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Altitude: 3,914 meters (12,840 ft) Phone code: 03

Just off the Quilotoa loop road about 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) north of Zumbahua lies the tiny, windswept village of Quilotoa, and the mysterious emerald waters of its illustrious volcanic crater lake. Steep cliffs of the caldera's walls drop 400 meters (1312 ft) down from a fully encircling rim to meet the massive reflective pool below. The opaque-green of the lake paired with the distant snow capped peaks of Iliniza Sur and Cotopaxi create a truly awe-inspiring scene.

A single stretch of dirt road and the scattering of houses and tiny businesses that line it make up the small village of Quilotoa, which lies just before the crater lake and seems to only exist in response to tourism. There are several basic hostels that also serve as restaurants, and a few stores, but not much else.

Quilotoa is a good place to find local indigenous art, especially paintings in the famous Tigua style. There are a few shops where artists sell their work. If the doors are locked, ask around and someone will likely come let you in. You'll also find traditional woven goods and crafts sold in a small row of artisan stalls, by the top of the steps that lead down to the lake.

Be aware that Quilotoa is cold (and feels even colder due to the strong wind). Nights can be very cold at 3850 meters (12600 ft) high, and some simple accommodations may not be sufficiently equipped to keep you warm; bring adequate clothing.

Note that are no services to speak of in Quilotoa, including no Internet or phone cabins. Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of cash with you.


Other places nearby Quilotoa: Zumbahua, Chugchilán, Saquisilí, Pujili, Sigchos, Tigua and Isinliví.

12 Sep 2012

Things to do in Quilotoa

Hiking From Quilotoa To Chugchilán

This 12 kilometer (7.5 mi) mile trek is one of the most astonishingly beautiful day hikes in Ecuador. Depending on fitness levels, the hike takes between four to five hours, passing by Quilotoa’s ...
Quilotoa, Ecuador
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