The Quilotoa Lake is a water-filled crater lake located around 3 hours from Quito, a perfect destination for a day tour to escape the capital city and get a taste of the Andes!
I decided to join a group tour so as to get the most out of the trip without worrying about anything! Our little group left Quito at around 7 in the morning and our guide, Daniel, explained to us everything we would be doing during the day. The clear sky and good weather put us all in a very good mood from the start as it promised to give us a lot of wonderful views.
Soon after departing from Quito we were already able to stop a few times to admire the beautiful landscape and the view of some of the volcanoes surrounding Quito. The more we drove away from Quito, the larger the Cotopaxi volcano became; it was the first time I’d seen it up close, and it was a stunning sight!
We then stopped at an indigenous house where we got to discover more about the indigenous way of life and then visited a traditional mask-making place where we also met an alpaca. After taking a lot of pictures with our cute fluffy friend, we went back on the road!
Next stop: the Toachi River Canyon! We got an impressive view of the canyon and even got to fly through the air on a swing at the precipice’s edge. That was breathtaking!
Going up higher and higher between the mountains, the view just kept getting better, until we finally arrived at our destination at 3,900 meters of altitude.
Time for the grand reveal! After buying some locally made chocolate for energy and walking up a few stairs, we got to the mirador platform and were amazed by the great view on Quilotoa Lake. It looked even better in real life than in the pictures!
We then started a 45-min walk around the rim of the crater to reach the second mirador. I was a bit scared at first at the idea of hiking at such a high altitude, but our guide really did a good job preparing us, giving us tips on breathing and we made sure to have regular breaks to enjoy the view and catch our breath. The amazing view along the way made this short hike totally worth it and I felt proud of my achievement by the end of the walk!
Overall, if you are staying in Quito and feel like you’ve already seen everything there is to see in the city and are looking for more: don’t hesitate and join a day tour to Quilotoa. What made this day memorable was all the places we stopped on the way. We didn’t just go to Quilotoa Lake, we took time to experience the beauties of the landscapes leading to it and got to learn more about Ecuadorian culture as well!