Ecuador is known for its majestic volcanoes, spread all over the country. Our next stop : Quilotoa, a 3 km wide caldera filled up with water. This massive crater was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 600 years ago.
But before being able to see that natural wonder, a steep descent and another massive climb were awaiting for us.
We left Saquisili in the morning and after only a few kilometers, the landscapes changed from a really populated valley, to a vast empty paramo. We saw more cows than inhabitants here. The night started to fall and once again we found a quiet place to camp, hidden from the road. Only the barking dogs were breaking the calm and silence of the night, as usual.
Quilotoa lake, 3,914 m
Back in the quietness of the Paramo
The next day we followed a mountain bike route, and arrived in a huge canyon. In the background, we could see the Quilotoa, but had to go all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, to climb up again on the other side. The track was full of sand and really steep, but incredibly beautiful between tons of huge rocks. A proper downhill hike-a-bike for at least half of the descent.
Steep descent in the canyon near Quilotoa
Followed by some kids on our way up to the Volcano
The climb was actually less steep than we expected, and we arrived by the side of the lake quiet early in the afternoon. We found a perfect camp spot with an amazing view and decided to sleep here. Thibault went to the nearby community to get some water and some snacks, and he came back with a grilled banana with cheese. Interesting.
Campsite with a view
Next morning, the sun was shinning, the birds were singing, Pedalpaca were pedalling. From our camp spot we followed a portion of the hiking trail that do the tour of the crater. It was steep but pretty good and we had to push in some parts. Definitely worth it, with a view like this ! We arrived at the top in the morning, took a full andean breakfast ( rice, eggs, cheese sandwich, and coffee ), did some wheelies for the #wheeliewednesday challenge, and got back on asphalt for an amazing descent !
Following the hiking trail on the edge of the Crater
Early tourist picture with no tourist
Another huge canyon with a Ecuadorian flag