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THE FAMOUS QUILOTOA LOOP

The hike from Quilotoa to Isinlivi, passing the River Toachi and Chugchilan is considered to be one of the most beautiful Trails in Ecuador.

First Day: Catch a bus from Latacunga or Quevedo to Zumbahua (on Saturday there is a nice Indigenous Market with lots of Llamas). Get a Pick-Up to get to the Crater (12km). Sleep in one of the Hostals at the Crater Rim or ask local people, some are glad to host you.

Second Day: Have a nice morning and perhaps descent down to the lake and have a bath. Begin descending to Chugchilan at least at 1pm to be sure to arrive on time.
→ Hiking map from or to Quilotoa

Third Day: Take a day off and enjoy a trip to the unique Cloud Forest with the Waterfall of Pailacocha or visit the Cheese Factory.

Fourth Day: Explore the Canyon of the Rio Toachi!

Fifth Day: Get on and hike to Isinlivi, through the beautiful Canyon Toachi. Please consider a stay in Hostal Llullu Llama.
→ Hiking map to Isinlivi

Sixth Day: Either continue the Trail until Sigchos or catch a bus to Latacunga or Quito.

First Day: QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE

One of the major draws of the Latacunga loop is the magnificent volcanic crater of Quilotoa, located 22km South of Chugchilán.

Legend has it that when the Princess Toa visited the site many years ago she suffered a terrible toothache. The word for “tooth” in Quichua is “quiro” and from these two words – quiro and toa – comes the name of the lagoon: Quilotoa.

Though still active, Quilotoa has not erupted since 1797, the year the crater was formed. Located at 3800m above sea level, Quilotoa has a much colder climate than Chugchilán, with temperatures ranging from 6 to 14 degrees Celcius.

To appreciate the beauty of the crater lake we recommend one or more of the following activities:

Take the early morning bus to the lake and watch the sun rise over the rim of the crater, then:

  • Walk around the lagoon (around 3-4hrs) and catch the afternoon bus back to Chugchilán, OR
  • You can also walk down into the crater (apprx 30min) and there rent a boat or kayak to row around the lake. The hike back up takes a little over an hour or you can rent a horse to take you back up for $5.
Local guides are available for all the hikes and transport to the lake can be organized in Chugchilán if you're not an early riser.

Second Day:
QUILOTOA TO CHUGCHILAN

Enjoy the Quilotoa Lake and afterwards the descent to Chugchilan.

Hiking time: 3 - 5 hours, depending on your condition.

Descent 900m. Ascent 400m. Distance 12km.

Description: Follow the Crater Rim in Northern Direction about Quarter round the Lagoon. Descent on the road going to the Indigenous Town Guayama. After the village descent down to a small stream and up again to Chugchilan.



Description Hiking Quilotoa

Third Day: CLOUD FOREST

Have a beautiful day in the Cloud Forest!

Hiking time: 4 - 6 hours, depending on your condition.

Description: From Chugchilán get up to the Páramo the highest point before it's going down to the coast. Before going down to the Cloud Forest enjoy the nice view down on the coast region!
On the way back get some good cheese in the cheese factory. A Swiss guy once told us it's the best he ate on his 7-months during South America travels.

Fourth Day: Canyon

Explore the amazing canyon of Rio Toachi and the hidden waterfalls! Nature pure!

Hiking time: 4 hours, depending on your condition.

Description: Get out into nature on one of the four trails leeding in and out of Rio Toachi Canyon! We have a map and a lot of information here. If you want there is a guide which hikes with you or does horseback riding.

Fifth Day:
CHUGCHILAN TO ISINLIVI

Hike from Hostal Cloud Forest to Isinlivi!

Hiking time: 4 - 6 hours, depending on your condition.

Descent 400m. Ascent 300m. Distance 12km.

Description: Go down into the warm canyon of Rio Toachi and have some nice hours hiking and relaxing at the riverbed before going the last meters up to Isinlivi.



Description Isinlivi