Laguna Quilotoa is a must-see when visiting Ecuador.
Entrance fee: $2/person
Visitors to the Laguna have a few options of things to do. You can hike down to the Laguna itself for an up-close view of the strikingly turquoise water, kayak on the laguna and either hike back up or ride a horse for around $10.00.
The more adventurous can hike the rim of this volcanic lagoon. Elevation reaches up to approximately 13,000 so be sure you've been acclimated before attempting this hike. Most can finish in 5 hours. Trails are well-worn and easy to follow. A few side trails can give hikers the option to take an easier route. The trail is for the most part easy and not very technical. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks if you aren't accustomed to the altitude. Start your hike no later than 7:30am. Clouds and rain usually come in mid afternoon making visibility poor and temperatures quite cold. The trail is for the most part sandy which makes hiking the trail very easy after a rainy night.
The ultimate adventure would be to hike the "Quilotoa Loop" which starts in the town of Sigchos or the crater itself. This hike takes 3-4 days.
The "town" of Quilotoa is primarily hostels. Prices vary but most hostels cost around $10/night with dinner and breakfast at an additional cost.
Most visitors will only need 1-2 nights in Quilotoa.
From Quito take a bus to Latacunga from Terminal Quitumbe (2 hours). From Latacunga you can catch a bus from Cooperativa Vivero that either goes to Zumbahua or Quilotoa itself. Buses do not frequently go to Quilotoa, buses to Zumbahua leave approximately every 20 minutes. The ride to Zumbahua is about 1.5 hours. If you take the bus to Zumbahua simply grab a "camioneta" to Quilotoa (around $3-5/person).
Quilotoa is very cold at night so wear layers. It can also be quite rainy so bring a rain jacket. Also, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen on exposed skin while hiking.
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