Cotopaxi Province, Ecuador

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clock-o1 day (Approx.)
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commentOffered in: English and 1 more

Overview

Experience the spectacular scenery of the Ecuadorian Andes on this full-day tour from Quito. Visit the traditional market towns of Saquisili and Pujili; enjoy a thrilling trek around the Quilotoa Crater Lagoon; and explore the indigenous villages of the Tigua community. Lunch is included.
  • Full-day Quilotoa Crater Lagoon and indigenous villages tour from Quito
  • Explore the traditional markets of Saquisili or Pujili
  • Enjoy a 2-hour hike around the Quilotoa Crater Lagoon
  • Tuck into a typical Ecuadorian lunch
  • Learn about Ecuador’s indigenous people with a visit to the Tigua community
  • Small-group tour limited to 15 people ensures a personalized experience
Meet your guide and small group of up to 15 people in central Quito in time for a 6.50am departure. Traveling aboard a comfortable air-conditioned bus, soak up the scenery on the around 1.5-hour journey through the Andes.
The first stop of the day is the market town of either Saquisili (Thursday) or Pujili (Sunday), where you’ll have chance to browse the lively markets and get a taste of local life.
Continue to the Quilotoa Lagoon, a glittering crater lake formed inside an ancient caldera. Set out on a scenic 2-hour hike, exploring the lakeside, then climbing up to a viewpoint to enjoy spectacular views over the crater. It’s an easy to moderate hike, but mules are available for hire (extra cost) to help with the uphill stretches.
After tucking into some typical Highlands cuisine for lunch (included), stop by the villages of the Tigua community on the return journey and learn more about Ecuador’s rich indigenous heritage.
Your tour ends back in Quito around 7pm.

Reviews

Viator Traveller's Reviews

5.0
6 reviews
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C
, Apr 2018

I was very nice, the guide was great!

A
, Feb 2018

The guides were on time, two of them, very pleasant fellows. They were educative and attentive. The crater itself was beautiful, the decent to the surface of the lake in it, was rather easily done. Contrariwise the walk back proved hard for many, the altitude being - as far as I remember - around 4000 metres. Then the rented horses came to a rescue. The lunch was all right. Visiting the friendly indigenous family on our way to the crater was thought provoking, worth a whole book of social anthropology on the issue. The transportation was quite acceptable. A great tour.

D
, Nov 2017

This was an amazing tour!!! My son was struggling down the tall hill my son is very cautious and the tour guide stayed with him the entire time to make sure he made it down the hill ok. It was amazing to see the Indigenous people walking the mules up and down the hill, grant it some of them were kids and I am so glad my son had a chance to see such young kids working. Also the crater itself was beautiful, the tour guide told us there are only 3 lagoons in the world, 2 in Ecuador and 1 in Japan. We also had a chance to meet a very grateful Indigenous family. The lunch was ok.. but the entire tour is a MUST. It was worth every penny..

C
, Apr 2017

Our Tour guide Omar just might be the best tour guide in all of Ecuador. If you can find a way to get all your tours through him, you will not be sorry.

As for the tour itself, it was a fantastic experience all around. We had breakfast in the first destination instead of spending 40 minutes in the market, and were very satisfied with the authentic and filling meal 2.50/person. We still got to spend 10 minutes in the market, which was mostly fruits and other souvenirs that were available elsewhere in Ecuador still worth seeing, was a great cultural experience. We also got to share the fruits we got on the bus, everything was very yummy!

Seeing how the local farmers lived was also a great cultural experience and photo op. A 1/person donation to the farmers is expected, and well worth the experience.

Quilotoa itself was very beautiful, we were lucky to get there when the weather was very pleasant and we had a great view of everything. The hike down was a little intense, and took about 35-45 minutes. We enjoyed some Kayaking at 3/person and got some great pictures and memories.

We definitely recommend taking the horse/mule for the trip up especially if it starts raining like it did for us. We were smiling the entire time and our legs were able to enjoy the rest of the vacation. It cost 8/person but we just gave a 20 as it was raining and it is one heck of a hike for the local who guided our horses up the trail. It took about 45 minutes to get to the top on a horse, I cant't imagine how tired we would be doing it on foot like our guide.

The gift shop had plenty of souvenirs and a wide variety of things to purchase. Prices are negotiable, but don't expect a huge reduction.

The lunch provided by the tour was served after we made it back to the top and had some time to browse the shops. It was once again, authentic, delicious, and filling.

We highly recommend this tour, the trip there and back is full of amazing scenery which was made even better by our tour guide Omar.

We did notice after it started raining that it was difficult to take in the beauty of the lake from the top, so even if it is raining when you get there, make the trip to the bottom for a full, rich experience. Despite being soaked after arriving at the top, the horses and guide were fantastic, and we wouldn't trade the memories for anything.

c
, Jan 2017

We went on a holiday and there were lots of people. The hike down is not easy, but as a senior, it was doable. Try to stay away from the mules as they have a tendency to get a bit too close and can bump you. Climbing back up the hill was beyond my ability so we took a mule ride for 10.00 This tour was great and our guide, Omar, was exceptional. On the way back, we stopped at an indigenous couple's house where we learned that they use guinea pigs for heat. It was interesting to see this vanishing way of life. The owner allows these tours to supplement his income, so be prepared for a donation. Also, we were very disheartened to see how many of our tour group did not tip the guide and driver. Their pay for a 10 hour day is very low and they rely on tips. Be generous. Our driver did an excellent job and Omar is one of the best guides I have encountered in the many tours I have taken. His English is very good and we appreciated his broad knowledge of Ecuador. He is definitely a people person and tries hard to make your tour enjoyable as well as educational.

j
, Oct 2016

Such a beautiful view! Stunning really! The walk down was steep and dusty but well worth the walk. You can canoe or swim in the lagoon if you have time. I took a horse ride back up, took approx. 45minutes and only 10 USD. Or you can choose the hard trek upwards, which will take approx. 1-1.5hours.

As part of the tour, we also visited a family who lived a simple lifestyle. It was very cool to learn how they live!


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