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Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

Quito, Ecuador
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Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

We just came back from 5 days exploring the Andes mountains and hiking the Quilotoa Loop and I just have to say that this has been one of the highlights of our trip in Ecuador. The Andes mountains are so green and beautiful, the people are so authentic and nice, the markets so NOT touristy and real, and the hikes are awesome.

We took the bus from latacunga to a small mountain village called Isinlivi, and we spent the night at the cosy hostel Llullu Llama, this is the recommended place to stay and we ended up staying for three nights because the food was so great. We got to explore the surrounding area on different shorter and longer hikes and even went horse-riding for a day. On the Monday we went to to market in Guantualo which is a great experience, they have a small livestock market where you can see how the locals trade their animals. There is also a small fruit and vegetable market, we got some great pictures! From the hostel we hiked for about two and a half hourse to get to the market and it is recommended to go early.

From isinlivi we then hiked to the village of Chugilan, also a great village and a bit bigger than Isinlivi. There are lots of hostels there, and the one we chose was the Hostal Cloudforest run by lovely people! The next day we hiked for 4 hours to get to the famous Quilotoa Crater - well, the feeling when after some tough hiking you reach the rim of the crater is indescribable, it´s unbelievable! The views are so pure, so amazingly beautiful, what a treasure! From Quilotoa you can also hike further to Tigua or Zumbahua, but we took the bus back to Latacunga...I wish we had more time in this area. If you like hiking, being in the outdoors, then the Quilotoa Loop should not be missed from your travel program for sure!!! We just LOVED it!!!

Cuenca, Ecuador
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1. Re: Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

Hi! This sounds like a great tour! We are currently in Cuenca and want to go hiking for a couple of days and the Quilotoa loop sounds really nice. Can you tell me what the best way is to get to the starting village Isidivi? How long does it take to get there and are buses regular?

Also, what is the minimum of required days you need to do the loop? We only have 3 days is that enough? How much money did you spend for this trip?

Quito, Ecuador
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327 posts
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2. Re: Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

Hi Eva,

Check out blacksheepinn.com/directions/…bus_in for a really great run-down of bus schedules in the area. This page is focused on Chugchilan but will give you an idea. SassieBassie took the more difficult direction in terms of hiking (way to go!! impressive :) You can also choose to begin in Quilotoa and experience more downhill hiking. Whatever your preference. You'll want at minimum four days including travel time if you're interested in the entire route. One day to arrive at your starting point, two days to hike, and the final day will likely look like a morning hike and transfer back to Cuenca. With three days, though, you can certainly base yourself out of Chugchilan and take several stunning day hikes, including the leg from Quilotoa crater lake back to Chugchilan.

Cost depends on you. You may want a local guide to accompany you on the hikes. In Chugchilan, accommodation ranges from $12/person (Hostal Coud Forest basic private bathroom accommodation or dorms if you prefer...includes breakfast and dinner) up to $80/person (Black Sheep Inn private bathroom accommodation including breakfast, lunch and dinner). You may opt for private transport for portions of your travel (because bus schedules are so wonky in the area) which will obviously increase the bottom line but is often worth it due to time-saving. So...."depends" is the best answer I can give at the moment :)

If you can tell us how many people are in your group and what your accommodation preferences are, I'd be happy to give you a better estimate.

Best of luck planning, Quilotoa is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING and worth every second of planning and shuffling logistics to get there. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous



Ada, Michigan
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3. Re: Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

My friend and I also hiked the Quilotoa Loop when we were in Ecuador 2 years ago and it was the highlight of our 2-week trip. We started at the crater and hiked to Chugilan and then to Isinlivi. We had private transportation to the start and end of the hike, which was great and allowed us more time to spend in the area and less worries about transportation. If I were to do the hike again, I would probably reverse it and start in Isinlivi as my 56 year old knees really struggled with a lot of the downhill hiking, which would have been less had we started at the other end. Regardless, it was an amazing 3 days and I'd recommend highly to anyone.

4. Re: Quilotoa Loop - a must on your Ecuador travels

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