Camping at Quilotoa Lagoon
Quilotoa Lagoon in Ecuador should definitely be a “must” in your bucket list. It is located 14km north of Zumbahua. It is part of the Ilinizas Ecological Reserve. The view of this vibrant turquoise lake due to the dissolved minerals in the water of 3 km wide is breathtaking and lies in the caldera of a dormant volcano.
The last major eruption was over 850 years ago and it produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean. It’s an overwhelming experience to see this huge crater filled with turquoise water surrounded with a magnificent landscape.
I highly recommend to camp at Quilotoa since waking up in the crater of a volcano is not something you do every day.
The hike down to the caldera takes approximately 45 minutes to walk down and about 90 minutes to climb back up the 280m vertical and sandy escarpment.
Climbing at this altitude (from the surface of the lake at 3,500m) requires a relatively good level of fitness. Since you are camping make sure you pack only the necessary equipment.
Down at the Lagoon you can find different activities like kayaking, hiking around the crater, photography, bird watching, etc.
Or just make a nice picnic next to your camp and enjoy the rest of the day. (Make sure to take your trash with you to keep this beautiful place clean).
Bring your supplies like food and water and also warm clothes (mostly 12 °C and sometimes 20 °C in sunny days, at night it could go down to 6 °C ) Most rainfall (rainy season) is seen in February, March, April and October. On average, the warmest month is January and the coolest month is May.
On your way to Quilotoa don’t forget to visit the Toachi Canyon that was formed as a result of the Quilotoa volcanic flows.
You’ll see there is a beautiful pine tree forest where you can explore around, enjoy the canyon view, take photos if you enjoy photography and so.
Finally, on your way back, keep your eyes open for the beautiful scenery along the road and make sure your camera is always ready.