Quilotoa lagoon

Quilotoa, turquoise paradise: Mysticism, activities, and recommendations

Have you ever felt that tiny call in the back of your head, coming from your surroundings, or perhaps the environment that whispers in your ear, and calls you to leave the monotonous life and find yourself in a place, away from society, a place that gives you peace? Well, if you ever thought that that little adventurous voice was asking for too much. Let us tell you, listen to that voice, because finding a peaceful place, travelling to a beautiful and calming destination is possible, that place is one of the most beautiful places in the world and it is called “the Quilotoa lagoon”

The Quilotoa Lagoon is a Natural attraction located 15 km from Zumbahua, inside the Ilinizas Reserve. Putting it into context, if you are staying in Quito, Quilotoa is only a 3 hour ride away. This beautiful lagoon is known for its icy winds and beautiful scenery. As you might see in this picture here, or probably in others photographers´pictures, the beautiful lagoon is such a stunning place. The beautiful blue water that astonishes all travelers, both internationals and locals, is actually a basin formed by the crater of Quilotoa, an inactive volcano, and it is the one in charge of collecting the beautiful turquoise waters. In fact, this surreal turquoise and clear blue color can be witnessed due to a natural process found within its geology, that is the accumulation of sulphur in the land.

In addition, as if the beautiful scenery was not enouh, Quilotoa is a wonderful place full of fabulous activities that you can do around this beautiful lagoon.

Beauty and Mysticism

Let´s take a short trip back in time, back to the Inca time to be precise. Many treasure hunters and researchers believe that this mysterious place is the last resting place of one of the most important Incas in the history of pre-Hispanic culture in Ecuador; the Inca Atahualpa. This is because it is believed that the last sacred route of the Incas passed through this exact place. Don´t tell us, we know, this Andean jewel amazes international and national tourists without a doubt!

Talking about legends, one of the most striking legends told about the lagoon focuses on the story about a young local girl who liked to visit the slopes of the lagoon. One day, she met a young man who could transform into a condor, (yeah, a condor, not a wolf, a condor!), and over time the two fell madly in love. As time went by, the girl’s parents found out that she was having an affair with this boy and forbade her to see him again, but her love she had towards him was stronger. To strengthen their bond, they made an invocation to the Pacha Mama (which stands for Mother Earth), who listened to their pleas and upon seeing that their love was true, she gave the young woman the power to become a condor as well. Ever since then, it is said that it is possible to see these condors soaring together in the sky between Cotopaxi and Quilotoa. Many claim to have seen them, and if you are curious it is certainly a good reason to visit this magical place.

Quilotoa lagoon

Activities to do

1) Take a hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most popular activities and we could not be mad about it! It is a wonderful activity that allows you to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the majestic crater. It consists of walking approximately 2 kilometers down and around the crater. It is advisable to have an optimal physical condition since the ascent requires it. Remember, after all, this hike does take place at a very high altitude. However, if hiking is not simply on your plans for the day and you would like to rest your legs a bit while also grasping the whole experience, you can rent a mule, both on the way up and on the way down.

2) Visit the viewpoint of Shalalá and Quilotoa

As its name suggests, the viewpoint is located in the community of Shalalá, a local community that lives in this region. The viewpoint itself has a structure consisting of a transparent glass that allows you to observe the enchanting surroundings of the Quilotoa Lagoon. Perfect to take wonderful selfies, videos, vlongs and what not! Moreover, there is also the viewpoint of the Quilotoa community, which also has amazing views.

3) You can go kayaking in the lagoon

Yes, you read it right! You can actually kayak in the lagoon. On the shore of the Quilotoa lagoon, it is possible to rent a boat so you can navigate on its turquoise waters. It does not require great knowledge, so you do not have to worry. We recommend you to wear comfy and cozy clothing because sometimes the wind currents in the crater may be strong.

4) Camping in Quilotoa

Imagine sleeping on the shores of Quilotoa and listening to the soft cooing of the waters crashing against the edge. It is undoubtedly one of the fantastic experiences that Quilotoa offers you. To make your stay one of the best, you should bring the necessary items such as a good tent, bottled water, appropriate clothing, and for safety, a first aid kit, as any good adventurer should! At night, the temperature usually drops considerably, so it is necessary to bring thermic blankets and warm clothing. Finally, don’t forget to take your garbage with you.

One-day tour

Now, we know, so many activities and offers! That is why, we at Latin Trails are specialists that can ensure you one of the best experiences of Quilotoa. To make your experience even more pleasant, with the best service and comfort, we recommend you to take the Latin Trails Quilotoa itinerary. This itinerary has been specially made for adventurers, explorers, family, solo travellers, and pretty much any traveler willing to explore Ecuador and this beautiful lagoon.

Some of the activities will be touring the indigenous villages, one of them is Zumbahua, where you will have the opportunity to learn about their traditions, including painting and weaving.

In addition, you will take a walk along the edge of the lake, which is rarely crowded, enjoy a well-deserved lunch and then visit the town of Insilly. And of course, we will take you to the best spots!

Finally, you may ask, how can you get there?

In general, bus transportation is commonly used. These leave from Latacunga and go to Pujilí and Zumbahua. The arrival time to the viewpoint is one hour. With Latin Trails itinerary, we would arrange the transportation to make your experience more comfortable and of course, our expert guides will be more than happy to share with you more precious knowledge about this destination!

As for clothing, we recommend:

  • Wear comfortable trekking shoes
  • Wear a sweater and comfortable pants.
  • Bring a bottle of water
  • Camera to capture the beautiful moments.

If you have decided to visit this natural wonder, you will not regret it.

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