The Quilotoa Loop is one of the best Ecuador attractions if you’re looking for an adventurous vacation, as it offers all the hiking, scenic vistas, and Andean villages your heart could desire all in one trip. If you want to visit Quilotoa Ecuador, be prepared for a rustic trip. Dirt roads, lack of transportation, and changing weather conditions will all be challenges during this excursion. However, as with any struggle, the rewards are worth the extra effort. Here you will be rewarded by seeing the famous Ecuador crater lake, meeting local indigenous people, and maybe even the chance to do some authentic shopping.
If you’re planning on embarking on the Quilotoa Loop, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it is essential to be well prepared. This means that you will need all the right equipment, from hiking boots to rain gear to layers of clothes to a water bottle. It is very possible to get stuck outdoors in storms or be waiting lengthy periods of time for transportation, so be sure to prepare ahead of time. Carry a small medical kit, bring bug spray, and don’t forget your sunscreen. A hat and sunglasses might also make the journey more enjoyable. Once you gaze down into the Ecuador Crater Lake, you will forget about any obstacles you overcame to reach this location.
One of the country’s most exhilarating excursions, a trip exploring Quilotoa Ecuador can easily take a few days. The villages along the loop have affordable—but very basic—accommodation where you can rest up for the night. These villages and guesthouses will offer the opportunity to meet both like-minded travelers and locals. Learn a few words of Spanish, or better yet the local language of Quichua, to encourage the local people to open up to you. There are many villages along the loop where you could spend a night or two, but the top choices include Chugchilan, Latacunga, or Tigua.
The best part of the Quilotoa Loop is undoubtedly seeing the Ecuador crater lake. This impressive crater lake is 820 feet deep and has a distinct greenish color. This attraction has grown in popularity in recent years, and there is now a fee of two dollars to look down over the lip of the crater into the lake. If you want to get to know the crater lake even better, sign up for one of the five-hour lakes around the lake, or an hour hike (half hour down, half hour back up) to see the crater lake from all angles. Serious outdoor enthusiasts might want to do some camping here as well, there is a campsite at the bottom of the crater. Alternatively, there are many hostels located nearby.
As Quilotoa Ecuador becomes more and more popular with travelers, there have become alternative ways to see the spectacular crater. It is no longer essential to hike the entire loop to gaze over the lip of this crater. Hired tour buses from a nearby town, Zumbahua in the south, can arrange for you to see this site without all the hiking. However, if you have the time, nothing will beat hiking the loop, staying in the local Andean villages, and getting the chance to talk to local people. For a truly authentic trip, take this opportunity to step off the tourist grid and learn a little about local traditions and customs.