Quilotoa Travel Blog› entry 8 of 26 › view all entries
Today we took a truck to Laguna Quilotoa. The drive isn't very far but the roads aren't great so it takes a bit more than an hour.
Laguna Quilotoa is a crater lake situated at about 12,500 ft above sea level. The view of the lake from the crater rim is amazing. Rachel and I hired a guide, Luis, to hike us from the lake to the Black Sheep Inn. Luis was very patient with us and stopped occasionally to show us the local flora. Luis doesn't speak english so our conversations involved him speaking very slowly and simply with lots of gestures so that I could understand. We saw eucalyptus (non-native), pine trees (non-native) and a lot of different crops including corn and potatoes. The locals also have a variety of lupine that they grow for the edible beans.
After leaving the crater rim, you quickly lose ~3,000ft of elevation on a steep, sandy trail that goes *straight* down the side of the mountain. Along the way, we stopped to eat lunch on the edge of a platuea with amazing views of the river canyon. The day was pretty clear and we had no rain along the way (the first day with no rain since we've been here).
After a couple of hours of hiking down, we crossed the river and climbed back out of the canyon to the Black Sheep Inn. The climb involved ~1,000ft of elevation gain; breath taking! We made the hike in 3.5 hours; the average is 4-6. The guide said we were very good hikers!
We were very tired when we got back and so we just rested the rest of the day.