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Latacunga to Quilotoa Laguna, Ecuador - A 2 Hour Bus Journey

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2009   » View Photoset (24 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!

An Amazing Journey I Will Never Forget

From Latacunga 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
Ecuador Photo - The lady of Quilotoa Laguna brings horses to ride to the top of the rim.
The lady of Quilotoa Laguna brings horses to ride to the top of the rim.
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
Ecuador Photo - Hail falling at Quilotoa village covering the ground.
Hail falling at Quilotoa village covering the ground.
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.
Ecuador Photo - 2 horses drink from Quilotoa Laguna before the journey up.
2 horses drink from Quilotoa Laguna before the journey up.
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
Ecuador Photo - Eye-opening scenery between Pujili and Zumbahua.
Eye-opening scenery between Pujili and Zumbahua.
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!

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Quilotoa Lagoon (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Quilotoa Lagoon, Ecuador. An amazing journey to a place I will never forget! Quilotoa Lagoon is 3800 meters above sea level so it gets cold at night, but don't worry you can stay in a hostel with a fireplace!
 A : Pujili - Ecuador 27 kms 27 kms straight distance | 1hr 14mins 1hr 14mins by car (65 kms) | 1hr 28mins 1hr 28mins by bus (65 kms) (65 kms)
 B : Latacunga - Ecuador 36 kms 36 kms straight distance | 1hr 32mins 1hr 32mins by car (77 kms) | 1hr 50mins 1hr 50mins by bus (77 kms) (77 kms)
 C : Saquisili - Ecuador 26 kms 26 kms straight distance | 1hr 46mins 1hr 46mins by car (92 kms) | 2hrs 7mins 2hrs 7mins by bus (92 kms) (92 kms)
 D : Ambato - Ecuador 54 kms 54 kms straight distance | 2hrs 14mins 2hrs 14mins by car (118 kms) | 2hrs 40mins 2hrs 40mins by bus (118 kms) (118 kms)
 E : Machachi - Ecuador 54 kms 54 kms straight distance | 2hrs 8mins 2hrs 8mins by car (128 kms) | 2hrs 33mins 2hrs 33mins by bus (128 kms) (128 kms)
 F : Banos - Ecuador 81 kms 81 kms straight distance | 2hrs 43mins 2hrs 43mins by car (153 kms) | 3hrs 15mins 3hrs 15mins by bus (153 kms) (153 kms)
 G : Riobamba & Colta Lagoon - Ecuador 93 kms 93 kms straight distance | 2hrs 59mins 2hrs 59mins by car (175 kms) | 3hrs 34mins 3hrs 34mins by bus (175 kms) (175 kms)
 H : Quito - Ecuador 100 kms 100 kms straight distance | 3hrs 2mins 3hrs 2mins by car (190 kms) | 3hrs 38mins 3hrs 38mins by bus (190 kms) (190 kms)
 I : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 109 kms 109 kms straight distance | 3hrs 19mins 3hrs 19mins by car (204 kms) | 3hrs 58mins 3hrs 58mins by bus (204 kms) (204 kms)
 J : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 108 kms 108 kms straight distance | 3hrs 14mins 3hrs 14mins by car (205 kms) | 3hrs 52mins 3hrs 52mins by bus (205 kms) (205 kms)
 K : Puyo - Ecuador 122 kms 122 kms straight distance | 3hrs 54mins 3hrs 54mins by car (211 kms) | 4hrs 40mins 4hrs 40mins by bus (211 kms) (211 kms)
 L : Guaranda - Ecuador 81 kms 81 kms straight distance | 3hrs 43mins 3hrs 43mins by car (215 kms) | 4hrs 27mins 4hrs 27mins by bus (215 kms) (215 kms)
 M : Cayambe - Ecuador 131 kms 131 kms straight distance | 3hrs 56mins 3hrs 56mins by car (241 kms) | 4hrs 43mins 4hrs 43mins by bus (241 kms) (241 kms)
 N : Mindo - Ecuador 91 kms 91 kms straight distance | 4hrs 37mins 4hrs 37mins by car (275 kms) | 5hrs 32mins 5hrs 32mins by bus (275 kms) (275 kms)
 O : Tena - Ecuador 123 kms 123 kms straight distance | 5hrs 14mins 5hrs 14mins by car (293 kms) | 6hrs 16mins 6hrs 16mins by bus (293 kms) (293 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Latacunga to Quilotoa Laguna, Ecuador:

Hostal Pacha Mama, Quilotoa, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hostal Pacha Mama, Quilotoa, Ecuador (Jun 2009 - 1 night) - Great hostal run by a nice family of indigenous locals, its at nearly 4000 meters above sea level so each room has its own pot-belly fire, they serve a nice meal also, recommended.

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Latacunga to Quilotoa Laguna, Ecuador - A 2 Hour Bus Journey. An amazing journey to a place I will never forget! Quilotoa Lagoon is 3800 meters above sea level so it gets cold at night, but don't worry you can stay in a hostel with a fireplace!

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