1. From Quito: 2-Day Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Trip
Depart Quito early in the morning and drive along the scenic Avenue of the Volcanoes, spotting various mountains including, el Corazon, Rumiñahui, Illinizas, Pasochoa, and Atacazo. Arrive at the national park surrounding the Cotopaxi volcano, which stands as the highest active volcano in the world at 5,897 meters. Start by hiking around the lake at the foot of the volcano. Then drive up the volcano to reach 4,500 meters. If weather permits and park regulations allow, climb to reach the refuge at 4,800 meters and from there continue up to the glaciers. Your time on the peak will also include a visit to the Interpretation Center to learn about the flora and the fauna of the park. Stay overnight in Cotopaxi. On day two, head to the Quilotoa volcano, stopping along the way in a traditional indigenous village. Visit with the locals in a typical indigenous house made of straw learning about their way of life and agricultural practices. Then make another stop in the town of Tigua, famous for its naive paintings. Continue on to reach Quilotoa. Choose to descend to the reach the shore of the lake located in the mountain crater or just walk around the crater. Then go on a mule ride around the mountain, taking in the incredible highland landscapes. Afterwards return to Quito.