A visit to the Mitad del Mundo is commonly combined with a trip up to the rim of the extinct volcano of Pululahua, whose 34-square-kilometre crater – one of the continent’s largest – has been protected since 1966 as a geobotanical reserve. Its unusual topography and associated microclimates not only support rich, cultivated land on the valley floor, but also lush cloudforests, 260 types of plants and a large variety of orchids. Outlooks on the rim afford views over bucolic scenery within the crater, beautiful networks of fields and small settlements squeezed around the two volcanic cones of Pondoña and Chivo, all cradled by the thickly forested and deeply gullied crater walls. It’s best to get up here early in the morning as thick clouds engulf the crater later in the day.

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