OVERVIEW

The Quilotoa Loop Trekking shows you the west of the province Cotopaxi. It starts in Zumbahua and leads to the traditional Andean villages Isinliví and Chugchilan. Along the route you will get to know different landscapes and vegetation zones, always close to the spectacular Quilotoa Crater Lake. A highlight will be to meet the inhabitants of the region and to see how they live in their traditional loam and straw thatched houses. The trekking offers an exciting insight in the life and the landscape of the Ecuadorian Andes. An interesting combination of natural and cultural experience.

Need more inspiration? We have a small series called “Finding real rewards – a Quilotoa Loop trek experience”. It contains three parts and describes our own experience at Quilotoa!

Finding real rewards – a Quilotoa Loop trek experience, Part One is about a day in Isinlivi
Finding real rewards – a Quilotoa Loop trek experience, Part Two is about a hike to Chugchilan 
Finding real rewards – a Quilotoa Loop trek experience, Part Three is about the Quilotoa Lagoon

Alternatively, read our shorter article The Quilotoa Loop, a hike around the crater lake.

CLIMATE

Some information for the Quilotoa loop trekking.
This area is mostly dry: especially from December to February as well as in summer it rarely rains. The months July and August are often windy with a lot of dust in the air. In the rainy season from March to May it rains 2 – 3 days per week. Night frost can occur up an altitude of 3500m.

Please note that this is general information,and actual climate conditions can differ.

TOUR FACTORS

Difficulty 65%
Adventure 60%
Comfort 70%
Family friendly 80%

ITINERARY:

Click to see every day in detail

Arrival at Quito AirportOn arrival at the international airport in Quito, your guide picks you up and brings you to your hotel in the heart of Quito. From there you can start the Quilotoa Loop Trekking!

Accommodation during the Quilotoa loop trekkingStandard – Hotel

Meals included: —

Active: the Quilotoa Loop TrekkingIf your tour starts on a Saturday, you will have the chance to visit the market of Zumbahua in the early morning. The indigenous inhabitants of the surrounding villages come to sell animals, local products like potatoes, beans and different vegetables. Also retailers of lower regions bring their products like rice and plantain from warmer climate zones. Lingering over the market with its colorful dressed indigenous people will be an extraordinary experience.

On all the other days, the tour begins in Tigua.

After the market visit you will start the first part of the trek from Posada de Tigua towards the beautiful crater lagoon Quilotoa. On your way through the sandy and dry area you will pass a lot of cactuses, small houses and flocks of sheep with their shepherds. You will enjoy a fantastic view over the canyon. When you go down you reach a nice village from where you can see the beautiful surrounding of Zumbahua behind you.

The way takes you down to the valley of the river Zumbahua (3230 m), before your go up again to the breathtaking edge of the canyon (3500 m). From there you reach the crater lagoon Quilotoa and its same named village at a height of 3900 meters. You will spend the night in a hostal of a local family, a simple but comfortable accommodation.

Walking time: about 5 – 6 hours.

Accommodation during the Quilotoa loop trekking Standard – Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Box Lunch | Dinner

Active: the Quilotoa loop trekkingYour journey goes on with a fantastic hike to the village Chugchilán. The first hour takes you along the left crater edge and through the “paramo” landscape with rock formations, which are the result of erosion, wind, rain and animals. Enjoy the view over the deep blue crater lagoon beneath your feet and glance at one of the highest volcanos in the world.

When leaving the crater, you start going down a sandy track to the indigenous village Huayama. You will pass the traditional houses of the inhabitants and the colorful fields which form a wonderful mosaic within the landscape. After Huayama the tour goes on to the canton Sigui (2890 m), where you have a nice panoramic view of the canyon and the village Chugchilán. A steep way down will lead you to the river Toachi. You will cross the water and go up again until you reach Chugchilán (3200 m). In this Andean village you will stay the night in a small hotel.

Walking time: about 4 – 5 hours.

Accommodation during the Quilotoa loop trekking

Standard – Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Box Lunch | Dinner

Active: the Quilotoa loop trekkingToday you leave Chugchilán and walk towards Sigchos. On your way you will pass a small village and continue your journey to the river Toachi. Going along the left bank we will reach a suspension bridge where the ascent up to the village Isinliví starts. Enjoy the walk through the beautiful landscape and the colorful gardens of the local families.

