By Melanie Lieberman
February 11, 2016

Sweeping vistas of Tierra del Volcán, a sliver of Ecuador’s Central Andes flanked by the volcanoes of Cotopaxi National Park, will quickly bring out your inner cowboy. Adventurers interested in horseback riding, mountain trekking, and crisscrossing across the valleys on ziplines can stay in one of three haciendas owned by Jorge Perez and his wife, Maria Jose—people who exemplify the traditional saying mi casa es tu casa.

Imagine yourself alongside GLP Films at one of these working ranches, constructed out of local materials (think: volcanic stone, straw, and typical Andean-style décor) and immersed in the Chagra, or Ecuadorian cowboy culture. Travelers who visit Ecuador’s highlands will be contributing to conservation and crucial education projects, while mountain biking through the world’s highest forests.

The land offers opportunities to commune with nature and learn about the unique cultures of the highlands—you can herd cattle and perfect your lasso skills, or explore ancient Incan ruins. Every itinerary is designed to impress upon tourists the importance of preserving the land and way of life.