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International Multisport Meccas: Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Trek across the roof of the Andes, mix in some trail riding–on bike and horseback–and climb a 19,000-foot volcano.
Cotopaxi National Park, EcuadorWild Horses Roam Cotopaxi (Glen Delman)

Vancouver Island, British Columbia | French Alps
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Sardinia, Italy | Julian Alps, Slovenia | Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Less than two hours south of Quito, the four-day, roughly 40-mile Volcano Trek from Santa Rita Private Reserve to Cotopaxi National Park plunges you into the heart of Andean volcanoes: Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, Sincholagua, Antisana, and cone-shaped 19,342-foot Cotopaxi. Staying mostly above 12,000 feet, the trail leads to the Inca fortress Pucara del Salitre, across ancient lava flows, and through otherworldly expanses of a wildflower-covered paramo, or grassland plateau. Go independently or with a guide (, who also offers horseback riding, mountain biking, and cable-assisted ascents into the lush forest canopy.

A two-day mountaineering ascent of snow-capped Cotopaxi is nontechnical, but beginners should hire a guide.

Jungle Walk
See pink dolphins, crocs, and toucans in an ecosystem supporting 25,000 species of flora on hikes from Napo Wildlife Center Amazon Lodge at Yasuni National Park.

Cost $$

Trekking in the Central Andes, by Rob Rachowiecki, Greg Caire, and Grant Dixon (Lonely Planet, $18.50 for the book or $5.50 to download the Ecuador chapter)

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