• Day6

    Quilotoa Loop Day 1 || Isinliví, Ecuador

    April 15, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    The Quilotoa Loop is essentially a three day trek through the countryside and villages of the Andes Mountains, beginning or ending at Laguna de Quilotoa, a stunning crater lake. We chose the latter, mainly to have something to be working towards and to look forward to.

    After our brief stop in Latacunga for a quick rearrange of the bags, we set off on one of the local buses to a small village called Sigchos to start our hike. It was a stunning 2 hour ride through the mountains, albeit a bit hairy at times with such skinny windy roads and many tight and blind corners which were not for the faint hearted, particularly when the roads had minimal barriers for the sheer drop to the side.

    Everyone does this hike self-guided but all the blogs we’d read about it said that you’re guaranteed to get lost at some point. Even with a vague set of instructions from our hostel in Latacunga, we battled to even find the beginning of the trail “in the far right corner of the town.” Lost before we’d even started!

    Eventually we found it and began our descent into the valley, walking through shrubbery and beautiful landscapes, past sugar cane farms and many cute animals - mainly pigs, dogs, cows and horses. A couple of wrong turns and a few points in the right direction from some of the locals and we scaled the other side of the valley to reach our destination for night one.

    The first day was just a short one, supposedly supposed to take 3-4 hours but it took us just 2.5 to reach our stop for the night in the small wee town of Isinlivi. Here we stayed at Llullu Llama, arguably one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. Bizarre considering it is literally in the middle of nowhere. Llullu llama was probably more of a mountain lodge/resort than what one would normally describe as a hostel, and had incredible views over into one of valleys.

    Somehow we ended up getting a free upgrade because the dorm we had booked was full, so the four of us had our own private cabaña for the night, complete with a balcony overlooking the valley and a shower that could open out onto said valley too. Bliss.

    The evening was filled with a three course meal which was included in our stay, a ridiculously long game of the board game Risk which definitely gave Monopoly a run for its money, and one stunning stunning sunset. All punctuated with cameos from the resident St Bernard called Baboo.

    One thing that has been refreshing here in Ecuador compared to a lot of other third world countries is seeing so many well looked after animals, both domestic and farm. Probably sounds a bit strange but it gets pretty distressing sometimes seeing so many animals in such poor condition. Even just seeing more regular bred dogs such as Baboo or labradors as opposed to some of the bizarre mixes in Asia and the like is nice!

    After a wee early morning yoga session in the studio overlooking the valley to stretch out the previous days tired muscles and a hearty brekkie, we were ready to set off on our way to Chugchilán for day two of the Quilotoa Loop.
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