From my base in Quito Ecuador, I decided to take the Quilotoa Loop. which is a remote circuit that crosses through mountain villages such as Quilotoa, Latacunga, Saquisilí, Chugchilán, Sigchos, Zumbahua, Toacazo, Guangaje, Isinliví and Tigua. I took off early morning and made my way up to the mountain. The first part of the trip was mainly along the highway, then as you enter the loop you circle up high into the mountains and the roads are well paved and fun.
The whole trip was miles (340 kilometres) and took me a little over 7 hours. You could do it a lot faster, however, you would miss the fun of the adventure and it is a must to stop into some of the towns along the way!
Quilotoa is an awe-inspiring 3-kilometre wide water-filled caldera (crater) 12,841 feet (3913 meters) above sea level. Once you get there you will need to pay a toll fee ($7.50) and then park your bike. The rest you have to do by foot. You can walk around the crater, but be warned it is tough at such a high altitude.
From there you head around the loop. It is mostly off road except for villages where there are rough pavers and lots of people selling wares and food.
The villages are great, make sure you stop in one for a BBQ, lots going on, but well worth it.
Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3-kilometre wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic VEI-6 eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. From Wikipedia
The Quilotoa Loop
The Quilotoa Loop (or Quilotoa circuit) is a remote, bumpy, mountainous road linking several high Andean villages and towns with the city of Latacunga. It offers one a chance to get off the Pan American highway and see some of the more remote people and culture of the central Andes of Ecuador. It also provides access to the Quilotoa Traverse, a multi-day village to village hiking route.