I arrived in Latacunga and wasn’t that impressed – as usual you arrive in the bad area of town which doesn’t really look that nice and then jumping in a taxi whose driver didn’t know where my hostel was didn’t really help either! Still, we got there and I chatted to the owner for a bit and signed up for a tour the following day. I didn’t venture out into the town the first day as I wanted to catch up on emails and tinker with my website a little bit but later in the evening I needed food – I trawled around and around trying to find a restaurant before finding the only place open! The pizza from there was good but expensive – they could charge what they wanted since there wasn’t anything else nearby!
The following day I went off on my tour to the Quilotoa crater and met up with the two Spaniards (who didn’t speak a word of English) and the guide. We jumped in the car and suffered at the hands of one of the worst drivers I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. He was unable to change gear, steer smoothly, know where he was going… Useless! After a little bit we got to a market near Ambato and had a wander around one of the strangest places I’d seen so far. The market was separated into several areas, the first of which livestock and animals were carted around in Pick Up trucks, women held leashes to loads of sheep, llamas battled with their owners and tourists walked around with their camera shutters clicking away. The other markets were more traditional selling everything from recycled car tyres, chickens, guinea pigs and fish. It was a really interesting place and contrasted massively to the other markets I’d been to so far.
Afterwards we continued with the wonderful driving, bouncing back and forth until we started to get into the countryside with it’s rolling hills and pointy peaks. It really reminded me of a mixture between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, albeit wearing a push-up bra. Everything was just on a different scale to that which I’d come to expect. When we reached the crater it was a bit of a let down. It’s big and pretty but with the weather been overcast it wasn’t quite the spectacular view I was expecting. Similarly, the walk was much shorter than I expected – I thought we’d hike around the crater but instead we walked only a short way.
On the way back we stopped at one of the oldest Churches in Ecuador before getting back to Latacunga. A chat with people in the hostel and another Pizza and I was quite glad to make a long journey to Mindo the next day. Latacunga is nothing if you aren’t going to do the Quilotoa loop.
More pictures of Latacunga and Quilotoa crater can be found in the Digitallery album South America – Ecuador – Latacunga
Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.