Delve into the Depths of an Active Volcano
While many of Ecuador’s volcanoes allow hikers to their craters, a few invite you into their mysterious interior too. At Quilotoa, 3 hours from Quito, you start at the summit. Enter into a small village, perching above one side of the 1.8 mile-wide caldera, then walk the sanded path down to a spectacular 250-meter-deep central lagoon. Don’t worry. Although the volcano is active, the last eruption was over 850 years ago. Those wishing to stay can sleep in a tent in the caldera or at the basic hostel on the shore of the teal-tinged water. Rafting is available, though make sure you maintain some strength for a return journey that could leave you slumped against a volcanic slab gasping for air. But if it’s all too much, just hop on a horse and glide to the top. It’s advisable to venture down early for reduced crowds and clear weather. A good tour company to use is CarpeDM (www.carpedm.ca) who offer transport from Quito, food throughout the day, and expert guides.
By Simon Willis, AFAR Local Expert
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