"The emerald mirror" Top 5 Page for this destination Laguna Quilotoa by toonsarah

Laguna Quilotoa Travel Guide: 62 reviews and 415 photos

Quilotoa is the westernmost of the volcanoes in Ecuador’s Andean range (the country of course has volcanoes further west, on some of the islands in the Galápagos). Its large caldera is an awesome sight, filled with a beautiful deep green lake, which owes its colour to the presence of various minerals that have dissolved in its waters.

We came to Quilotoa with Jose Luiz, on the morning after our overnight stay in the hacienda near Cotopaxi . Having stopped for a while in the market at Pujili, and been held up in road-works, it was late morning when we arrived. Later the day was to get very rainy, even stormy, but for now it was dry but with low cloud. Although I had hoped to see the lake in sunshine, I have to say that the gloomy light made it very atmospheric and brought out the green colours very effectively.

There is a path down to the lake from the viewpoint, but we decided not to walk down – partly because of the weather, partly because of my dodgy knee, and partly because we were later than we’d planned and it became a choice between a walk or lunch! So instead we just took a shorter walk a little way along the path round the rim (the full circuit would take the best part of a day).

We then had lunch in the small community-run café right by the viewpoint, sitting by a cosy log fire. As we ate a thick fog descended, hiding both lake and the houses of the small village just below us from view, so we felt we’d made the right decision not to go down, although the clouds did lift again briefly as we left to give us a final view.

This is one of a number of small pages about a variety of places we visited on our holiday in Ecuador. There is more information about the country as a whole and our experiences there on my overview page, linked above.

To follow our route to and from Quilotoa, and our time there in the order we experienced it, please start with my first tip on nearby Pujili

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  • Last visit to Laguna Quilotoa: Oct 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (4)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Love the mountain scenery and the markets. Love it when communties get together and do things, good on them!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 3, 2013 at 4:14 AM

      I agree. They are fortunate in such a poor area to have a major tourist draw on their doorstep and I think it's only recently that they're learning how to benefit from that. It's great that they work together to share the benefits

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Yes, my kind of place - amazing landscape and charming community projects :-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Fine photos of the lake and the storm clouds gathering!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Laguna Quilotoa is so beautiful! When I visited last time it was very, very windy. I had planned to walk around the crater again but had to cancel it as everyone told me it was too dangerous at the moment.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 31, 2013 at 7:35 AM

      Thank you for visiting my page Malena - and for your help in identifying our lunch location!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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