Over the Andes

Having travelled down to the Chilean capital of Santiago (which is as far south as I’m going to on this trip), it’s now time to start heading east, and finally go over the mighty mountain range that I’ve been following ever since northern Colombia.  And what better place to do that virgin crossing (and pop my trans-Andean cherry) than in the shadow of the tallest mountain in the Americas. Continue reading

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Peru’s Mountainous Middle

Following on from my tour of Peru’s historically-fascinating and architecturally-interesting (but not-very-tropical) coast, it’s back into the mountains.  And not just any old mountains either, but the highest peaks in the country, the highest mountain range in the tropics, and some of the highest in the entire Andes. Continue reading

Walking the Quilotoa Loop

The Andes mountains run the length of Ecuador, from the northern border with Colombia to the south and Peru, in a continuous chain that the 19th-century German explorer Alexander von Humboldt dramatically-christened “The Avenue of the Volcanoes”.  Around the capital Quito, they reach their highest (and most photogenic) peaks, including Cayambe (a volcano that’s right on the equator, the only place on the equator where there’s permanent snow, and the only place on earth where both latitude and average temperature are 0°), Cotopaxi (a symmetrical mountain that’s one of the planet’s highest active volcanoes), and Chimborazo (whose summit is the furthest point from the centre of the earth, despite being 2500m lower than Everest, due to the equatorial bulge). Continue reading