Laguna Quilotoa, Ecuador
Marvel at Majestic Laguna QuilotoaLaguna Quilotoa is an awe-inspiring volcanic crater lake surrounded by massive sheer cliffs and filled with deep blues and turquoises that shift with the sun and clouds. Most people bus or drive here in just one day but if you're like me and prefer to earn your view, hiking 4-6 hours from neighboring Chugchilan is a gorgeous 1,000 meter ascent through farms, canyons and steep ridges. Or, you can circle the lake in about six hours along the crater rim trail that affords panoramic views of the lake on one side, and of the green rolling farms on the other. For those short on time, there is a lookout point at the top from Quilotoa village. Walk down the path a few feet for a photo without a railing, or keep walking the full 400 meters down for a lakeside view and to rent a kayak. Depending on when you arrive, and the weather, spending the night at one of the reasonably-priced hotels in Quilotoa village is a good option, and most include private rooms, breakfast and dinner for hostel prices.