Travelers looking to take a kid-friendly adventure filled with breathtaking scenery and awe-striking experiences should plan a family trip to the Avenue of the Volcanoes in Ecuador. Dizzyingly high mountains that scrape the clouds with their snow-capped peaks tower over the lush green foothills that cascade across Ecuador. Here, people from across the world come to encounter unparalleled beauty, heart-racing adventures, and important cultural heritage.
Whether you’re in need of some accessible activities to enjoy with young children, or want to take your family on a more intense journey trekking through the Andes, this is one of the most magical destinations to experience in Ecuador. We’ve highlighted a few of the best things to do on a family trip to the Avenue of the Volcanoes to help inspire your travel plans, and get you excited about the mythic, fun-filled landscapes awaiting you.
Three Ways To See The Imposing Cotopaxi Volcano
Every family trip to the Avenue of the Volcanoes should include at least one day exploring Cotopaxi National Park. Here, the world’s largest active volcano stands at a wicked 19,347 feet tall (5,897m). Its grandeur lures people in from across the world, whether they arrive with their sights set on ascending to the top or wish to observe its power from afar. Seeing Cotopaxi as a family is doable regardless of age and activity level, as there are several amazing ways to explore this park.
For families that are up for a serious challenge, trekking Cotopaxi is a bucket list experience that will require some strong physical abilities but is well worth the effort. Summiting this mountain is no easy feat. You’ll need to take some time before the hike acclimatizing to the high altitude of Cotopaxi National Park. But don’t worry, you can spend a few days exploring Quito and make this part of your family’s vacation! Once you’ve adjusted to the elevation, you can head to the park and start your hike all together. The main part of your trek will take about eight hours, traversing steep volcanic rock, glacier walls, and snow bridges. Trekking with an expert local guide ensures you will follow the safest route possible, and once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with some incomprehensible views of Ecuador, and even get to peer into the volcano’s crater which still releases steam and gas on a regular basis.
Of course, your family may be looking for something a little more relaxed when it comes to seeing Cotopaxi. Another excellent option is to go horseback riding through the park, where you can take in the volcano from various viewpoints while striding through the soft grass of the valleys that surround the mountain region. This option also allows you to do some peaceful wildlife observation, as Andean condors soar overhead while white-tailed deer graze throughout the grass. This is definitely one of the best experiences for families in Ecuador if you’re looking for an easy but memorable way to explore the park.
Another excellent option that most travelers will be able to enjoy is a bike tour through Cotopaxi National Park. If two wheels is more comfortable than four hooves, this is an awesome way to explore all the unique natural terrain of the park alongside a local guide who will ensure you get some astonishing views of the volcano. Cut through ancient lava fields and green valleys as you ride past wild horses and endemic birds. No matter which way you choose to explore Cotopaxi, be sure to capture a few photos to remember the ethereal beauty of this landscape.
Take The Devil’s Nose Train Ride
One of the most unique activities to add to your family trip to the Avenue of the Volcanoes is the Devil’s Nose train ride (AKA the Nariz del Diablo). These tracks are one of the most impressive feats of locomotive engineering in the world, as this path winds down a steep, rugged mountain slope, descending more than 1,600 feet (500 meters) in just 7.5 miles (12 kms). Built at the beginning of the 20th century, these tracks originally hosted steam-powered trains only. The daredevil type of passengers used to brave the treacherous ride sitting on the roof of a train carriage, since the tracks sit right up against huge cliffs and rocky terrain.
Today, you and your family will enjoy a much more comfortable ride, sitting inside beautiful new carriages evocative of the original train cars, with windows that open up so you can enjoy clear, sweeping views on the horizon. Your journey will take about 45 minutes, starting in Alusi as you scale down to the Sibambe station. While the train ride is certainly the highlight of the experience, you’ll also get to enjoy a trip through the museum at the base of the mountain where kids can learn all about the history of Devil’s Nose.
Connect With The Culture Surrounding The Avenue Of The Volcanoes
Traveling with your kids is an incredible way to diversify their world view and provide them with enriching experiences. Learning about other cultures and customs allows us to grow compassion, respect, and gratitude for those around us. Travel provides every person, regardless of age, with an incredible opportunity to connect with people we may only meet once, but will leave a lasting impact. As you embark on your family trip to the Avenue of the Volcanoes, be sure to include a few cultural experiences where you engage with this region’s local communities!
Nestled all along the Andean Mountain range running down Ecuador are communities worthy of spending a few days exploring to get a better understanding of the region’s culture. From huge markets run by local vendors to the ancient indigenous communities who preserve Andean heritage and beyond, get ready to uncover a vibrant world with your family. After you explore Cotopaxi National Park, take some time to explore Saquisili. Known as one of the best markets in the central highlands, the Saquisili Market is famous for its impressive array of local products as well as the opportunity to witness locals bartering and exchanging goods including live animals. A local guide will help show you around the market, highlighting which products originate in the Andes.
Families can also spend a day or two wandering the historic city of Cuenca, which is the home to Ecuador’s UNESCO Heritage Site, the Historic Center of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca. Go on a walking tour through Cuena’s old town to learn about the city’s history, ranging from the pre-Hispanic communities dating back to 8060 B.C., to today’s bustling streets made up of local settlers as well as expats and nomads alike. People from around the world come to enjoy this small but magical jewel hidden in the Andean Mountains.
Plan Your Family Trip To Ecuador With Kuoda
Now that you’re dreaming about exploring the Avenue of the Volcanoes with your family, connect with a Kuoda expert and start planning the trip of a lifetime! Explore the great outdoors, indulge in luxury dining experiences and accommodations, and discover the wonders of the Andean Mountains on a vacation in one of Ecuador’s most impressive regions.
And, if you’re looking to uncover even more of Ecuador, add a few more destinations to your itinerary! From the Galapagos Islands to the Amazon Rainforest, this is one of South America’s most unique countries, filled with history, culture, and tons of wildlife experiences. Whatever your family’s travel goals are, Kuoda will help plan the ultimate getaway so you can relax and enjoy your trip to the fullest.
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