Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman -
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An Amazing Journey I Will Never Forget
I took a local bus to Zumbahua / Quilotoa, again like so many places in Ecuador, with amazing countryside to see along the way. It takes 2 or so hours. At the bus
terminal locals were loading in produce to take to the famous Saquisili market
. The journey to the lagoon travels through small towns such as Pujili
which is known for ceramics and pottery.
Look out for the monuments at traffic islands and on the side of the road around Pujili and a huge colored staircase leading up a hill. As the bus climbs and climbs high into the mountains, the temperature
cools down a few degrees and the people become more colorful with their traditional clothing and hats. You will love the lush green mountain views, local
farms and houses and clean crisp air up here!
A Warm Welcome In Quilotoa
The bus goes to Zumbahua and then another 13kms right to Quilotoa Lagoon where there are a few homely hostels
with fire places run by the indigenous locals. It was raining and hailing when I got up here after a sunny week so it was very cold. At the hostel the
bedrooms had their own pot-belly fires and thick blankets to stay warm. The family cooked myself and the other guests a nice dinner that night with breakfast
in the morning too. The locals up here are very nice, friendly and happy people. They wear full traditional clothing, the women with their colored shawls and
skirts with hats, white socks and clog-like shoes.
Down to the Lagoon
After breakfast, being a nice fine morning, it was time to walk just 30
meters to Quilotoa Lagoon and walk down the crater to the waters edge. The rocky track was hard on the ankles, I would advise wearing strong shoes for this walk.
The lagoon is an emerald blue/green color and was too big for me to fit into a single photo shot. Once I made it down from the rim to the water, I enjoyed the
feeling of being surrounded by the crater, it was very peaceful. There were a couple of locals by the water ready to hire you a small canoe to venture out
on the water or a small horse should you not feel like walking uphill at 3800 meters above sea level. I enjoyed the waters edge and surrounding area for a while and then
decided that $5USD was a good investment to hire a small horse to take me back up to the top of the lagoon. The horse was slightly stubborn in needing regular rests but
he did a great job.
Back to Latacunga
After lunch at the hostel in Quilotoa, it was time to get the bus back to Latacunga
. It was a Thursday and I wanted to get to Otavalo in the north
for the famous Saturday markets by Friday afternoon. I spent the night in the same hotel as I had 2 nights previously across the road from the bus terminal so that I could make an early and
convenient start in the morning northward. Firstly to Quito
and then on to Otavalo
In Latacunga that night I enjoyed eating a local meal consisting of mashed potato with fried eggs on top, meat and salad. I sat down with the locals at a
communal dinner table where everyone was enjoying the same dish, it was delicious!