In Ecuador there are several crater lakes good for hiking, Quilotoa is one of them. This volcano erupted around 600 year ago, leaving a stunning laguna in the middle of it when it collapsed. The hike around it is no joke, speaking from our own experience. At 3800-3900 meter above sea level.
We found a lovely hostel in the nearby town, also called Quilotoa. This hostel offered breakfast en diner included, perfect for during our hiking days. Lots of indigenous people live in the area, mostly making a living of farming, as they have done for many years. Still wearing the traditional clothing and herding sheeps and lamas. Getting to Quilotoa meant a 2 hour bus ride across one of the most beautiful countrysides we had seen till now, climbing mountains over 4.000 meters above sea level!
When we arrived with the bus, it was late afternoon and a dense fog covered the entire lake. Luckily when we woke up the next day the sky was almost clear and the sun made the colour of the water even more blue. After filling our bellies with the complimentary breakfast, we were ready for the hike.
Honestly it was a bit harder than we expected, walking and descending up to 3930 meters for us newbie hikers. However the stunning views were more than rewarding for our hard work. Not only the laguna made it worth, also the mountains surrounding the volcano, made a spectacular view. When we were about three quarters round, the clouds starting to gather, the fog made his way up the mountains and it started raining. slowly Soaking wet we arrived an hour later at our hostel. Tired but satisfied we warmed up by one of the fireplaces in our hostel.
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Next: Cuyabeno National Park