Quilotoa, Photo: Carmen Cristina Carpio T./ Kjell Anders Pettersen

A photo journey of Quilotoa: the crater lake with magnificent vistas!

A photo journey of Quilotoa: the crater lake with magnificent vistas!

Spend a day off the beaten track during your visit to Ecuador! A visit to Quilotoa crater lake, nestled in the heart of the Andes cordillera, is  a really great option. There is no doubt why visitors and tourists from all over the world have ranked Quilota crater lake as the top 1 attraction to visit in the province of Cotopaxi on Tripadvisor.

About Quilotoa

Nestled in the middle of the Ecuadorian Andes, this crater lake is located no more than 3900 meters above sea level. From the main entrance you find a fantastic lookout point.  From here you can admire magnificent views of the gorgeous tones of electric turquoise and dark blue in the water that will render you speechless.

There is a viewpoint of easy access by the start of the hike down. For me, this was the best spot for photography.

instagramIf you visit Quilotoa I would love to see your pictures.

About the hike: (Level medium to high)

Most people make the hike down in 45 min in order to enjoy even more amazing scenery from below, in our case we were pretty affected by altitude so it took us twice as much time. The trail is not completely flat, actually it is rather fair to say that it is steep. This made hiking it a bit more challenging on the way down.

The road to the lake

At the edge of the lake there are kayaks and also boats available for water sports. The hike back up takes approx. 2 hours.  But there is a fun alternative, it is possible to rent horses that will take you up,  taking you up in approximately 40 minutes.

In conclusion,  if you are looking for a good hike, some exercise and postcard views all along the way, this is definitely the place for you!


How to get there without a car

The best way to get there, is of course by car, but it is also possible to take 2 buses and that will make it pretty affordable. Prices of buses in Ecuador and in general in South America are rather cheap.  If you are in Quito, first of all you need to first take a bus to Latacunga, and from there take a second bus to Quilotoa that will take around 2 hours and will be no more than 5 USD (the last bus)

Find out how to get there by car

Furthermore, if you are driving,  you first need to drive for a total of 4 hours from Quito through the South-Panamerican highway. Most of the road is paved, but there are still some 45 km left of work, just before the access to the lake. The other option is to take a taxi from any of these cities to the lake. Read more in depth details of the trip and transportation

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What to bring

Sunrays hit strong in the Andes cordillera, and especially in Ecuador. Therefore, I highly recommend that you wear a hat, sombrero and also sunglasses for sun protection. In addition, bring some gloves for the cold wind Due the height of the area, above 3,000 meters, there are strong winds which give greater feeling of cold.

Do you have some special memories or questions about this hike? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

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If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, it is a great source of information and tips, maps and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. I personally like the option of having a hard copy version where I can take notes and have at hand.

 

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