It has the appearance of a Caribbean island, but embedded in the middle of the Andes. The Quilotoa surprises more than one. From the viewpoint, located at 4,000 meters above sea level, you can see the lagoon formed in the crater of a volcano. The water, for minerals, has different shades: green, turquoise, blue.

Natives, handicrafts, flora, fauna, constructions, climate, gastronomy and geography make this Andean tourist attraction one of the most sought after by national and international tourism. The journey to Quilotoa is also part of the tourist attraction, as it zigzags through the Andes and enters the Andean páramo.

In the mornings, the greens of the mountains change their shade by the sun and, in the afternoon, the mist paints the duly signposted road with white. To get there, take the Latacunga-La Maná road, built by the current government. Upon reaching the town of Zumbahua, the ascent road continues for 15 more kilometers.

The income costs $ 1 for Ecuadorians and $ 2 for foreigners. The vehicle arrives at a parking lot and, in its surroundings, there are crafts made by the inhabitants of Quilotoa. In addition, small restaurants, or food stalls, offer typical products of the area such as corn and beans. The food will give energy for the descent towards the lagoon.

For about 30 minutes, along a dusty road, but marked with stones and sticks, you reach the edge of the Quilotoa lagoon. The cold is intense and the inhabitants of the area offer a variety of products: coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, fried foods. In addition, the transportation service is provided on horse or mule for the ascent. At a rapid pace it would rise in 1 hour and on horse it is done in 45 minutes.

Tourists can also sleep in the area, in rustic cabins. The temperature at night can go down to 6 degrees in summer. They cost $ 10 per night. So in the morning you can take the time to take a boat tour of the 3 kilometers that the lagoon has. The main attraction is in certain areas where the fumaroles of the volcano are still active and heat the water.

The Quilotoa lagoon is considered one of the most beautiful lagoons of volcanic origin on the planet.

The most significant feature of this lagoon, with a depth of 250 meters, are its turquoise green waters.

 Photo Quilotoa Lagoon

Quilotoa is the westernmost volcano of the Ecuadorian Andes, within its crater a caldera with a diameter of almost 9 km has been formed. This is the product of the collapse of the volcano, which occurred some 800 years ago. According to studies, the volcanic flow managed to reach the Pacific Ocean.

In the 250 m deep boiler, a lagoon has formed. The minerals have given the surface a greenish and bluish tone when it receives the impact of sunlight. Inside, there are springs that from the shore, can be perceived as bubbling steles that rise to the surface.

The popularity of Quilotoa is due to the beauty of its landscapes and the spectacle of calm waters. In the community of Quilotoa, also known as the Route of the "Summit" and which is accessed by bus from the town of Zumbahua, visitors can make ecotourism and adventure tourism with a high dose of adrenaline or simply contemplate the nearby landscapes .

Even this place is close to what many researchers assume as the last resting place of the Inca Atahualpa, so this was the last sacred route of the Incas.

 Photo Quilotoa Lagoon

Visiting Quilotoa is an overwhelming experience at approximately 4 thousand meters above sea level.

How to get to Laguna Quilotoa?

Tourists who visit the volcano and the Quilotoa lagoon use the frequencies of buses that depart daily and at different times to Latacunga and from this city, they use the services that link Latacunga, Pujilí, Zumbahua (64.33 km) and from this town to Quilotoa (12.67 km). The approximate travel time from Latacunga to Mirador de Quilota is 1 hour.

How to get to Laguna Quilotoa from Quito in private vehicle?

It is the best recommendation and the easiest way to get to the place but you also have other options such as renting a car or you can get a transport service with a professional person at the wheel and so you can enjoy the landscape much better. If your budget is not that high do not worry there is an option for you too, public transport; buses leave from the Quitumbe terminal in Quito and arrive at Latacunga.

How to get to Laguna Quilotoa by Bus?

From the Terrestrial Terminal of the city of Latacunga you can buy a ticket in a transport cooperative in the direction of La Maná or Zumbahua, with a journey of approximately 1H47 minutes you can get to Zumbahua and from there rent a van or some means of transportation till the Laguna.

What to do in the Quilotoa lagoon?

It is possible to take short and long walks around the crater of the volcano or descend to the waters of the lagoon, there is even a horseback riding service.

The sector is ideal for camping and for the practice of astrography. Approximately 45 minutes from the main access control, there is a viewpoint built with wood and glass, which allows you to rest while contemplating the turquoise green waters.

The inhabitants of the sector make handicrafts, such as ponchos, coats, hats and masks from the representation of the Devil Huma. Community tourism with affordable prices.

 Photo Quilotoa Lagoon

Where to stay in the Quilotoa Lagoon?

In the Quilotoa, Zumbahua, Tigua, Shalalá, Chugchilán, Itupungo and Guayama San Pedro communities, accommodation of different types is offered, such as hostels, hotels, cabins, hostels and inns. They also rent horses and water transport such as kayaks and boats, supporting the practice of sports activities that are carried out in the radius of influence of the Quilotoa Tourist Circuit, such as Trekking, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Camping and High Rodeo.

Quilotoa Weather

In the Quilotoa lagoon the climate is approximately between 12 degrees Celsius, emphasizing that sometimes it reaches up to 20. If you plan to visit the place you must remember that between the months of January and May the rains are more frequent.

Quilotoa Food

In the place you can find food from a dollar like corn with cheese or different dishes that range between $ 5.

  • Potatos with cuy
  • There are also typical dishes made of barley rice ground in stone, with milk and panela.
  • Cooked potatoes, beans, melloco, Choclos with cheese
  • Mash with pork fat and pork
  • Potatoes with beef from Borrego
  • Creole chicken broth
  • Bighorn broth
  • Beef broth
  • Purple wash with wawas of bread, this product is consumed in the times of the finados in all homes.
  • Pouring sweet yellow corn, this dish is savored to receive jokes in social engagements.
  • Dishes of Fanesca, in seasons of holy week.

Legend of the Quilotoa Lagoon

The legend says that from the center of the volcano (circular caldera) emerged the fearsome god Quilotoa, who destroyed everything in its path. Toachi, another of the Andean gods, appeared from the lagoon to fight Quilotoa. When Quilotoa erupted, the waters of the lagoon reflected the color of the gray sky, which provoked Toachi's anger.

Pachacamac created a sacred bird to mediate in that conflict. The condor was chosen to watch over them and thus flew over those lands carrying news of the conflict.

One fine day, the bird saw from above a beautiful woman who grazed her sheep in the moor and was spellbound. He decided to become human and took the personality of a pastor who slept very close.