Another one of the awesome day trips I did from Quito was a day trip to the crater lake Quillotoa. After being impressed with Gulliver’s travels day trip to cotopaxi national park, including bike riding and a climb to the glaciers. I decided to go with them again to Quillotoa lake.
Note: There are many different tour operators in Quito that offer similar tours such as these so it might be worth looking around to find the best deal.
So I woke up at the crack of dawn (6am) and headed off to the bus pickup point for a 7am pickup, However this trip I was not alone as Rosie who accompanied me on my Mindo adventure was also along for the journey.
So after a free coffee we all boarded the shuttle bus and were off to our first destination of the tour, The small town of Latacunga located just an hour and a half south of Quito. Upon arriving we were given 30 minutes to check out the local market and to grab some breakfast.
The markets themselves weren’t very exciting as they were mostly selling produce and after having already visited the Octavalo animal and handicraft markets just a week prior it was a little underwhelming.
It was a bit of a rush but Rosie and I managed to have a quick look through the market and grab some awesome breakfast of egg’s, potato,rice etc before rushing back to meet re-board the shuttle bus.
We headed off on a scenic one hour drive to the crater lake of Quillotoa.
Upon arriving at Quillotoa we went to the look out and got to take some awesome shots of the lake, Unfortunately for me as I did not have a wide angle lens I was never able to take a photo that got the whole lake in 🙁 (Noooooo!)
After taking in the view from the top of the crater we began the 30 minute hike down to the lake.
There are many locals at the top and bottom of the crater with donkey’s and horses that will give you a ride down to the bottom of the crater lake and back up again for $5 USD each way.
However both Rosie and I didn’t want to take the easy way out (And we are both cheap so wanted to save money) so we decided to walk down ourselves
After reaching the bottom of the crater we caught our breath took some more pictures and decided to rent a kayak and and get a bit closer to the lake.
We then were confronted with the seemingly colossal task of hiking up the 400m high crater lake path to get back to the top. This took us about an hr and a half and every few minutes we would see some other tourist kicking back on top of a donkey making their way to the top in comfort. We almost caved on multiple occasions and just got a ride up.
But we held strong and finally made it to the top (Victory!)
We then had a provided lunch in one of the little restauraunts, had a look at some locally made handicrafts in a nearby market hall before making our 2 hour long return back to Quito.
All in all it was an interesting day. But by the end it felt like we spent more time on the bus than we did actually seeing the sites. If I was to do it again I would probably just get a bus there myself and stay at one of the many hostels located around the crater lake. There is a trip called the Quillotoa loop that a lot of travellers do where they trek around the crater lake stopping at various small villages and hostels for the night.