Quilotoa Lake: Our most recommended tours and activities

Quito-Cotopaxi-Quilotoa: Full-Day Adventure 3 Places

1. Quito-Cotopaxi-Quilotoa: Full-Day Adventure 3 Places

Cotopaxi and Quilotoa are two of Ecuador's most famous and stunning natural attractions, both located in the Andes Mountains. They offer visitors unique experiences and breathtaking views of volcanic landscapes. Here's a comparison of Cotopaxi and Quilotoa: Cotopaxi: Volcano: Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. It reaches an elevation of 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level. National Park: Cotopaxi is part of the Cotopaxi National Park, which covers a vast area surrounding the volcano. The park is a protected area known for its diverse ecosystems and outdoor activities. Outdoor Activities: Cotopaxi National Park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, trekking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and birdwatching. Climbing to the summit of Cotopaxi is a popular challenge for experienced mountaineers. Scenery: The landscape around Cotopaxi is characterized by highland grasslands, paramo ecosystems, and glaciers. The volcano's iconic snow-capped peak is a symbol of Ecuador's natural beauty. Access: Cotopaxi is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Quito, making it relatively accessible from the capital city. Quilotoa: Lake and Caldera: Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera formed by the collapse of a volcano. The Quilotoa Crater Lake is a stunning emerald green color, attracting visitors from all over the world. Location: Quilotoa is located in the Cotopaxi Province, around 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Quito. It is part of the Quilotoa Loop, a popular trekking route through the Andean highlands. Hiking and Trekking: The Quilotoa Loop offers trekkers a chance to explore rural Andean villages and experience the local culture. Hiking down to the Quilotoa Lake and back up is a challenging but rewarding experience. Scenery: Quilotoa's surroundings are characterized by rugged landscapes, traditional villages, and the striking emerald-colored lake within the caldera. Cultural Experience: The Quilotoa region is home to indigenous communities, offering visitors opportunities for cultural immersion and interaction with locals. Both Cotopaxi and Quilotoa offer travelers unique experiences and stunning vistas of Ecuador's volcanic landscapes. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or someone interested in local culture, visiting both attractions will provide an unforgettable journey through the Andean highlands.

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

2. Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

Drive south from Quito to the Quilotoa area and visit its famous lagoon. Along the way, you'll admire the beautiful Andean landscape and stop at the Shalala viewpoint. Next, you'll visit the community viewpoint and descend to the lagoon. Once there, you'll have free time to hike and explore the area. You'll return on a path that connects the lagoon to the community viewpoint. It's an intense walk, so if you're not in good shape, simply climb on a mule that will pack you back to the viewpoint. After a lunch break, you'll also stop at a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful products, and visit the Toachi's Canon.

Quito: 2-Day Tour to Baños with Cotopaxi & Quilotoa

3. Quito: 2-Day Tour to Baños with Cotopaxi & Quilotoa

Explore Baños, the adventure capital of Ecuador. Get to know stunning places such as Cotopaxi Volcano as well as the Quilotoa Lagoon - an unbelievable turquoise lake in the caldera of an active volcano. Once in Baños, enjoy a number of wonderful activities set against a beautiful backdrop of waterfalls and tropical greenery. This short tour makes for a great escape from Quito. Day 1: Quito - Cotopaxi - Quilotoa - Baños Get picked up from your hostel or hotel in Quito to begin the trip to Baños. You will stop along the way for a quick breakfast before arriving in Cotopaxi. Observe the stunning Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the country's most famous sights. Visit the Toachi River Canyon lookout point with some free time to enjoy the amazing landscape of Quilotoa Crater Lake. Depart for Baños and visit the famous "Swing at the End of the World" at La Casa del Árbol. Take in an amazing view of the gorgeous mountain landscapes. Enjoy a free evening to explore some of the local attractions. Feel free to visit the nearby thermal baths which gave Baños its name and go for a relaxing dip in these healing pools. Stay overnight in Baños.  Day 2: Baños - Quito Spend the morning exploring Baños at your leisure. Then, get picked up at Juan Montalvo Park to begin the day's activities. Ride a cable car over the Pastaza River and experience 360-degree views of waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful jungle landscapes. Visit the stunning Devil's Cauldron (Pailón del Diablo) Waterfall. Return to Baños for free time. Around 4:30 pm, get ready to get back to Quito, arriving around 7:30 pm for drop off at your hotel/hostel.

