Quilotoa Recommended

The petite town of Quilotoa at first look appears barren with small clusters of hostels operated by ambitious Ecuadorians, but as one mounts the trail just beyond the avenue of hostels a spectacular expansive emerald lake obliterates any doubts of the quaint village’s beauty. Patches of anamorphic shapes glide across the water, originating from the bulbous billowy clouds above. Laguna Quilotoa is not a ghost town but a community whose economy centers on the bounty activities stemming from the lake. Quilotoa is the highlight destination of the Cotopaxi circuit/loop named after it. The loop begins in Latacunga and travels through the market town of Zumbahua to Quilotoa, and through Sigchos.

Quilotoa is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. The hike around the astounding crater-lake can be accomplished anywhere between 3 to 6 hours, depending on one’s fitness level and the altitude’s impact. Quilotoa is about 2,000ft. higher in elevation than Quito’s 9,348ft! You can hike down to the lake, which is about half an hour, but double that and that is how long it takes to huff it back up the crater, but if you are too tired to trek up, mules can be acquired for around five dollars.

The community heavily depends on tourism for the survival of its economy. The culture of the town is not native to the volcano; the community is based in the valley below the volcano and transplanted itself atop the crater for the purpose of earning income from coveted tourist dollars. For this reason, Quilotoa does not have any noteworthy cultural festivals, as the majority of the culture resides in the valley below the crater. However, a noveau-culture is budding in the form of vibrant paintings and intricate painted masks, whose fame and artistry has reached the shores of Europe.

Places to stay in Quilotoa +
Practical information about Quilotoa +
Getting to and around in Quilotoa +

Map of Quilotoa

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Events in Cotopaxi

Facts and figures Cotopaxi

Borders: 

In the north Cotopaxi borders to Pichincha, west to Los Rios, south to Los Rios and Tungarahua and east to Pastaza and Napo.

Population: 

303,489

Altitude: 

The highest peak is called Cotopaxi, the province is on very high altitude.

Capital: 

Latacunga

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