One of the highlights for mountain lovers in Ecuador is for sure the Quilotoa Loop. So, if you happen to be one of these people, and you’re wondering about how to enjoy the best Quilotoa day [...]
Some 3,800 metres above sea level, this ancient route from the Panamericana highway deep into the hinterlands of Cotopaxi province takes in indigenous communities and markets, a stunning 3km-wide turquoise lake, and beautiful volcanic scenery along an inspiring hike. It’s a windswept, peaceful experience that encourages you to connect with nature amid spectacular landscapes.
What to do in Quilotoa
- Trek the entire Quilotoa Loop over three to four days, staying in local hostels or camping
- Hike the rim of the lake in around six hours
- Descend to the water’s edge to camp and kayak
- Invest in beautiful Andean art from the Tigua painting community
- See the lake from a stunning lookout point in the Shalalá community
Eating and drinking
In the chilly highlands it’s all about hearty soups, cheesy corn-on-the cob and broad beans grilled by locals. You might even find a guinea pig or two. The less adventurous can tuck into llapingachos, moreish sweet potato cakes that are famous in the region, and fried pork fritadas.
Quilotoa is windy – seriously windy. So bring a decent jacket and, if you have long hair, something to tie your locks back with. The bluster calms in the Shalalá community, a lovely lakeside place to visit, a gentle 20-minute hike away – perfect for a morning or day trip if you don’t want to hike the whole circuit. You won’t find any mobile phone reception and Wi-Fi is rare – make sure you’ve got all your communications in order before your visit.