Duration: 3 days- 2 nights*

Walking distance: 35 Km

Rating: Moderately Difficult**

Altitude: The trek starts at 2.900 m and gradually ascent to nearly 4.000 m.

Best time to visit: From May to February, even though October and November may be a bit raining.

Observations: No camping equipment needed.

TREK DESCRIPTION: Without any doubts this is a five stars trek. The Isinliví- Quilotoa route links the beauty of the sierra landscapes, the opportunity to have a glimpse into the traditional life of rural communities located at the very heart of the Sierra and the comfort of having cosy hotels waiting for you after demanding trekking days. The main part of the trek ends at the town of Quilotoa, a small indigenous and mestizo village situated on the rim of the still active Quilotoa Volcano.  On the last day of the trek we propose to go round the 10 km of the crater and enjoy the amazing view of the glittering emerald-color water of the lake at the bottom of the volcano. If you like hiking light and enjoying the comfort of hotels afterwards, this trek is definitely for you.


Day 1


We leave from Quito and head north on a three-hour ride to the small and rarely visited “mestizo” village of Isinliví.


After breakfast we start our six to seven-hour hike to the increasingly popular town of Chugchillán. The first section of the trek will lead us through farms, valleys and hills to the Rio Toachi. Along the way we will enjoy spectacular views of this river from the height of the hills. A hanging bridge over Rio Toachi marks the end of the first section of the trek. From here onwards we will start a gradual ascent to Chugchillán, our destination for the day. On our way we will go past the small but picturesque village of Itualo. A nice and warm meal will be waiting for us at our hotel.

Day 2

This is the more physically demanding day of our trek. We will ascent slightly more than 1.1 vertical kilometers from the lowest to the highest point of the trek. We start at Chugchillán situated at 3.160 msnm, then we will descent about 250 meters to Quebrada Margarita just to go up again to the rim of the Quilotoa Volcano at nearly 4.000 msnm. Half- way we will stop at the small town of Guayama. On our way we will cross indigenous and mestizo farms, climb a beautiful canyon wall and enjoy the magnificent view of the Quilotoa caldera and its lake at the bottom. We will arrive at our hotel by the late afternoon.

Day 3

The trek of this day is usually known as the Quilotoa loop. This beautiful trek is an experience in itself and thus is usually proposed as an independent one-day hike. We will walk along the rim of the crater. The hike involves three to four hours of continues ascents and descents on the rocky and lava peaks of the volcano at 4.000 meters of altitude. On a clear day, we will enjoy a fantastic view of the cordillera and of some of the most beautiful mountains of Ecuador such as the Ilinizas and the Cotopaxi Volcano. If by the end of the hike we still feel energized we may descent to the Quilotoa Lagoon to take a bath in its glittering waters. After a late lunch we will get back to Quito where we should arrive by 7 pm.

*This trek may be combined with other one-day activities such as a hike around the cloud forest nearby Chugchillán or along the canyon of Río Toachi.

** The trek maybe also done on the opposite direction: Starting at Quilotoa and going all the way down to Isinliví. This option is less physical demanding.


  • Hotel
  • Food and beverages during the trek (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual mountain guide


  • Pack animals
  • Tips


  • No camping equipment is needed (sleeping bag, mat, etc.)
  • Swimming suit
  • Small towel
  • Down jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Long sleeves and easy to dry T-Shirts
  • Trekking Poles
  • Glove liners
  • Warm gloves


  • Backpack of 80-90 liters
  • A daypack
  • Down jacket
  • Pants Easy to dry
  • Long sleeves and easy to dry T-Shirts (Cotton should be avoided)
  • Polar Tec
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • First layer pants
  • Warm gloves
  • Sun cap (for sun protection) and beanie (for cold protection)
  • Buff
  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes
  • Socks for each day (for trekking)
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Knife *
  • Camera *
  • Personal hygiene kit
  • Sun block (at least 50)
  • Water bottle
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Insulating or mat
  • Gaiters
  • Personal medical supplies
  • Trekking Poles *