor through the center of the country, defining the country’s extraordinary landscapes, ecosystems and weather systems. This corridor of mountains is commonly known as the “Avenue of Volcanoes”, and the Pan-American highway weaves its way through the mountains from north to south, making for a breathtaking journey through the country. Ecuador’s volcanoes make the country very suitable for countless opportunities for hiking and climbing in the mountains. There are approximately 50 volcanoes in the country.
Very close to Quito, Rucu and Guagua Pichincha overshadow the city. In 1999, active stratovolcano Guagua Pichincha violently erupted, causing Quito to be covered with a thick layer of ash. Both peaks are frequently climbed. Rucu Pichincha is easily accessible via Quito’s cable car, known as the Teleferiqo. From the top of the teleferiqo it is a three or four hour hike to the top of Rucu with a steep rock scramble at near the summit
Just 90 minutes south of Quito, Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes on earth, standing at 5987 meters. The volcano is located in the Cotopaxi National Park, and here it is possible to observe the evidence of volcanic and glacial activity over the millennia. Cotopaxi is a very active stratovolcano and has a cycle of erupting rather frequently, sending lahars (mud flows) towards nearby settlements. Ecuadorian town, Latacunga has been destroyed on a couple of occasions by the volcanic activity of Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is a volcano that is frequently climbed by visitors and locals. Due to its immense height, some acclimatization and training is required before attempting to summit this near-perfect cone.
Standing at a height of 5023 meters, Tungurahua is a highly-active volcano that in recent years has threatened Banos and other local towns on a number of occasions. Violent eruptions of this lava-spewing volcano caused the town to be evacuated as recently as 1999. Another eruption caused destruction in the surrounding areas in 2006. A stratovolcano, Tungurahua’s name means “throat of fire,” for obvious reasons. It has been possible to climb the volcano in the past, but recent activity makes this not possible at the current time.
Located in the Ecuadorian section of the Amazon jungle, Reventador is an active volcano that has erupted as recently as 2009. The volcano is a stratovolcano whose name translates as “the burster”. Because the location of this volcano is relatively remote, eruptions can sometimes go unreported. The largest eruption known was in 2002. When there are big eruptions of Reventador, ash can be dispersed on the wind as far away as Quito.
The highest mountain in Ecuador, standing at 6310 meters, Chimborazo is also the spot furthest away from the center of the earth to the sun, due to its proximity to the Equator. This inactive volcano is classified as a stratovolcano. The volcano was thought to have last erupted sometime around 550 AD. Located between four and five hours south of Quito by bus, this volcano is a popular, but challenging climb that involves glacier walking.
Sharing its name with the island that it is located on in the Galapagos, this volcano is very young. It erupted in April 2009. Due to the level of volcanic activity on Fernandina Island, the tourism to that island is impacted, with travelers only being taken to a few visitor sites on the edges of the island.