Our last week in Ecuador was filled with volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, thermal baths, adventure and relaxation. What more could we have asked for?!
After we got back from the Amazon, we went straight to the Secret Garden Cotopaxi which was such a drastic scenery and altitude change from the jungle. We had booked in for the 3 day/2 night package deal which included accommodation in a hobbit hole (the best part), all of our meals and a few free activities.
It turned out to be an amazing few days – the accommodation more than lived up to the hype, the meals were delicious and the place was perfect for hiking, or relaxing with a bunch of cute pups.
Whilst most people opt to spend 3 to 5 days on the Quilotoa Loop, we had decided to just head directly up. The bus ride from Latacunga to Quilotoa was green, windy and beautiful. When we arrived at the top, it had just started to rain and the cloud and fog cover was so dense that we could barely see in front of us, let alone see Quilotoa Lake.
We were spending the night so all of our hopes were pegged on a clear morning after a very rainy night. Luck was on our side, and we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning, so we had the chance to see the lake in all of its glory.
After speaking to some people at breakfast, we had been forewarned the journey back down to Latacunga might be challenging due to some big markets in the neighbouring town. As we were heading straight to Baños that day, we decided not to waste any more time and set off back to Latacunga. A guy we had met at the hostel that morning was making the exact same journey as us, so the three of us set off together.
Along our walk back down to the main road, a friendly local asked if we wanted a ride down to Zambuhua (where the markets were happening and where we could find a bus back to Latacunga). We obliged not realising he was offering us a ride in the back of his ute which you could easily tell was primarily for the transportation of animals sold at the market due to the amount of poop in the back… Nonetheless, we made it to the town, and onto a bus to Latacunga, and Baños.
The location of Baños was by far the most charming part of the town itself. In every direction, you were completely surrounded by mountains, not to mention the waterfall flowing directly above the thermal baths of Baños.
We had been to a few “adventure towns” on our travels through South America so far, so decided not to partake in so much adventure other than a trip up to the famous Casa del Arbol. Swinging at the end of the world was easily my favourite part of Baños.
After a night in Guayaquil, it was time to make the 28 hour long ride south to Lima and start our adventure in Peru!