Day 6 – Quilotoa
Another early start! We had a great night sleep at La Cienega and left after breakfast. On the way there we crossed the villages of Pujili, Tigua and Zumbahua. On the last one we visited the local market that was quite a display of color and culture. There was the animal trade market on one part, the handicraft market on another part and last some street food vendors screaming their offers to the crowd! We only stopped for a short while here since we already visited the animal and handicraft markets in Otavalo, and headed straight for Quilotoa.
The way there was a bit long again for my taste, but we had the good luck of having clear skies and a perfect view of Cotopaxi and the Ilinizas on our way up. I have to tell you, the road to Quilotoa was pretty bumpy despite the 4wd!
When we arrived to the quiet village of Quilotoa, John and I were in love with this little town! It is a small Andean village that is developing through communitarian tourism and still remains pretty untouched. Most of the villagers work on agriculture but the rest of the town has organized into tourism in a very efficient way.
The crater-lake is absolutely stunning. I would say about 1200 ft down from the viewpoint lies a turquiose water filled lake that reflects the sky like a mirror! Rafael told us that the legend says that a long time ago a god named Quilotoa lived here and had huge fights with the God of the Toachi volcano. Apparently, the Toachi volcano was jealous of Quilotoa because of its huge eruptions, because Toachi could not erupt. Him and all the other volcanoes were jealous for Quilotoa’s mirror-like reflections of the skies.
Here we hiked down to the base of the crater on a small and easy 40 minutes road. After spending a little while in the lake we all hoped into the mules that were going to transport us back up. A nice little adventure on this little treasure of the Andes called Quilotoa.
We then left for Baños, and checked in at Luna Runtun. You have to see this place! It is located on the hills that overlook Baños. This beautiful gardens around your cabin, along with the perfect view of Baños, excellent cuisine and a volcanic spa were the perfect choice for us and our next days.