With this option we begin our trek at Laguna Quilotoa hike for two and a half days, the majority of which is downhill. If you’re looking for the harder option, you can select the mostly uphill, Isinlivi - Chugchilan - Quilotoa trek.
The Quilotoa loop (3850m – 12,631ft) is reached by one of the most beautiful routes connecting the highlands with the coast. This volcanic crater is filled with a beautiful emerald lake. As we hike towards Isinlivi, we pass through the indigenous villages of the area which provide a fantastic chance to see the TRUE ECUADOR.
Day 1: Quito (9,186ft/2800m) – Quilotoa Shalala (3500 m)
We’ll leave from Quito (9,186 ft/2800 m) in the morning and will drive the Quilotoa Lagoon. During the tour we will stop at an Indian hut and after we will visit the Tigua community to observe the leather crafts made here. The tour will take us about 4 hours, after which we’ll arrive at the viewpoint and observe the magnitude of the crater and its lagoon.
We will then descend along varying terrains; the walk will take us an hour until we arrive at the bottom of the lagoon to take photos, have lunch and rest. Lodging at Quilotoa shalala (B;LB;D)
Day 2: Hike from Quilotoa to the Village of Chugchilán
Hiking from Laguna Quilotoa to Chugchilán we will have beautiful views of the Toachi River Canyon. First we will walk along the crater edge with impressive views of the lagoon inside, then descend to the plateau of the small indigenous village Huayama. As we descend the switch back trails down to the Toachi River Gorge, the climate and scenery change dramatically. Soon we will be surrounded by the canyon walls and hike along the river banks. The hike ranges from 4 to 5 hours and is moderately challenging. We will be staying at Cloud Forest Hostal. It is a basic, but a friendly and clean hostel run by José Luis. Chugchilán is a well known destination for hikers and a typical mountain region village in Ecuador. It has a small plaza, a church and a school, and most of the people still use a horse or donkey as transport. Here you will feel like you have gone back a few hundred years in time. (B;LB;D)
Day 3: Hike from Village of Chucchilan to The Village Isinlivi
Hike from Chugchilan to Isinlivi. This hike follows the Toachi canyon and you will hike a great part along the river and pass through small highland villages. The hike ranges from 4 to 5 hours and is moderately challenging. After lunch we will drive back to the village of El Chaupi (Place of mountaineering). The journey finishes with a coffee before to go back to Quito. (B;LB)