When you hear about a volcano crater in which people live, you can’t not pay it a visit, right?
That place was Pululahua in Ecuador for me.
I was imagining your typical volcano, and not comprehending how people could manage to live there – something resembling mines with roads going round and round the inside was what I first pictured. Please excuse my ignorance of volcanoes…
It wasn’t long before a quick Internet search rendered the image ridiculous, but the idea still fascinated me, and Jack (my South American travel buddy) was convinced a trip was in order.
This super volcano last erupted about 2,500 years ago, and is now regarded as extinct (thank God). A small group of 120 or so people now live there, and they are one of only two settlements in the world who live in a crater! Amazing!
We took three buses to get close to the area, with a short stop at Mitad del Mundo (the equator monument) on the way – another one of those things I can’t not do.
We then began the walk up towards the crest of the crater, the bus having dropped us off more than 1k short of our destination.
A sign half way up led us into taking a detour towards the mirador (lookout), which was apparently just 250m away. Somehow this detour resulted in a much longer walk as we traversed along the rocky road, up a steep hill, roughing it through the bush, searching for an alternative entry into the crater.
Who knows what Jack saw as he rushed ahead of me, but he deemed the road ahead a lost cause and back down we went.
Hot, sweaty, all scratched up, we finally arrived at the entrance into Pululahua!!
Ignoring the various other tourists who clearly weren’t travelling on cheap local buses and through the various bush surrounds like us (I was red in the face and sweaty by this point), down we headed into the crater.
From the top, it didn’t look too far down…
The trek down wasn’t as expected though – with a rocky path and many switchbacks, we made our way slowly, and it took much much longer than we initially thought.
At the bottom, we had a little explore and found the area to be pretty quiet and used as farming land.
After many complaints (on my part), we finally got back to the top. Success!!
Have you been into a Volcano crater?
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