Lake Quilotoa is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador! Whether you’re looking to hike the crater rim, or simply marvel at the greenish hue of the water, we think Lake Quilotoa is one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador.
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. Although we had researched Ecuador tourist attractions, we admit that we had not heard of this lake. We trusted Max though, and knew it would be worth the drive. Damn. It was totally worth the drive!
First of all, the drive itself was really nice. We kept seeing lush green mountains and farm land and we could not stop staring out of the car window. We even asked Max to pull over a few times because we 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 our absolute pleasure, we encountered our first llama of the trip! Although we would soon see and touch more llamas in Machu Picchu, this little cutie was our 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 Lake Quilotoa, and 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.
Lake Quilotoa Crater Hike
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.
A few tips for visiting Lake Quilotoa:
- – Wear comfortable sneakers. Some of the path is made of stone but most of it is dirt.
- – Dress in layers. It was very windy when we were there which made it chilly. Since we warm up pretty quickly, after walking for a bit we were ready to take off our sweaters.
- – Take a bottle of water. After all the walking, you’re going to want something to drink.
- – Watch your step. A few people walked past us on horses. Needless to say, there was poop on the trail.
- – Make sure you take your camera. We can’t tell you enough how amazing and beautiful this lake is.
If you’re in Ecuador, Lake Quilotoa really is a must-see. If you’re backpacking Ecuador, we think you’d really enjoy the Lake Quilotoa crater hike. Or if you’re just looking for some Ecuador attractions that are outside of Quito, this is a great option as well. Either way, Lake Quilotoa is absolutely gorgeous and we’re so glad that we went. We really do think it’s one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
Have you been to Lake Quilotoa? What did you think of it? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂
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