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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa
June 3rd 2010
Published: June 21st 2010
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Hi,

By the title, you can already understand that this time it is Lilach. Be patient with me, and by the end of this entry you will know what is round and hard, and no, it is not for adults only....

Quilotoa Lagoon is located inside the crater of a sleeping volcano. It is a very remote area in the midst of the Ecuadorian Andes.
To get there, we took a bus from Quito to Latacunga, the main city in the region. Upon arrival to Latacunga we learned that on the next morning (Sunday) there is a market day in Pujili, a small town not too far from Latacunga. We have decided to slightly change our plans, go first to Pujili and from there continue to Quilotoa - sleep the night in Quilotoa and make the trail surrounding it on the next day. And so we did - and good that we have done it this way. The market in Pujili was just what we long gone wanted to see, a real local market, full of local indians from the town and all the villages surrounding it - many of them, especially the ladies, dressed in the local traditional clothing. The goods and merchants sold on the market were mainly food or households - vegetables, fruits, breads, all kind of beans and rice, panela (sugar loafs), appliances, pots, wooden baskets, etc. etc. But because it was not for the tourists we could feel ist authenticity, colorfulness and smells.... (good and fresh smells from the vegetables and herbs, and not so good smells from the pork or fish sold)...

After spending about 2 hours there, we were lucky to find a bus going directly to Quilotoa. We arrived in Quilotoa after two and half hours in the bus. The Quilotoa village right above the lagoon, is tiny, but more than half of the buildings in the village are being used as hostels - we found one that was very nice and the deal with the owners also included dinner and breakfast. Then we went across the road from the hostel to the view point but the lagoon was all covered with low and thick grey clouds and we could not see a thing of it. We returned to the hostel, had a nice chat with a Canadian backpacker, the kids practiced their English, and we were warming ourselves with the wood stove in the center of the hostel.

Next morning, we woke up and the sky were clean and the sun was out - a good day to walk around the lagoon. Both our guide book and the locals told us that the walk around the ROUND lagoon should take 4-6 hours, but no one told us that it is not an easy walk at all! We thougt it is going to be a walk in the park - on the plane rim around the crater, but we found out fairly quickly that not only it is not easy it is realy HARD - there are many picks to climb and then to go down around the lagoon, and since it is all at around 3800 meters above see level, walking is even harder. Much harder! Shachar had one of his worst days (walking wise), which meant he did not want or could not walk major parts of the trail and so Tal and I had to carry him on our backs, making it almost unbearable. Yet, we eventually (after almost 8 hours) made it - and there is nothing like the good feeling after finishing a hard walk like this. Though hard, it was very beautiful and rewarding - we had a spectacular view of the green torquise lagoon a couple of hundred meters below us, that is on one side of our trail and the green mountains and valleys - on the other side. From time to time we encountered a few sheep lazingly grazing on the green slopes and with the clear skies that day we could see in the far distant the picks of the andean mountains and the Indian villages dotting them.

As said before, it took us more then expected, but we were back in the village, late, but not too late to still catch a ride with a pick-up to the nearest town - Zumbahua - wherefrom we cought a bus back to Latacunga (actually the same bus we came with a day earlier, and the same driver and his assistant, a no more than 15 years old child that surprisingly remembered us...).

BTW - Originally, before arriving to Latacunga we thought we would climb Cotopaxi volcano situated near this city. Since we were so tired from the trek that day (aching back, bones and muscles..), and we realized it is going to be a mission impossible for the kids to climb the volcan at ~5000 meters above sea level the next day (for us too), we reluctantly had to decide to give up on this “mission”. We truly wanted to climb, though!...

The next morning, we left Latacunga toward Banos.

To view our complete photo galleries from the market and the Quilotoa lagoon, you are invited to hit the next links:

Pujili Market

Quilotoa Lagoon


Hasta Pronto,

Lilach








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Around Quilotoa Lagoon


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