A 2 mile wide crater lake formed by the collapse of a dacite volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes

Laguna Quilotoa is an incredibly scenic and relatively easy place to do a day hike in Ecuador. The hike down only takes ~30 minutes and views of the turquoise lake make it impossible to not stop every 2 minutes. 

Although it's a popular place to visit by the surrounding indigenous people, Laguna Quilotoa is still off of the gringo trail, for now. Part of the reason for this is because getting to the lake can be a bit of a process. There are many ways, but the most popular and perhaps the easiest is to take a bus from the town of Latacunga. Buses leave every 2 hours and take around 1.5 hours. 

My friend and I decided to spend a night camping down by the crater so we packed the essentials in our backpack and left the rest at our hostel in Latacunga. The hike down is a little sketchy because of all the loose sand but overall is an easy hike. The campsite is situated right by the shore. We were the only ones camping in the crater, so at around 5 everyone had begun the hike back up and we were left with the entire beach to ourselves. The sunset was spectacular and made up for the night to come...

If you decide to camp, be warned that the winds can get CRAZY. We woke up about every hour thinking we were going to get blown away by the winds. Make sure all your belongings are tied down or else you will never see them again. 

The hike back up takes about 1-2 hours and is all uphill. The lake is filled with salt water so make sure to bring plenty of water or you can buy it from the small store next to the campsite. 

Pack List

  • Layers-pants, long sleeve shirts, fleece, waterproof jacket, socks, beanie, scarf
  • Backpack
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner food + Snacks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Walking poles
  • Camera
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Cooking equipment
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Water bottle
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 918.6 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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