WHY VISIT QUILOTOA LOOP?

10 Reasons why the Quilotoa Loop should be every traveller’s bucketlist!

1. Witness traditional Andean life preserved and cherished

These days, it’s difficult to find area untouched by the commercialism of the tourist industry. Despite the increase in popularity of the Quilotoa Loop, it has remained uniquely genuine across the many traditional villages that populate its hills, including Guayama, Itualo, Guantualo Tigua and Malingua Pamba, and many others. Hike through various small farms and learn what it is to live outside the reaches of the modern world. A visit to the Quilotoa Loop is the perfect way to take a step back in time and appreciate the silent beauty of the mountains.

2. Get out of the city and rekindle your romance with nature

Sometimes travel becomes too much about the big cities and too little about the natural world. After partying for a few days in Quito, the Quilotoa Loop is the perfect gettaway from that noisy, crowded city to the quiet expanded of the mountains. Look upon the beautiful scenery and rolling green hills and wonder how you’ll ever want to leave.

3. Test your physical endurance

The Quilotoa Volcano may not boast the elevation of Cotopaxi or Chimborazo, but make no mistake: it’s a challenging hike. Over the three, four or five days of hiking, you’ll gain and lose thousands of meters of elevation, breathing the high, thin air. Each day is exhausting but when it’s all said and done, it’s quite the feeling of accomplishment.

4. A great value for your money

Considering that much of Ecuador’s outdoor adventure scene requires expensive guides, the Quilotoa Loop is unique in that it is entirely possible to do the entire trek self-guided. This means that the only expenses you’ll have on the trip are small transportation costs in, hostels for a few nights once you’re there, and a little bit of food for lunch. While hostels on the loop can seem a little expensive at first glance, keep in mind that those prices all include huge, homemade dinners and breakfasts, as well as just a really cozy and friendly environment. It is easily one of the best value trips in all of Ecuador and you’ll leave with just as much of an accomplishment as climbing one of the expensive peaks.

5. Disconnect from life for a while

You’ll quickly learn that internet is a rare commodity on the Loop. Even the hostels that do boast free wifi often have weak signals that only work in specific areas of the grounds. In this day and age, that may seem tragic, but it gives you the chance to just disconnect the chords and get back to nature. Trade in your Facebook feed and make some real face-to-face friends. Friendships made on the Loop can easily last a lifetime.

6. The best cheese you’ll ever eat

Tucked away in the mountains along the Loop are two separate queserias, or cheese factories: one outside Chugchilan and one outside Isinlivi. If you’re a fan of either farm fresh cheese or strong scented aged cheese for cheap, then these cheese factories are a must. The cheese is delicious and you’ll never find it for a cheaper price.

7. Laguna Quilotoa is spectacular

If you hike the Loop southbound, as most hikers do, you’ll by reaching the rim of the Quilotoa Crater. Below, you’ll see the dark turquoise water of the lake and beyond it, the snowcapped peaks of the Ilinizas and Cotopaxi. It’s a hard hike to get there, but that view makes it all more than worth it.

8. The homemade food

Just about every single hostel on the Quilotoa Loop provides both breakfast and dinner, prepared family style and served in abundance. Many of these dishes are traditional Andean dishes and all of them are delicious. Eat your weight in farm fresh food and, best of all, hike it all off the next day!

9. The variety of cultural & outdoor activities you can do!

From community visits to learn about life high up in the Andes, cow milking and traditional farm tours to biking and horse riding adventures – there is so much to do on the Quilotoa Loop! There are also several interesting small scale enterprises you can visit, such as the Mama Quilla souvenir ship, the Don Bosco wood workshop, and there is even a blueberry wine factory! And if you just want to escape from busy city life, choose one of the lodges with sauna, Jacuzzi and yoga for ultimate relaxation!

10. You never know what you’re going to find!

From friendly farm animals to random festivities, the Quilotoa Loop is full of random and pleasant surprises. You might stumble across a market filled with some unique thing you never knew you needed. Or you might even find you love a place so much that you decide to stay longer. Either way, you’re sure to find something new and unexpected on the Loop.

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