Best of Quilotoa

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Quilotoa
One of Ecuador’s most photogenic sights is the volcanic crater lake of Quilotoa. The steep-sided caldera forms a perfect loop around the waters, which are often tinged a rich blue-green hue owing to its high mineral content. You can visit on a day trip or make it part of a longer trekking itinerary in the highlands, spending the night at indigenous villages in the mountains along the way. 

A long but rewarding hike around the crater rim offers the best views over the lake as well as the snow-capped peaks of Cotopaxi and Illiniza beyond. You can complete the loop in about six hours. For a shorter jaunt, make the descent down to the water’s edge, where the mirror-like surface reflects the crater rim on clear, calm days (you can hire a donkey for the steeper return journey if you need a boost). This is also a great spot for mountain biking with some exciting trails near the lake.
Plan your trip to Ecuador
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Vicuñas in front of Mount Chimborazo
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito, Quilotoa, Baños, Cuenca, & Guayaquil - 8 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito, Quilotoa, Baños, Cuenca, & Guayaquil - 8 Days

This eight-day itinerary is perfect for travelers hoping to see Ecuador's most notable national parks and explore the country's most populous cities. You'll begin your trip with a free day in the capital of Quito before heading off to hike the Quilotoa and Cotopaxi Volcanoes and explore Ecuador's gateway to the Amazon. Then, make a stop at Mount Chimborazo, take a scenic train ride through the Andes, and take a walking tour of the historic port city of Guayaquil.

Cordillera Occidental Andes Central Ecuador
Map of Ecuador: Amazon, Andes, and the Coast - 16 Days
Ecuador: Amazon, Andes, and the Coast - 16 Days

Explore the best of Ecuador in this 16-day tour through the Amazon, Andes, and Coastal regions. You'll visit beautiful colonial towns, indigenous communities, and experience ways of life both ancient and modern in this diverse country.

Baby Alpaca
Map of Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days
Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days

Experience the best of Ecuador's mainland and Peru's highlights on this two-week trip. Start in Quito to tour the UNESCO-designated city center, then head to the Amazon for cultural experiences with the Kichwa indigenous community, wildlife viewing, and a peaceful rainforest atmosphere. Return to Quito by way of Cotopaxi National Park, home to the eponymous volcano. Then, catch a flight to Lima—the urban hub of Peru. End the trip with a visit to Cusco's pre-Inca ruins and a tour of the Sacred Valley and imperial Machu Picchu residence.

"Chagras" Cowboys in Cotopaxi National Park
Map of Trekking in Ecuador's Highlands: Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, & More - 14 Days
Trekking in Ecuador's Highlands: Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, & More - 14 Days

Spend two weeks exploring mountainous landscapes in a country that's equally famous for its volcanoes and rainforest. From Quito's colonial city center to the high-elevation hacienda refuge on Cotopaxi, you'll trek through historic sites and stunning nature. Spot rare Andean condors, haggle for goods at a mountain market, summit volcanoes, and more. 

The Chimborazo Volcano
Map of Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days
Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days

This weeklong itinerary is perfect for travelers who are interested in seeing the astoundingly beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Travel along the Andean highlands to see ancient volcanoes, sacred waterfalls, and lagoons before ending your trip in the lush coastal lowlands. At the end of each adventurous day, you will be able to relax at beautifully restored haciendas that will allow you to step back in time.

Cuicocha Lagoon
Map of Ecuador Mountains to Coast: Andes, Quito, Cotopaxi, & More - 10 Days
Ecuador Mountains to Coast: Andes, Quito, Cotopaxi, & More - 10 Days

From Quito's colonial center to the volcanoes of Cotopaxi National Park, explore the best of Ecuador's mainland on this packed 10-day itinerary. Hike along the rim of volcanic lagoons, barter for Ecuadorian handicrafts at markets, and visit small mountain villages. You'll see cascading waterfalls, lush orchid farms, high altitude plateaus, and much more as you traverse the countryside.

Volcano in Ecuador
Map of Ecuador Cities & Volcanoes: Quito to Cotopaxi - 12 Days
Ecuador Cities & Volcanoes: Quito to Cotopaxi - 12 Days

Visit the cities and volcanoes of beautiful Ecuador on this 12-day adventure. Start in the nation's capital, exploring its well-preserved colonial center and other cultural highlights. Then, head out on a busy tour through small towns like Cotacachi, enjoying several indigenous markets and villages along the way. You will also check off wondrous volcanoes like Pasachoa and Cotopaxi, as well as the unique paramo ecosystem of Chimborazo. The final leg of the trip takes you to Ecuador's lovely third city, Cuenca, before going full circle and ending in Quito again.

Other popular travel destinations in Ecuador
Quito · Cotopaxi · Otavalo · Baños · The Amazon · Riobamba · Cuenca · Guayaquil · Mindo · Yasuni National Park · Papallacta · Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve · Tena · Archidona · Lago Agrio · Isinliví · Cacha