The best things to do around the world

Ecuador’s Stunning Natural Wonders: Quilotoa and Chimborazo

Lowest price guarantee
US$ 1010.63 Price per person from View price guide

Key facts

Where: Quito , Ecuador Duration: 3 Days/ 2 Nights

Highlights

  • Hike down to the mesmerizing aquamarine lake in the crater of the Quilotoa volcano
  • The majestic ice-covered Chimborazo volcano is the highest peak in Ecuador

Overview

This three-day excursion will reveal the best kept secret of the central Andean region in Ecuador. The Quilotoa is one of the less visited areas in the central highlands and is home to the mesmerizing Quilotoa lake, a turquoise mirror that emerges from an inactive volcano.

Exult in the stark beauty of the environs at Tigua, a small artisan village of the Quechua Indians. It is the home of indigenous artists whose colourful paintings on sheepskin canvases are a representation of the Andean panoramic view. Multicolour mountains, llamas and sheep are part of this fantastic Andean scenery.

Majestic and ice-covered, Chimborazo is the highest mountain peak in the Ecuadorian Andes and, and the highest point on the surface of the Earth, when measured from the core of the earth. The region is rich in history, traditions, handicrafts, and natural beauty, with many lakes and beautiful paramo landscapes.

Itinerary

Day 1: Quito - Quilotoa

You will be picked up from either your hotel in Quito or the Quito airport and taken in a private air-conditioned vehicle to Quilotoa. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour.

The drive from Quito to the Quilotoa is a long one (about three hours) but filled with amazing scenic beauty. Mountains, indigenous communities, colourful Andean handicrafts decorate this magical road that drives you through the Central Highlands of Ecuador to the Quilotoa Volcano.

Arrive at Quilotoa. The stunningly beautiful Quilotoa Lake is located high in the western ranges of the Andes, in the crater of the dormant Quilotoa volcano. The Quilotoa caldera (lake), which dominates the vast Andean countryside, is oval-shaped with steep crater walls that drop more than 300 metres down to a large lake over 2.5 kilometres wide. The alkaline content of the water, when combined with the high copper concentration in the lava, makes the water purely aquamarine in colour. The mysterious emerald waters of this volcanic crater lake offer a striking contrast to distant snow-capped peaks of the Cotopaxi volcano and make for a truly awe-inspiring setting.

Explore the lake and its surroundings. It will take you about a half hour to hike down to the lake. At the lake you can hire a half-an-hour ride on motor boat for $2 (payable direct. The price may vary according to the number of passengers). Kayak rental is also offered for $2 for a half-an-hour. You can hike back if you want, although it is advisable to hire a mule on the return journey up. For $5 you save yourself a challenging steep hike over a sandy slippery terrain. Enjoy the ride up while you take in the amazing view.

Have lunch at the Quilotoa Lodge.

After lunch, enjoy a cozy afternoon or evening by listening to Andean music at the lodge itself, reading a book from the lodge’s library by the warmth of the fireplace, viewing scenic sunsets or watching satellite television.

Overnight at the Posada Tigua Lodge or similar.

Day 2: Quilotoa - Chimborazo

After breakfast at the lodge, depart from Quilotoa and head towards the province of Chimborazo, where you will find the spectacular Chimborazo Volcano, the highest inactive volcano (and the tallest peak) in Ecuador. Enroute, visit the indigenous villages of Chuchilan, enjoying the magnificent Andean scenery and Tigua, home of indigenous artists.

Stop for lunch on the way.

In the afternoon, arrive at the El Chimborazo (volcano), where you might like to trek through the foothills of this wonderful inactive Volcano.

Overnight at the Hotel El Molino in the city of Riobamba or similar.

Day 3: Chimborazo - Quito

After breakfast, you have the rest of the morning free to enjoy the natural surroundings and the hotel services.

Have lunch at the hotel before beginning your return journey back to Quito.

Afternoon travel back to Quito.

Arrive in Quito where your tour ends with a drop-off either at your city hotel or at the Quito airport.

back to top

Activity Schedule

When does it run?

Daily

Duration

3 Days/ 2 Nights

Start time

Start time: Your preferred time
Duration: 3 Days/ 2 Nights

Meeting point

Your hotel/airport in Quito.
Hotel: (Please advise your hotel at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
Airport: (Please advise your flight timings at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)

Ending point

Your hotel/airport in Quito

back to top

Inclusions

  • Hotel/ Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • English-speaking specialized guide
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned private vehicle
  • 1 Overnight in Quilotoa area (basic hostal)
  • 1 Overnight in Riobamba area (tourist class hotel)
  • Breakfast on Days 2, 3
  • Lunch on Days 1,2, 3
  • Entrance fee to the sites

Exclusions

  • Dinner
  • Soft and or alcoholic drinks

Do/Dont's

Do not swim or drink from the alkaline waters of the Quilotoa Lake Warm clothing is needed as the Andean nights can be quite chilly. It is also quite windy, consider gloves and ear protection. Carry sunblock (SPF 40), good walking shoes. Bring along your camera (wide angle lens), binoculars and sunglasses.

back to top

Please note

Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming the departure details.

back to top

Additional info

  • The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.
back to top

Cancellation policy

See the Cancellation policy for this product

back to top
  • Select Date and Travellers
  • When are you going?
  • Who is going
  • Child age

  • Children are not allowed
Check Availability