The Andean region (also known as the Sierra and the Highlands) is the most visited region in the country. Its cultural and natural diversity spans grassy highlands (páramo), cloudforests, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, thermal baths, Indian markets, colonial towns and haciendas. Running the length of Ecuador and splitting the country into two from north to south the mountains and valleys of the high Andes form the heart of Ecuador. Quito, the capital of the country, is located at 2,900 meters in a valley on the western slopes of Pichincha volcano where you can find countless cities and towns to visit and stay at, as one travels north to south in the highlands.
Not surprisingly, this region possesses Ecuador’s most developed tourist industry, providing a wide range of accommodations, culinary options, shopping opportunities and cultural festivals, all easily accessible from the capital of Quito. In addition to Quito, Otavalo and Baños are considered travelers’ meccas, boasting an extensive infrastructure supporting tourism. In these towns you can expect a wide selection of restaurants, hotels and activities. Choose a luxurious suite in a 400-year old hacienda, or nestle down in a backpacker’s $3 per night hostel. Dine on veggie pizza one day