Several operators organize climbing, trekking, and mountain-biking tours to the surrounding snowcapped peaks and their outskirts.
Climbing & Trekking -- For climbers, Chimborazo is the prized peak: At 6,310m (20,702 ft.) it's the tallest mountain in Ecuador. This is a very high-altitude climb and somewhat technical, too. Only those in good shape and with sufficient skills and experience should attempt it. Trips can also be arranged to Sangay, the Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, and other peaks. If high-altitude climbing is beyond your reach, you can do a multiday trekking-and-camping tour at slightly lower elevations. Destinations include the flanks of Chimborazo, as well as sections of the ancient Inca trail. Organized tours usually last from 2 to 7 days and cost from around $75 to $150 (£50-£100) per person per day. Be sure to go with a reputable, licensed guide, particularly if you are a novice. Recommended operators are Expediciones Julio Verne (tel. 03/2963-436; www.julioverne-travel.com), El Espectador 22-25 and Av. León Borja; and Andes Climbing and Trekking (tel. 03/2940-964; www.goandestrek.com), on Colón 22-25 and 10 de Agosto.
Mountain Biking & Horseback Riding -- The terrain and scenery make this a top-notch spot to go mountain biking or horseback riding. Local operators arrange everything from half-day to multiday tours, depending on your fitness level. The most popular destinations are the Ozogoche and Atillo lakes, Chimborazo, and El Altar. Expect to pay $35 to $70 (£23-£47) per day, depending on the number of participants. These rates usually do not include admission to national parks or protected areas. Check out Biking Spirit (tel. 03/2942-215; www.bikingspirit.com), Av. León Borja 35-17 and Uruguay, which works together with the Tagua Shop ; Pro-Bici (also known as Ciclotur; tel. 03/2941-880; www.probici.com), Primera Constituyente 23-51 and Larrea; or Metropolitan Touring (tel. 03/2969-600; www.metropolitan-touring.com), León Borja and Lavalle.