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Trekking the Quilotoa loop

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“It has the appearance of a Caribbean island, but embedded in the middle of the Andes. Its color change your look will capture and with its attractions your heart will be stolen”
Quilotoa surprises more than one. From the viewpoint, located 4,000 meters above sea level, you can see the lagoon formed in the crater of a volcano. Water, due to minerals, has different shades: green, turquoise, blue.
The natives, crafts, flora, fauna, constructions, climate, gastronomy and geography make this Andean tourist attraction one of the most sought after by national and international tourism. The route to Quilotoa is also part of the tourist attraction, as it zigzags through the Andes and enters the Andean moor.
The Quilotoa is a western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes, within its crater a caldera with a diameter of almost 9 km has been formed. This is the product of the collapse of the volcano, it happened about 800 years ago. According to studies, the volcanic flow reached the Pacific Ocean.
quilotoa
Legend of Quilotoa Lagoon
Thousands of years ago, where today is the crater there was a desert and infertile plain. To that surface descended an Andean god named Quilotoa, who was considered the king of the eruptions of all the volcanoes in the world.
The plain was the space preferred by the deity to fiddle with fire, an element that emerged from his hands. One day, water inexplicably began to sprout on the surface, to the surprise of Quilotoa.
As the place filled with liquid, the surface slowly sank, forming a kind of boiler. At that time Toachi appears, another deity of the Andean imaginary and a fierce and prolonged war began.
As the place filled with liquid, the surface slowly sank, forming a kind of boiler. At that moment Toachi appears, another deity, who became enraged with jealousy, since the waters of the lagoon reflected the color of the sky, and a fierce and prolonged war began.
In the fight the gods threw incandescent balls and whirlpools of water, this brought terrible consequences to neighboring towns and therefore the rocks surrounding the crater.

What to consider before traveling to Quilotoa? It is important to take advantage of daylight to admire the lagoon from either the Shalalá or Quilotoa viewpoints. In addition, if you are going to descend towards the lagoon it is better to do it early so that you can climb with tranquility and without any hurry. It is also important to take into account that in Ecuador the sun's rays arrive perpendicular to the earth's surface, hence sunstroke and sunburn should be prevented by avoiding the midday sun, making use of hats or caps and sunscreen. The wind in the páramo could be strong so we suggest dressing well with sweaters, scarves, gloves and caps, essential elements for the trip.

What to do? It is possible to make short and long walks around the crater of the volcano, descend to the border of the lagoon, horse ride or go kayaking through its waters. The sector is ideal for camping and for the practice of astrography. Approximately 45 minutes from the main access control, there is a viewpoint built with wood and glass, which allows you to rest while watching the turquoise green waters. You can also immerse yourself a little more in the culture of the place, thanks to the natives who make handicrafts such as ponchos, coats, hats and masks representing the Devil Huma, the inhabitants of the area offer a variety of products: coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, fried foods and their local gastronomy like “choclos” with cheese and beans, “cuy” with potatoes, fried pork.

Ready to hike the Quilotoa Loop? 
  • Don't forget to constantly hydrate yourself during the hike.
  • Do not miss the opportunity to photograph the fantastic Quilotoa lagoon and its incredible turquoise waters, for this purpose, it is essential that you take your camera or cell phone with you.
If you want to see this and some other magical places that Ecuador offers,
Ecuador Trekking the Avenue of Volcanoes
, an 8-day trip, is your best option. If you don´t have enough time, don´t worry! There is a 
one-day trip to the lagoon
The Quilotoa Loop is an exceptional adventure of exploration and discovery, boasting pristine landscapes, magnificent wildlife. You can’t miss the chance to see Ecuador from a different angle. Getting to know the locals, their customs and the traditions that keep these villages alive, is a truly amazing opportunity and one of the most fabulous attractions the county has to offer.


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