In Ecuador, the Andes split into two arms that run parallel southwards. The fertile valley trapped amidst these imposing walls, known as the inter-Andean alley, is home to a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity. Along the Avenue of Volcanoes, as Alexander Von Humboldt named it, you can find UNESCO World Heritage cities as Quito of Cuenca, but also colorful indigenous markets, Inca-time ruins, ancestral communities, all thriving under the watchful gaze of majestic volcanoes. Here, the Andes reach heights over 20,100 feet above sea level, as is the case with Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador and also the highest point in the globe as measured from the center of earth.
The climate in the Andes varies according to altitude –the higher the colder. Typical daytime temperature oscillates between 16° and 25° C (60 –77°F) falling to 8° to 10° C (46° – 50°F ) by night.
Ice and snow are visible all year round in the snowcapped Andean volcanoes.
Traditional Andean cuisine is based on a range of staple native produce, such as corn, potato and quinoa combined with beef, chicken or fresh-water fish, mostly trout. But above all, the ever present soup, with corn, plantain, herbs, legumes, grains and whatever is available in the pantry.
Fresh-made fruit juices are traditionally served accompanying every meal.