From Quito: 2-Day Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Trip

4. From Quito: 2-Day Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Trip

Depart Quito early in the morning and drive along the scenic Avenue of the Volcanoes, spotting various mountains including, el Corazon, Rumiñahui, Illinizas, Pasochoa, and Atacazo. Arrive at the national park surrounding the Cotopaxi volcano, which stands as the highest active volcano in the world at 5,897 meters. Start by hiking around the lake at the foot of the volcano. Then drive up the volcano to reach 4,500 meters. If weather permits and park regulations allow, climb to reach the refuge at 4,800 meters and from there continue up to the glaciers. Your time on the peak will also include a visit to the Interpretation Center to learn about the flora and the fauna of the park. Stay overnight in Cotopaxi. On day two, head to the Quilotoa volcano, stopping along the way in a traditional indigenous village. Visit with the locals in a typical indigenous house made of straw learning about their way of life and agricultural practices. Then make another stop in the town of Tigua, famous for its naive paintings. Continue on to reach Quilotoa. Choose to descend to the reach the shore of the lake located in the mountain crater or just walk around the crater. Then go on a mule ride around the mountain, taking in the incredible highland landscapes. Afterwards return to Quito.

Baños 3Day/2Night Tour - All included tours

5. Baños 3Day/2Night Tour - All included tours

Day 1: Quito – Cotopaxi – Quilotoa - Baños You day starts with an early pick up from your hotel/hostel to go to Cotopaxi for the breakfast stop, you will have the chance to observe the stunning volcano on your way there. The next stop is the Toachi River lookout point, canyon’s deepest point , at 100 meters deep, and allow you to take in the view and learn a little about the canyon, after this you will continue your trip to Quilotoa. Once in Quilotoa, you will stop at the classic viewpoint to enjoy the stunning views of the Quilotoa volcano lake from one of the best viewpoints. You will depart Quilotoa after this, to make your way to Baños, around 3:00 pm. In Baños, you will visit the famous swing at La Casa del Árbol and take in an amazing view of the gorgeous mountain landscapes. You will have the afternoon free and spend the night in Baños. Day 2: Baños Around 8:15 am, you will be picked from Juan Montalvo Park to begin the day’s activities. The first stop will be at Pastaza River, to experience one of the most extraordinary sights you’ve ever seen, with 360-degree views of waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful jungle landscapes. After this, you will go the Devil’s Cauldron, get a view of the astonishing waterfall, which is one of the main highlights in Baños. You will then visit San Martín Adventure Park for zip-lining, canopy walks, rock climbing, trekking and more. The entry to the park is included with this tour. You will spend the second night in Baños. Day 3: Baños – Quito You will have the morning free in Baños to explore around or take part in one of the many exciting activities on offer. In the afternoon, you will depart from Baños to Quito, arriving around 7:30 pm. We will drop you off at your hotel/hostel.

