The Quilotoa loop
Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
149Trip End Dec 24, 2008
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Our bus took off from a town called Latacunga. We were on a 4 hour journey headed for Chugchilan, elevation 3200 meters, population 6356. The bus journey was definitely one of the best so far. The handful of gringos on the bus were the main attraction to a large percentage of the farming community passengers, who stared at us like we were aliens. The very old couple opposite us were fascinated by Dan. In-between sleeping and sucking oranges in their toothless mouths they just looked and smiled at Dan for the whole journey, have a nap, suck an orange, stare at Dan, have a nap...you get the idea.
we got to our hostal, its called cloud forest and you can see why from this picture.
The next day we explored the village and hiked down into a valley to see a suspension bridge.
Some local kids asked if we could take their picture. I took their picture and then they wanted to take a dollar from us for the photo. I showed them the picture and then they wanted to take the camera instead! Eventually I showed them a pack of playing cards and they agreed to take the cards. Nice kids.
A 6am bus the next morning took us an hour down the road to the main attraction, the Laguna Quilatoa, a volcano with a green alkaline lake in the centre. We hiked a third of the way around the crater rim and our heads were spinning with altitude sickness, walking at 3853m gave everything a sort of dreamy appearance. We set off down the volcano side and hiked the remaining 6 miles back to the hostal.
Along the way local children would greet us with Hola and as we turned our backs they would throw vegetation at us shouting Chao. Rabid and very territorial dogs would come flying round corners snapping and snarling at our feet. I carried a large rock in my hand which was enough to deter most dogs. After about five miles we reached a point where a landslide had wiped out a bridge and the path. A new path had recently been carved out, however this new path was 100 meters long, about 10cm wide, built on dry crumbling soil, had a death inducing drop down one side and nothing to hold onto. Time to say your prayers, hold your breath and just look dead ahead.
Back to the hostal, had lunch with some backpackers from Bristol and then it was time for bed. Early start the next morning, a 3am bus dictated a 2:30 rise, not nice. We were off to visit a town called Banos, famous for volcano watching, chucking toffee at tourists and cycling.
Love Dan & Kat