If you’re done visiting the main attractions of Quito, such as the historical center and its churches or the Panecillo, you might want to head out for short 1-day adventures departing from the capital. Indeed, Quito is surrounded with various volcanoes and is close to the Amazon jungle, making it the perfect starting point for short trips or adventures away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
So, here are our top 5 one-day trip suggestions:
The beautiful water-filled crater lake of Quilotoa is 3-4 hours south of Quito. Don’t get discouraged by the long ride to get there, because the landscape on the way is truly amazing. On the highway you will pass some of Ecuador’s most famous volcanoes, such as Cotopaxi or the Illinizas, and will get the chance to stop at many beautiful view points! Until you finally reach Quilotoa Lake, where you can either walk around the rim of the crater, or undertake the descent to the lake and rent a canoe, to have this unique experience of paddling in a water-filled crater!
Are you up for an active day trip to the Cotopaxi volcano? At 5,897-meter (19,347-foot), it is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Whether hiking, horse riding or even biking, it is the perfect place to get closer to the beautiful Andean landscape of Ecuador.
OTAVALO MARKET & CUICOCHA LAKE
At around 2-hours north of Quito, stands the town of Otavalo, famously known for its great artesanal market, one of the largest in South America. You can be sure to find the perfect souvenir to bring back home from your trip to Ecuador! Once you’re done shopping, you can head to Cuicocha Lake, a beautiful lake located in a volcano crater which contains 2 green islands. In this region, you will also get the chance to taste the famous bizcochos, some local biscuits that are sold almost everywhere on the way to Otavalo.
PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS
Papallacta Hot Springs is a great place to visit if you want to spend a quiet day away from the capital city. The Papallacta Lagoon, located in the Amazon Jungle about 1h30 from Quito, will provide you with a fantastic anti-stress setting. There, you can unwind in the warm pools or indulge in massages and aromatherapy treatments.
MINDO CLOUD FOREST
All types of travelers and adventurers are drawn to Mindo’s cloud forest because of its magnificent sceneries and abundant flora and wildlife. Being located between a high-altitude zone and the rainforest at 2 hours from Quito, Mindo’s biodiversity is considerable: a large number of species of birds, orchids or butterflies can be found in this environment, as well as the famous hummingbird. Other than birdwatching, you can also enjoy ziplining, visit some waterfalls or a chocolate factory!
We hope this article helped you get ready for your next one-day adventure away from Quito!
Check out all of our day trips here!
Written by Lucille Thorel–Delille