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