Volcán Cayambe

Volcán Cayambe

Sunset on the mighty Volcano Cayambe in Ecuador | Ksenia Ragozina

Cayambe Volcano, located in Ecuador, is a majestic geological feature that contributes significantly to the country’s rich landscape. Part of the Andes mountain range, it stands as the third highest elevation in Ecuador and the third highest active volcano in the world. This magnificent stratovolcano rises to an impressive 5,790 meters above sea level, making it a prominent landmark and a popular attraction for mountaineers and tourists alike.

Cayambe Volcano is situated in the Pichincha province of Ecuador, approximately 70 kilometers northeast of Quito, the capital city. It is noteworthy that Cayambe Volcano is the only point on the Earth’s equator where snow is present all year round, further enhancing its unique appeal. The volcano is also home to the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve, an area of significant biodiversity and ecological importance encompassing over 4000 square kilometers.

Cayambe’s glacial cap feeds into several rivers and provides water for the surrounding regions, making it not just a picturesque sight but also a vital water source. Its last significant eruption occurred around 1785-1786, but seismic activity continues to be monitored closely by scientists.

Despite its potential dangers due to its active status, Cayambe Volcano is a beacon for adventurous climbers who are drawn to its challenging slopes and breathtaking vistas. The Andes’ captivating beauty and rich cultural heritage make this part of Ecuador a must-visit destination for those seeking adventure and natural beauty.

Cayambe Volcano, located in the Andes of Ecuador, is much more than just a geographical feature. It’s an active contributor to the country’s ecology, a vital water source, a hub for biodiversity, a challenge for mountaineers, and an enchanting destination for tourists from around the globe. Its unique location and characteristics truly set it apart as one of the world’s most fascinating volcanoes.

Fast Facts

Country: Ecuador

State/Province: Pichincha

Mountain Range: Andes

Parents: Andes

Elevation: 18,996 feet / 5,790 meters

Prominence: 6,808 feet / 2,075 meters

Isolation: 57.48 miles / 92.51 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): Volcán Cotopaxi

Flora and Fauna

The Cayambe Volcano, located in the magnificent Andes of Ecuador, is not only a natural wonder in terms of its geological prominence but also due to its diverse flora and fauna. This snow-capped giant, being the third highest peak in Ecuador, provides a unique ecosystem that hosts a variety of plant and animal species.

The flora around Cayambe Volcano is a spectacle to behold. The lower region of the volcano is graced with lush vegetation and dense forests that are characterized by ferns, bromeliads, and orchids. As you ascend towards the higher altitudes, the landscape transitions into the páramo ecosystem, a unique high-altitude tropical ecosystem. Here, you will find a plethora of hardy plants adapted to harsh weather conditions, like the frailejones, a plant species that dominate the Andean páramo with their peculiar rosette formations.

The fauna around the Cayambe Volcano is equally captivating. The lower regions of the volcano serve as home to various mammals like spectacled bears, pumas, and Andean foxes. The skies above are often graced by the majestic flight of Andean condors and other bird species native to the region. Higher altitudes are inhabited by creatures such as rabbits and white-tailed deer which have adapted to survive in the rigorous conditions.

The Cayambe Volcano in Ecuador presents an exceptional site for the study of flora and fauna. It is an embodiment of nature’s resilience and adaptability under varying environmental conditions. The rich biodiversity found here is not only critical to maintaining ecological balance but also serves as an inspiration for numerous scientific investigations. Indeed, the flora and fauna of Cayambe Volcano offer an intriguing glimpse into the wonders of natural life in the Andes.


Volcán Cayambe, a majestic stratovolcano in the Andes of Ecuador, is a sight to behold and offers some of the most scenic and challenging trails in the region. Many outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers from around the globe are attracted to this part of Ecuador, thanks to the breathtaking landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and unique cultural encounters that the trails near Cayambe Volcano offer.

One of the most popular trails near Cayambe Volcano is the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve trail. This trail offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Visitors get to explore a variety of ecosystems ranging from Andean páramo to cloud forests, with an opportunity to spot endemic wildlife species. The trail also passes through several indigenous communities, providing hikers with an opportunity to learn about the local culture and traditions.

Another well-trodden trail is the Cayambe Summit Trail. As the name suggests, this trail leads to the summit of the Cayambe Volcano, which is the third highest peak in Ecuador and one of the few spots on the earth’s equator with snow. This trail is not for the faint-hearted as it involves glacier climbing and can be quite demanding. However, those who dare are rewarded with unparallel views of the Andes and beyond.

The trek to Laguna de Puruhanta is another must-experience trail near Cayambe Volcano. This trail is less strenuous compared to the summit trail but equally rewarding. It winds through lush páramo landscapes and culminates at a beautiful lagoon nestled amidst the mountains.

Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking a challenge or a nature lover looking for serene landscapes, the trails near Cayambe Volcano in Ecuador’s Andes have something unique to offer. Just make sure to pack your sense of adventure!

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