María José Andrade

Travel planner specialist with more than 18 years of experience on the design of experiences that lead to legendary moments. My passion towards the travel industry started when I was very young as a volunteer in the Middle East, and further solo travelling through Asia and Europe on my late teens. At University I got a degree in Anthropology, which taught me about the fascinating role of culture linked to places.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Tierra del Volcán is an inbound tour operator that specializes in ecotourism and adventure travel in the Cotopaxi Area on the Central Andes of Ecuador.

We operate two working haciendas or ranches: Hacienda El Porvenir and Hacienda El Tambo, in the region surrounding the Cotopaxi Volcano, each one with its charm, ecosystem and distinctive touch.

A broad range of tours and activities are available, from horseback riding while experiencing the culture of the Chagra (the Ecuadorian highland cowboy), trekking around the premises enjoying the magnificent scenery, climbing impressive peaks immersed in an awe-inspiring landscapes, ride a mountain bike through ancient eruptions of Cotopaxi and much more!"

How did you get involved in travel?

"Later on I enrolled on Tierra del Volcan, as a travel guide and tour leader for trekking and horseback riding expeditions on the Cotopaxi area on the central Andes of Ecuador. For over a decade I've been dedicated to Project Direction at Tierra del Volcan, managing community based programs and conservation projects. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Cattle drive in the Andes of Ecuador. Herding thousands of fighting bulls and cows with dozens of Chagras or Andean cowboys. Wearing chaps and ponchos, one can be part of the cowboys without any distinction... well, the expertise of these fearless riders... but still. A feeling of freedom, a feeling of belonging, of immersing myself on a traditional activity that has been held for centuries on the same land. Unique. This is what moves me. This is my highlight. I dream of it every year."

Featured trips & expertise

Horseback Riding in the Ecuadorian Andes

Multi-Adventure in the Ecuadorian Highlands - 3 Days

This multi-activity 3-day trip in the Ecuador Highlands offers adventure by day and high comfort by night. During this trip, you'll hike up a volcano, do a high ropes course, go horseback riding and enjoy a cooking class. Nights will be spent at a cozy and historic hacienda, a short drive from the capital Quito.

Hacienda El Tambo and Antisana Volcano on the backdrop

Cotopaxi Volcano By Horseback - 5 Days

If you love horses and want to experience Ecuador in a unique way, consider this five-day journey to volcano country. On this trip, multiple days are spent in the saddle as you traverse the high plains, stopping off to take in the views or walk amid stands of native trees. Magical nights are spent in the Andes at haciendas, where you'll eat hearty meals and rest up for the next days' journey.

Cotopaxi Volcano

Ecuador Volcano Trek - 6 Days

This 6-Day trekkers delight crosses stunning grasslands dotted with volcanoes in the highlands of Ecuador. Each day will be spent trekking in the open high altitude plains until the final ascent up Cotopaxi volcano. Along the way, we'll spot wildlife, meet Andean cowboys, sleep in tents and overnight in comfortable haciendas.