"Quilotoa and Laguna Quilotoa" Top 5 Page for this destination Laguna Quilotoa by MalenaN

Laguna Quilotoa Travel Guide: 62 reviews and 415 photos

Quilotoa is a small village by the beautiful volcanic crater lake Laguna Quilotoa. The village is situated high in the Andes at an altitude of 3900 metres. Many tourists come here to see the crater lake and for the good hiking possibilities. So, in the village, even if it is small with only 150 inhabitants, there are several places for accommodation, restaurants and a few small stores. Because of the altitude it can be very cold, especially during the night. The village is also very exposed and it ca be windy. I heard that the days before I came it had been very, very windy, but luckily it wasn’t when I visited.

In the village you can stand on the rim of the crater and watch the stunning view over the lagoon with its steep surrounding cliffs. The walls of the caldera drops 400 metres down to the lake and across the diameter of the caldera is about 3km. The colour of the lake changes depending on how cloudy it is but the colour is often greenish and that is because of high content of dissolved minerals. It is still an active volcano, but it has passed over 850 years since the last eruption. You can at some places see bubbles in the lake coming from fumaroles.

Many people only visit Quilotoa on an organised daytrip from Latacunga, Baños, Quito or another city. Some people arrive by bus from Latacunga, but on weekdays there is only one bus a day in both directions. On Sundays there are three buses though. You can also take a pick-up truck from Zumbahua or Chugchilan. Others arrive by foot like me. I hiked from Chugchilan to Quilotoa and also when I left Quilotoa I did it by foot and hiked to Tigua. I stayed two nights in Quilotoa which I think is good because it gave me time to both hike down the crater and one day around it. The hikes were all beautiful!
Update 2012: I visited Quilotoa in July 2011 and then again in July 2012. When I visited in 2012 it was very windy and cold. There was no electricity, which in Quilotoa also meant no water, so unfortunately no hot showers (nor cold). I had planned to stay for two nights but because of the strong wind it was too dangerous to walk around the crater rim this year, so I hiked back to Chugchilán after one night instead.

  • Last visit to Laguna Quilotoa: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (13)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Absolutely outstanding photos of your hike here. Interesting to read about your adventures with the dogs and in the accommodation without electricity.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Apr 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      It is a lovely area to hike in! Well, except for the dogs of course, but if one sticks to the trail mostly used there shouldn't be a problem.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Yes, your climbing up the vulcan Quilotoa had a very good result - breathtaking views! Pity that the water in the lake was alkaline and you couldn't neither take a swim nor even rent a kayak...

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Mar 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Yes, the views are stunning at the crater. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't hike around the crater the second time I visited, which I had done the first time. It was absolutely too windy.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    What a beautiful laguna!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 17, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      Thank you for visiting Santi! Quilotoa is a lovely place, but unfortunately it was too windy during my last visit.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    Another lovely page and more fantastic scenery!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    What fantastic scenery around here! It even looks good in the fog - quite moody and mysterious :-) Great travelogues too - I liked your photos of the local people in Quilotoa, and of the scenery on your hike to the village - oh, and the alpacas (?) down in the crater!

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Awesome intro photo!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Laguna Quilotoa looks beautiful! It somehow reminds me of Laguna de Apoyo. The country seems to have no shortage of hiking opportunities and the landscapes you captured in your pictures are absolutely stunning!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    The main pic overlooking the Lake is absolutely breathtaking. Looks like you did a lot of walking Malena. and you picked a lovely hostel too.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Great stories of your hikes and your problems with finding the way. The photos are marvellous!

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Feb 15, 2013 at 7:34 AM

      Brilliant photos on your new and updated tips! I always enjoy reading about your hikes and travels in these remote places.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 15, 2013 at 8:03 AM

      Thank you for visiting Don! It is a beautiful area but unfortunately too windy the second time I visited.

  • vichatherly's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Fabulous pages. Scary but exciting to do the hikes on your own!

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