Dumbstruck

Quilotoa Travel Blog

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After we passed through the town of Latacunga (pretty ordinary looking) we started making our way round the famous "Quilotoa Loop", which is a stunning road that passes through indigenous villages, round mountains, hills and streams and up towards Volcan Quilotoa.  Its believed that at one time Quilotoa could have been the biggest of all the volcanos in Ecuador (that honour is now held by the 6100m+ Volcan Chimborazo) but the last eruption (apx 1280) was so powerful that the top exploded and collapsed, meaning the glacial ice melted.  This formed what is now the jaw-droppingly stunning Quilotoa crater lake. 

We arrived at the lake about 4pm and checked in the little indenious house that we were staying at.

Absolutely stunning....
  They had reovated the rooms at the back of the property for tourists. so it was really quite nice.  We had a stove in the room for heating, because as soon as the sun went down, it was pretty bloody cold (its at about 4000m elevation here).  We got our first glmipse of the awesome sight just before sunset and the four of us just stared, slightly sumbfounded for a few minutes.  Its difficult to describe the feeling really - my senses struggled to take it all in in one go, but its just a beautiful, beautiful place.  We walked a short way round the crater top for different views (it is possible to hike all the way round in about 6 hours) and got some great shots as the sun went down and the colours and aura of the place changed minute by minute.

The chill set in, so we headed back to the house for dinner - a typical Ecuadorian almuerzo with soup to start and then rice, beans and meat.

  Not bad, and we shared the only remaining beer they had between us (no chance of a big night out here!).  It brought to an end a fantastic day and one that will live long in the memory without a doubt.

DAY TWO

We got up early at 6am for the sunrise the next day, but disappointingly it was cloudy, so the views were not great.  You cant win ´em all as they say.  Breakfast was pretty basic, but we were quite excited at the prospect of walking down into the crater and so we set off down the trail.  Its pretty sandy most of the way and we thought then coming back up wouldn´t be quite as easy!  It was great to be down the bottom at the lake edge, seeing the water bubble away (minerals etc, not heat).  Walking back up was pretty tough as I reckon its about 1-2 km and all uphill (obviously!) - so we were knackered when we finished and then had the prospect of getting straight on the bikes afterwards.

We even walked down the crater...boy, was that a tough walk back up though!
  Lucikly, Alberto took pity and let us rest us for half hour or so and then we set off back down the Quilotoa Loop on our bikes.  It was mainly downhill and again, it was serene all around and I felt lucky to be experiencing it all really.  Back in the 4x4 to get to the lunch spot near the waterfall and then back on the bikes for the final couple of hours to get back to Latacunga - all downhill and really fun (tarmac roads, so we could get some good speed going on). 

We decided not to return to Quito with Alberto - we brought our backpacks with us and as we were all heading south, Alberto dropped us off at the bus stop in Latacunga so we could get the 2 hour bus to Banos ($2)....and have a little kip on the way to rest our weary bodies....zzzzz

sylviandavid says:
Well written... sounds like a great time...
Posted on: Oct 02, 2009
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Absolutely stunning....
Absolutely stunning....
We even walked down the crater...b…
We even walked down the crater...…
The Quilotoa locals
The Quilotoa locals
Lunch spot...
Lunch spot...
Quilotoa
photo by: xander_van_hoof