We arrived in Quilatoa late so there was just time to get the wood burner going and have dinner. The hostel was lovely and the heater was very welcome at 3,914m above sea level, it gets below 0°c overnight!
Quilatoa is a nice little town (of which we have no photos) but people visit for one reason only, a massive lake (or caldera, a large cauldron-like hollow that forms following the evacuation of a magma chamber/reservoir) on top of a volcano.
We woke up bright and early, had breakfast, didn’t shower (water is very temperamental in Quilatoa) and once again donned our finest adventure clothing
As mentioned previously, Quilatoa is high, very high, but the lake is quite a bit lower (280m deep, via a 1km walk) so the descent was pretty easy, and we stopped loads to take photos. It’s a stunning place and was a beautiful day! Every angle gives an exciting new perspective and every movement in the clouds shows off a new formation of shadows in the water. We took a lot of photos!
Within about 45 minutes we were at the lake and it was just as beautiful close up
We had a little wander around and waited for the kayak hire shop to open. As soon as it did…
We paddled for a while, returned our canoe and took photos until there were no angles left to photograph
I’ve mentioned that Quilatoa is 3,914m above sea level, this means there is less oxygen in the air and, as a result, everything is about 25,000 times harder. For this reason one of our group wanted to pay to have a horse take us back to the top. We found our horses and climbed aboard but I guess if a horse doesn’t want to ride a fully grown man to the top of a volcano, it just won’t. After what felt like forever waiting for a lady to try and stop a horse running into the bushes with me atop, we finally gave in and made use of our own legs to get us back where we started.
There was lots of huffing and puffing, and a number of breaks to “admire the scenery” but we made it!!! We had lunch, I bought a jumper, and we spent a bit more time on the edge of the crater.
There is a trail around the circumference of the lake but it looked a bit much to walk the whole thing after an already strenuous day, so we just went as far as Dañiel Jose Rodriguez…
After taking a few photos at this makeshift viewpoint, who should appear but the man himself!!!
Dañiel Jose Rodriguez, who had been tending to his nearby field, came over to introduce himself, say hi, and show off his Quilatoa viewpoint. We had a quick chat… “Vivo en Londres”, paid the apparently required $1 for 3 minutes of the man’s time, and went on our way.
Next morning, heavily sunburnt, we woke up early to see the sunrise…
But the sun didn’t really rise, the sky just got lighter. It was still nice though
We had breakfast and jumped on the bus. Quilatoa was great and the views from the bus were equally exciting
Other than sitting next to a person who was quite annoyed that the bus stopped for over an hour in a small town on route, for seemingly no reason
the bus journey was nice and easy. We jumped off on a roundabout in Latacunga, walked down the hard shoulder on the freeway and hailed the next bus heading to Cuenca. I don’t think we’ve waited more than about 45 seconds for a bus the whole time we’ve been in Ecuador, it’s pretty brilliant!