From Cuenca: 4-Day Ecuador Exploration Tour

6. From Cuenca: 4-Day Ecuador Exploration Tour

Day 1: After getting picked up from your hotel in Cuenca, travel to Alausi, where you will have a litlle city tour and also you will admire beautiful Andean landscapes and watch an Andean music performance along the way. Afterward, break for lunch before beginning the journey to Chimborazo, then you will visit the highest peak of Ecuador " Chimborazo 6300 meters". Spend the night at a hotel in Riobamba. Day 2: After breakfast, head to the charming city of Baños to admire a spectacular waterfall. Afterward, hop on a cable car and ride towards a viewpoint where you can enjoy a ride on the "swing at the end of the world". Return to Baños after your swing ride and get a good night's sleep before tomorrow's activities. Day 3: Today, visit Pujili and do a spot of shopping at the town's indigenous market, where you'll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothing. Later, visit Tigua, where a small indigenous community lives. Immerse yourself in the daily life and culture of this community before heading to Quilotoa Lake, which is often referred to as the most beautiful place in Ecuador. Here, enjoy a stroll around the edges of the lake or even take an optional donkey ride. Spend the night at a hotel in Quilotoa. Day 4: Rise early to travel to the Cotopaxi National Park, where you can go for a walk around the Limpiopungo Lake. If the weather is clear, admire panoramic views of one of the world's most active volcanoes. Afterward, travel to Quito where you will say goodbye to your guide and spend the evening exploring the city at your leisure. 

Full Day Quilotoa

7. Full Day Quilotoa

NATURAL AND HIKE QUILOTOA (Thursday and Sunday). A couple of hours away from Quito in the capital of the Province of Cotopaxi, canton Latacunga we have 2 very important indigenous real markets in the area, which exchange products from tropical areas and products from the Andes. In our 1-day tour on a shared basis, we will visit these markets, Thursday Saquisilí market and Sunday Pujilí market, to then reach the highest point of the highlands 3800m (12467.19 feet) where we will visit an indigenous hut in the highlands to know part of their daily life. As we begin our descent we will arrive at the community of Tigua. Most of its people live from agriculture, livestock, handicrafts, and painting, the last two of which have made them famous artists around the world, with brightly colored wooden sculptures of animal faces and paintings on sheepskin. We are just a step away from our destination, and on the way, we have an obligatory stop to take pictures and selfies at the viewpoint of the Toachi River Canyon. Who does not have his selfie in this place, did not travel to Quilotoa! The Quilotoa lagoon is inside a volcanic crater, its emerald-colored water impacts all its visitors. Because the tranquility of its environment is very visited by people who practice YOGA and meditation, many couples have engagements and get married in the place. The lagoon has 2 viewpoints; the viewpoint of Shalalá and the viewpoint of the community. In our 1-day tour, we will visit the community's lookout point that has access to the crater and we can reach the lagoon. Adventure lovers can practice kayaking at 3914 m (12.841.21 ft) and the more adventurous can swim in its cold waters.

Full Day to Quilotoa - Visit Quilotoa Lagoon

8. Full Day to Quilotoa - Visit Quilotoa Lagoon

Pick up from your hotel/hostel in Quito. Stop at to enjoy a delicious breakfast with stunning views. After breakfast, you will travel to Quilotoa, where you will visit the Toachi River Canyon and the traditional lookout point. Hike down to the shore of the Quilotoa Lagoon, where you can see this breathtaking volcanic lake up close, and enjoy your free time there. Take lunch at a local restaurant and before the way back to Quito, enjoy the extra free time exploring the Quilotoa community. Once back in Quito, you will be dropped off at your hotel/hostel.

Quito: 2-Day Tour to Cotopaxi & Quilotoa

9. Quito: 2-Day Tour to Cotopaxi & Quilotoa

Day 1: Quito - Cotopaxi Your day starts with an early pick up from your hostel or hotel in Quito to begin the trip to Baños. You will stop along the way for a quick breakfast before arriving in Cotopaxi. Around 9:00 am, you will visit the interpretation center and around 10:00 am, you will visit the Limpiopungo Lagoon. At 12:30 am, start the hike up to the José Rivas Refuge, enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna as we trek through the Andean paramo up to the famous landmark, Jose Rivas Refuge, located at 4864m. This refuge still functions as the active base camp for mountaineers planning to climb to the very peak of the volcano. We continue to a scenic lookout point to take in some unbelievable panoramic views of the Cotopaxi Volcano before beginning the descent. You will spend the night in Cotopaxi. Day 2: Cotopaxi - Quilotoa - Quito Around 8:15 am, you will depart for Quilotoa. We will stop at the Toachi River Canyon lookout point, and allow you to take in the view and learn a little about the canyon. Enjoy the stunning views of the Quilotoa volcano lake from one of the best viewpoints. Around 12:00 pm, you will start the guided hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon, walk down to the shore of the Quilotoa Lagoon and get to see this breathtaking volcanic lake up close. You will then have free time to explore around and have lunch, before departing back to Quito at 4:30 pm. You will arrive in Quito around 7:30 pm, we will drop you off at your hotel/hostel.

From Quito: 10-Day Ecuador Highlights Private Tour

10. From Quito: 10-Day Ecuador Highlights Private Tour

Immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture with a 10-day trip through the country's must-sees. Learn about local history as you stroll through the streets of Quito, Riobamba, and Cuenca. Marvel at the majesty of Cotopaxi Volcano, Quilotoa Lake, the Pailón del Diablo waterfalls, and more magical sites. Day 1 - Overnight in QuitoGet picked up at your chosen location in Quito and begin your adventure by exploring the Old Town. Discover the Basílica del Voto Nacional, La Compañía, El Panecillo, Plaza Grande, and Intiñam Museum. Enjoy the unique chance to stand at the Middle of the World monument. Day 2 - Overnight in QuitoSurround yourself with nature on a tour of the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve, the land of hummingbirds, and the paradise of butterflies. Walk through the forest with your guide and come across a variety of plants, then taste some local chocolate. Day 3 - Overnight in QuitoTake a day trip to two neighboring towns. Watch Ecuadorian culture come alive in Otavalo, and see the artisans that come to the main square every day to sell their products. Head over to Cotacachi, a town known for its leather production. Day 4 - Overnight in Cotapaxi ProvinceDepart from Quito and stop by the striking Cotopaxi Volcano. Experience the beauty of this rural area, marvel at panoramic views from the volcano, and spend the night in the Cotapaxi province. Day 5 - Overnight in Baños de Agua SantaDive even deeper into the beautiful natural landscapes of the area with a visit to Quilotoa, a crater with a gorgeous tranquil lake inside of it. Enjoy a walking tour around the crater, then continue to Baños de Agua Santa. Day 6 - Overnight in RiobambaGet your adrenaline pumping with the incredible outdoor attractions in Baños de Agua Santa. Seize the chance to. go zip lining, ride a cable car, and admire famous waterfalls, such as the Pailón del Diablo falls. Discover the incredible tree house with a giant swing. Afterward, drive to Riobamba. Day 7 - Overnight in AlausíStroll around the small town of Riobamba and buy some traditional slow-roasted pork from the local market. Admire Chimborazo, the tallest volcano in Ecuador and the closest point to the sun on Earth. Arrive in Alausí and visit the colorful old train station. Day 8 - Overnight in CuencaLeave Alausí and wander around the ancient Ingapirka ruins, where Ecuadorian history started. Continue your journey in Cuenca, one of the country's most beautiful cities, and take part in a Panama hat workshop if you'd like to get to know the town's traditional production process. Day 9 - Overnight in CuencaEmbark on an insightful walking tour of Cuenca Old Town and gaze at its main buildings. Explore the picturesque town of Gualaceo, famous for its handwoven 'makanas'. Day 10 - Overnight in GuayaquilTake the route to Guayaquil, stopping at the breathtaking Cajas National Park along the way. Arrive in the city and visit the 'malecon' area on the Guayas River or choose to take the cable car for a nice aerial view of the city.

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What people are saying about Quilotoa Lake

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 23 reviews

Polite and helpful guide and driver, they arrived punctually at the agreed time, everything right and very pleasant.

The journey is a little tiring, but it's worth it. The lagoon is really very beautiful!

So fun! Well informed hosts and super hospitable :)