Sometimes something that wasn’t even on your travel radar end ups being one of your favorite experiences. For us, Lake Quilotoa will always be a cherished memory. It’s stunning beauty left us breathless and amazed.
Less than 3 hours away from Baños is the small town of Quilotoa. Our friend Max, who we stayed with for a few days while visiting Ecuador, suggested we drive out to see the lake there. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of this lake but I trusted Max and knew it would be worth the drive. Damn. It was totally worth the drive!
First of all, the drive itself was really nice. Do you like lush green mountains and farm land? I couldn’t stop staring out of the car window. I even asked Max to pull over because I couldn’t get enough.
Then we arrived in town and parked in a small parking lot. After we paid the $2 a person entry fee at a small booth, we started walking towards the lake. To my absolute pleasure, I encountered my first llama of the trip! Although I would soon see and touch more llamas in Machu Picchu, this little cutie was my first so he’ll always be special.
After the llama encounter, we continued to walk down and up the path towards the lake.
And then we saw it. We actually gasped.
All I kept thinking was, “Mother nature is fucking crazy.”
You see, Lake Quilotoa isn’t just a lake. It’s a lake, inside a crater, inside a volcano. *mind blown*
As we continued along the walkway, the sun kept coming out from behind the clouds which added to the experience because it changed the color of the water from a blue tint to an almost emerald tint. They say there are minerals in the water, which cause the greenish hue.
There is a path that you can hike to go down to the edge of the water. You can also walk around the entire rim of the crater which is just over 3 kilometers. If you choose to hike down to the water and don’t feel like hiking back up (it’s pretty steep in some areas), there is a small hostel on the waters edge. Because we had plans to also visit the Swing at the End of the World later that day, we only hiked down for about 20 minutes before making our way back up.
If you’re in Ecuador, Lake Quilotoa is a must-see. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m so glad that we went.
A few tips:
A big thank you to Max for taking us to Quilotoa and answering all my questions about it!!
Have you been to Lake Quilotoa? What did you think of it?