On this diversified trekking you will meet indigenous people, who are on their way to the fields or are herding their animals. The beautiful green countryside, that is a result of the many rivers and streams, leads you to Isinliví at the end of this day.

Walking time: about 3 – 4 hours

Accommodation during the Quilotoa loop trekking

Standard – Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Box Lunch | Dinner

The program of today is relaxed. After a delicious breakfast in your hotel you will go with your guide down to the river Toachi again. Enjoy the awesome canyon and walk along antique ways of the indigenous rural population to the village Sigchos. Here the trekking tour ends and we head back to Quito.

Walking period: about 3 – 4 hours.

Accommodation during the Quilotoa loop trekking

Standard – Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Box Lunch

International or alternative Flight. Leaving QuitoBreakfast at the hotel. Depending on your flight, private transfer to the airport in Quito. Or maybe you book a trip to the Galapagos Islands with us and your Quilotoa Loop Trekking tour is followed by a next adventure!

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

  • 5 nights in guesthouses (in certain circumstances with shared bathroom, subject to availability), breakfast included
  • Certified, English-speaking guide
  • All transfers
  • Meals as specified in the program

starting from

$ 850,- p.p.

in US DOLLAR

*Please contact us for special offers and child discounts. Prices are subject to change.

*Price based on double occupancy.

Alternative Tours

  • 8 days Mountain Climbing Tour
  • Try to climb one of the highest volcanoes in the world
  • Starting from US$ 1295,- p.p.

The Cotopaxi Climbing Tour is a 8-day Mountain Climbing Tour. During this tour you will climb several mountains. The first days are to get acclimatized so you can finally attempt the second-highest volcano of Ecuador (5,897 m), the Cotopaxi Volcano! The Cotopaxi Climbing Tour is for real adrenaline seekers!

Interested? Read about the Cotopaxi Climbing Tour.

  • 5 days hike in the Andes
  • Also known as “Ecuadors Ruta del Condor”
  • Starting from US$ 1145,- p.p.

The Condor Trek is one of Ecuador’s most beautiful and famous hikes in the Andes mountains (it’s also called Ecuador’s Ruta del Condor). It takes 5 days, walking about 6 to 8 hours per day.  Spend the nights camping under the stars. Enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery and breathtaking views as the trek ascents in the impressive Andean paramo.

Interested? Read about the Condor Trek.

  • 12 days in the North of Ecuador
  • Have a look at a list with a small selection of Ecuador’s bird species
  • Starting from US$ 3845,- p.p.

What to explore during the Birdwatcher´s Paradise Tour? Almost 1/6 of all known bird species can be found in Ecuador, making this country a true paradise for birdwatchers and photographers. This tour gives you the possibility to see a lot of them.

Interested? Read about the Birdwatchers Paradise Tour .

  • 8 days adventure tour
  • a variety of adventurous activities
  • starting from 1540 $ p.p

Challenge yourself and join this magical Multisport Adventure Tour on the Ecuadorian mainland! The largest biodiversity on earth and the richest geography are located along the equator line. Thus, there are many different activities you can explore. Undertake an excursion that offers mountain biking down the slopes of the eastern Andean Mountain Range with great views of the active volcano, hike the colorful Andean “paramo” , and go river rafting on the Jatunyacu River. Additionally, relax and soak in volcanic hot springs of Papallacta at the end of the trip!

Interested? Read the about the Multisport Adventure Tour.

Consider as you reserve:

My own room:

Single supplement fee: USD $120,-p.p.

Not Included:

> International airfare to and from destination
> Meals not described
> Alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
> Cost of medical immunizations as needed
> Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
> Cost of optional activities
> Excess baggage charges; airport taxes (if any);
> Optional gratuities to your guides
> Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
> Items of personal nature

Travel Insurance:

To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Travel insurance is intended to cover medical expenses, trip interruption and cancellation, theft and other losses incurred while traveling domestically or internationally.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Ecuador requires a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements.