From Quito we made our way into the highlands of Ecuador to see some of the country’s highlights.
We started with the Quilotoa loop, a walk of 3 days finishing at the Quilotoa lake which lies in an extinct volcano on 3500 meters.
The walk took us through canyons and farmland. In heights where in Europe people ski on glaciers, in Ecuador you can find terrace cultures with llamas, cows, sheep and crops.
On day 1 we hiked 4hours from Sitchos to isinglivi, crossing rivers and climbing hills at high altitude to arrive at the Llulu llama hostel and enjoy some rest in a breathtaking setting. We were hiking in a group of 4 people together with a girl from New York and a guy from Vancouver we met on the way. We were lucky enough to get the fanciest room or chalet of the hostel; featuring an own fireplace and a star gazing shower.
The second day we started after breakfast to get to our second stop Chugchilan. Expecting that the walk takes 6 hours we left early. In the end we arrived at Cloud Forest Hostel just after 1pm. That meant that we climbed the steepest part of the trek around noon – sunburn and lots of heat. We enjoyed the afternoon together with our fellow hikers having some beers and relaxing.
On our final day we were told to take the slightly longer way to arrive because the other route was dangerous due to landslides. It was well worth it, because we walked in a beautiful canyon before reaching the top of our 1000metre ascent that day. Puuuuuh – what a walk but well worth the view!
Thanks to Vera and Sam for being great walk companions!
- Do the walk by yourself, no need to rent a guide or anything. Tiana Hostel in Latacunga or the Llulu Llama hostel have directions available.
- Do not stress with leaving early in the morning on the second day. This way you avoid getting stuck in the heat.
- Accommodation: LLulu Llama Hostel, privates from 23 USD including dinner and breakfast. Nicer vibe than the cheaper hostal next doors. In Chugchilan go for Cloud Forest – 15 USD pp incl dinner and breakfast or the brand new El Vacero overlooking the canyon.
- Buses run regularly from Latacunga to Sitchos and Quilotoa. On the way back the bus leaves from outside Quilotoa town (ask locals if unsure) not from the center.