¿Qué tal amigos? I hope you all are doing well and are excited to hear about the second volcanic crater I entered. If you don’t already know, Quilotoa’s crater was formed several hundred years ago, much like Cuicocha. The lake now sits in that crater and is a popular place to canoe and observe.
For our Andean Popular Arts class, we had a field trip to Quilotoa mostly because it’s such a beautiful lake and it’s near the art and history exhibits we planned to visit.
Our first stop on this trip, however, was at an hacienda where we visited the capilla del Divino Niño de Isinche. The story of this capilla and small church begins years ago when the Spanish came to Ecuador. A statue of baby Jesus appeared on the property and people took it as a sign that a church should be built to adore God. So the church was built with a smaller building that, to this day, holds the statue of el Divino Niño.
Many people visit this hacienda to ask el Divino Niño to grant miracles for them. The tiny capilla is full of photos and plaques asking for help and thanking for prayers granted.
After a few minutes admiring the hacienda, we continued on our journey to Quilotoa. When we got to the town, it was cloudy and cold; the altitude made it even colder. I was not prepared for the chill, so I bought myself a blue alpaca sweater from a vendor inside the small artesanal market. I put it on, over my three layers, and went to go observe the lake with friends while looking like a fluffy, blue snowman. But I was warm!
We opted for a photo shoot instead of a hike down the crater (approx. 40 minutes) and a hike back up (approx. 1.5 hours) since we had a limited time before lunch. The view was a lot more amazing in person, much more spectacular than any camera could capture. When small rays of sun would hit the lake from in between the clouds, the water would appear lime green and turquoise! ¡Simplemente espectacular!
Lunch wasn’t amazing… but we ate while the rainstorm hit, so we stayed dry. After lunch, we made it to our final destination of the field trip: a small shop and art studio outside of Quilotoa.
The shop sold many colorful masks, paintings, shoes, sweaters, bracelets, etc. The paintings were by far my favorite since they were full of color and several Andean myths. The paintings shared stories that I wish someone would have explained to me, but nonetheless I was amazed. The masks were also quite chévere since they were hand-carved out of wood and painted with bright colors.
I fell asleep on the 3 hour bus ride back, mostly so that I wouldn’t get car sick (but I still did). I had an amazing day learning about different aspects of Andean culture and observing the beauty of Lake Quilotoa. Plus, I got my cozy, alpaca sweater as un recuerdo excelente of the trip. ¡Hasta el próximo blog, amigos!