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The Quilotoa lagoon (12,631 ft / 3,850 m) 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.

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Day 1

Quilotoa Shalala

We’ll leave from Quito (9,186 ft / 2,800 m) in the morning and will drive to the Quilotoa Lagoon. During the tour we will stop at an Indian hut and 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.

Included meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Quilotoa Shalala

Day 2

Hike from Quilotoa

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.

Included meals:
Accommodation: Cloud Forest Hostal

Day 3

Walk around Chugchilán

There are a couple of options for half day hikes around Chugchilán that you can discuss with your guide; either visiting the local cheese factory, hiking towards the town of Sigchos or simply exploring the surroundings by yourself. Or if you prefer, you can enjoy the quietness and peacefulness of the village from the hammocks Cloud Forest Hostal.

Included meals:
Accommodation: Cloud Forest Hostal

Day 4

Your Plan

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 drive back to the village of El Chaupi where we will stay at the Andes Alpes Hostal.

Included meals:
Accommodation: Andes Alpes Hostal

Day 5

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park tour is an exciting day that begins with spectacular views of the unique Andean landscape in the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Inside the National Park we will first have time to take pictures and your guide will provide more information about this amazing volcano. After, you will begin a short trek around Limpiopungo Lagoon for about an hour and we will continue in the car to the parking lot at 15,088 ft / 4,600 m. From there we start the walk to the José Ribas Refuge (15,958 ft / 4864 m). We'll have a rest at the shelter with a hot tea and then we will return to the parking lot. The journey finishes with a delicious lunch at the Andes Alpes Cafe before returning to Quito.

Included meals:

  • All transport by private vehicles during the program when needed
  • Meals (see details in Itinerary)
  • Accommodation during the tour
  • Permits and park fees
  • Professional, bilingual guide
  • International flights
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Accommodation and meals while in Quito
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Extras, laundry, tips
  • Tips
  • Other non-specified expenses
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We kindly refer to our Terms & Conditions page which can be found in the footer of our website.

In Ecuador you can hike all year, but these are the seasons:
- High Season: June to August / December to January
- Low season: February to May / September to November

You should be in good physical condition and it is highly recommended that they have some backpacking experience.

We recommend you bring:
- A comfortable backpack (take into account everything you have to load)
- Warm and comfortable clothing
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sleeping bag
- Extra gloves (recommended)
- Rubber boots (highly recommended)
- A spare pair of light shoes for in the refuge
- Waterproof jacket or poncho
- Trekking poles
- Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Water bottle or Camelbak hydration system
- Headlamp
- Warm clothes for the refuge (protected in waterproof bags)
- Grooming Kit
- Clothes to leave on the bus