Day 57: Chugchilán – Lake Quilotoa – Baños; the quilotoa loop

Friday, May 24th, 2019.

Todays plan:

Trek from Chugchilán to Quilotoa crater lake, transfer to Baños

Trek from Chugchilán to Quilotoa lake. The Quilotoa lake is a volcanic crater lake that, according to geologists, is 250 meters deep. The lake is beautiful and has a special green color due to dissolved materials. It is possible to walk down from the rim to the lake. Take into consideration that if you walk down, you have to climb up as well. It is quite steep and it will cost some time an energy to climb up. It is possible to rent a horse that will take you back up. However this dies not go very fast since the horse s stop every few minutes.

Afterwards a driver will pick you up from the rim and transfer you to Hostal La Chimenea in Baños”

I get up. It was not so cold. I even had to turn off the heating in the night. Breakfast is in the restaurant. They cook what they can and have. I get my lunch package. My guide arrives. No horse. First we have communication issues, than we call the agency which calls the driver. He will pick up the sack, before going up to quilotoa loop. No need for a horse.

The hostel has signs everywhere “donot take the dogs with you”. Indeed they are very cuddly, especially the small ones.

Today is public holiday of the independence battle at Pichincha, the volcano close to Quito. The Ecuadorians love to use this day as a bridge day and celebrate during the weekend. So we expect some traffic and lots of ecuadorian tourists on lago de quilotoa.

We start walking. Again the path is signed out, where there is no doubt where to go, and if there is a sharp turn somewhere into the trees, no sign. I am happy to have the guide. He doesnot talk much. No english, nothing else the Kichwa (the quechua dialect of ecuador).

Finally we reach the Quilotoa lake. On the rim there is a lady selling tea. I give the rest of my biscuits, orange juice and fruits to her kids. They are more happy than I.

Then we continue o the rim.

.

The highest point 3.900 masl.

At the main tourist point of the quilotoa rim, I tipp the guide and say good bye. Then I go down to the lake.

The weather is perfect. Then the harder part. Up. For 10 usd the indigenous kids or ladies take you up on a horse. As I see how they treat the horses and how the people on the horse look like, I walk.

Done for the say. It might have been 18 kms, garmin as usually overexaggregates, but the 1.500 m altitude gain may be correct. My legs a an anamorphic rubberbased addendum of a thirsty body.

The driver is already waiting and has all my luggage. On the parking lot they offer cut for 25 usd per animal.

I refuse, we drive 3 hrs to baños, and find after a little confusion is Hostal La Chimera my booking in Hotel La Chimera (I guess two totally feuding families named their ho(s)tel business similar and are now confusing late arriving guests. Anyway, the hotel looks better.

I have dinner around the corner in Casa Hood, cheap, full of German tourist girls, they have a lot of veggie options.

Accomodation: Hotel La Chimenea, Baños

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