Quilotoa loop is a 20-40km hike that takes about three to four days. It goes along small villages, beautiful mountains, rivers, and fields.
The tree day hike with as a solo female traveler was a pretty sketchy idea. I really wanted to do it to get some acclimatization before the Cotopaxi climb and asked almost every single person in the hostel if they would join me. One of the guys volunteered to explain the map and the rout and after a few minutes of talking, he said “Fine, I will do it again.” I think I looked pretty terrified.
The next morning, after a light two-pieces-of-bread breakfast, we left with a little backpack, stir hiking boots, and a white Sheep beanie. In two days we visited a volcano crater, walked about 27km up and downhill, walked along a few villages, met a few kids that we had to pay to take a picture with, ate a lot of street food, stayed in a few hostels, helped to bake bread, bought fruits on a market and took lots of pictures with our Cow and Sheep beanies next to cows and sheep.
There were no tourists in the places we went, we were moving from place to place every day not knowing what where we were going to stay and what we were going to eat. I finally got a feel of the local culture.
The people are not as friendly here as in Colombia and they are not at all curious about meeting foreigners and learning about the rest of the world. I shouldn’t generalize as we have had really great experiences with a few hostel owners but overall, I am not feeling as welcomed as I was in Colombia. The personal hygiene is very basic or almost absent here and I am grateful I haven’t had any stomach problems as yet (knock on wood).
Tomorrow we are leaving to climb Cotopaxy. Only 50% of the people make it to the top and hopefully we are going to be ones of the 50%. (It’s not deadly dangerous, it’s only physically and mentally very challenging).
WHERE TO STAY: you will figure it out. Get a map from your local hostel and from there, good luck! One hostel to stay is TAITA CRISTOBAL! It was nice.