Quito, Ecuador, is a brightly hued city in the country’s highlands. It’s often the home base from which people explore the country, though you could easily spend your whole trip wandering through the streets of the city’s UNESCO-Heritage-designated Old Town.
Quito can be the perfect base for day trips to see some of the country’s prettiest Andean landscapes, including Cotopaxi National Park, one of Ecuador’s stunning highland preserves. And while Cotopaxi is probably the most popular destination, there are plenty of gorgeous lakes in Ecuador you can reach from the city just as beautiful as the national park. The region around Quito is splashed with hundreds of remote, scenic lakes, many of which are in calderas formed from volcanic explosions thousands of years ago.
The startling beautiful lakes in Ecuador around Quito may be the country’s best-kept secret. For your first trip, visit at least one of the four lakes below, all easily reachable on a one-day tour from Quito.