Showing posts from June, 2016

Deeper into Ecuador's Andean Highlands; Chimborazo and the Quilotoa Loop

Whilst staying in Guaranda we decided to do a day trip to Mount Chimborazo, only some 50 kilometres away. Whilst it had been thought to be extinct, new studies show that it is actually active, having erupted at least seven times during the last 10 000 years; nothing on record however. The mountain was once considered the highest on the planet, but was dethroned by the Himalayan and Peruvian peaks. According to the Earth's geometry, however, the summit of Chimborazo is considered to be the farthest from the Earth's centre.  This huge mountain is the highest point in Ecuador and has the highest peak near the equator at 6268 metres.

We didn't do the 'full monty' overnight-reach-the-summit hike, but decided to do a day hike instead. We took the bus from Guaranda and were dropped off approximately an hour later at the Chimborazo (Reserva de Produccion Faunistica) entrance.  Our approximately 8-hour return trip would begin at 4370 metres. We were off!

As we walked and br…

Exploring Ecuador's central highlands; Baños, Alausi, Guaranda, Salinas de Guaranda

Soon enough we were off to Baños de Agua Santa, or Baños, as it's more commonly known. The area around the small town has to be the jewel in Ecuador's jewel-encrusted crown! This tourist-happy town is the gateway to the Amazon. The town itself isn't a bomb of excitement, and in peak season it can feel garish and overcrowded with backpackers and tour operators trying to lure you into the den of mountain-biking, rafting, hiking, bungee jumping and partying. Having said that, nobody leaves without some great stories and a big whopping smile across their face! Luckily for us, it was low season, and we were able to hang out and do our thing. You can sometimes see the nearby Volcan Tungurahua erupting.  Saw it erupting in 1999, no such luck this time!

We had seen and done so much in the last few months that all we wanted to do was chill out! We found a great place to stay called Hostal Leon.  It was super-clean, run by friendly people, close to the market and had a little kitch…