Durée  3 days 2 hours 25 minutes

Coordonnées 4583

Uploaded 2 mars 2017

Recorded février 2017

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3 915 m
2 546 m
50,41 km

Vu 3784 fois, téléchargé 323 fois

près de Sigchos, Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

This is the catalog entry for a four day hike that starts and stops in Latacunga and visits the countryside to the west of the city including the beautiful Laguna de Quilotoa.

Bus to Sigchos
Day 1 Sigchos to Isinlivi
Day 2 Isinlivi to Chugchilan
Day 3 Chugchilan to Quilotoa
Day 4 Quilotoa to Tigua
Bus to Latacunga

On the front end, we took the 9:30 bus from Latacunga to Sigchos and started our hike from the main square in Sigchos. When we finished at Tigua we flagged down a bus on the main road (highway 30) to return to Latacunga. There are multiple good places to stay in Latacunga within walking distance of the bus terminal.

The trip can be done in either direction and is somewhat harder southbound (more uphill than down by 500 meters). We chose this direction to save the best portions for day 3 (Laguna de Quilotoa) and day 4 (canyon) of the hike. If you hike in the opposite direction (northbound) there may be a park entrance fee to get access to Quilotoa. Click on the individual hikes listed above for more information and the hike statistics including hike time, elevation change and distances. Distance averaged around 13 kilometers per day and hiking times were about 5 hours per day.

The hostel options are weak/limited in Sigchos and Tigua but there is a good selection and good quality hostels in Isinlivi, Chugchilan, Quilotoa and Latacunga. Prices ranged from $20 - 30 per person per night and included a good dinner and breakfast.

Not much wildlife but loads of scenery. Those not accustomed to the elevation (the hike peaks at close to 4,000 meters above sea level) may need to acclimatize for a day or two or risk difficulties such as headaches, nausea and dizziness. For those with more time and energy there are two additional hikes in and around Quilotoa; one that completely circles the laguna, and a shorter one that takes you down to the waters edge.

You'll need water, lunches/snacks, an extra layer of clothing and either GPS or a lot of patience with the written instructions provided by the hostels. There are opportunities to buy some food and beverages in each town at small stores. Weather can change quickly, early starts or schedule flexibility will help a lot.

Very enjoyable trip with opportunities to meet hikers from around the world and see some really beautiful scenery.
Intersection 1
left off the main road
Off the road to a path on the right.
Bridge over the river and also the lowest part of the hike. It's all uphill from here.
The valley below.
Turn off the road and onto a path on the right.
Small stream to cross.
Before the concrete bridge, turn right here. The trail is not easy to spot, but there are several painted marks on the rocks.
Cross the stream using the Log bridge
Nice view of the valley.
This log bridge was a little trickier, especially when wet. We advanced our front foot and then brought our back foot up to meet it. Railing was broken.
Turn right here and start the climb.
town and valley below.
Left onto the main road and follow it into town
Take a left out of town.
Some more signage on this hike.
Cross the river on this log bridge.
View back to the town of Chugchilan.
Small town along the way.
Turn left here.
Slight left off main road. Maxini trying to make sense out of written directions.
right turn here
left turn here
right and then immediate left
Great views from a platform of the canyon you are going to cross.
Cross over the river, hopefully the log is still in the same place. We had to search the shoreline for a few minutes.
Once you have completed the majority of the climb out of the canyon you'll find this area which is a great spot for a break.
Straight ahead.
Get off road, left turn. Photo is looking back on the intersection we missed.
Beautiful views of Laguna de Quilotoa
There are 8-10 good viewing points along this portion of the trail.
Viewpoint 3
The town of Quilotoa
The town of Chugchilan
The town of Isinlivi

10 commentaires

  • joseaf 31 mars 2017

    Hi Port Flora,

    I'm planning to do the loop this year and have a question. What's the water availability? Did you carry the water for the 4 day or did you had opportunities to reload at the hostels?


  • Photo de Port flora

    Port flora 31 mars 2017

    Water is not a problem, you can reload at the hostels and at the small villages you walk through. There are even a few homes along the way with signs posted indicating what they have for sale (often water). Some Spanish may be required.

    Good luck, it is a great hike!

  • joseaf 31 mars 2017

    Oh, that's amazing! Thanks for the reply. Spanish is my native language so I won't have problems here. :)

  • annaperezcatala 6 sept. 2017

    Very beautiful hike, and easy to follow even without Wikilocs. The most difficult day for us was the Chugchilan to Quilotoa one. The track that is marked here is the "extreme" route. You have to go down a cliff and cross a river, which was not easy with big backpacks. There is an alternative easier route which I would recommend to follow. Hostels along the way will be able to give you directions.

  • Photo de Port flora

    Port flora 6 sept. 2017

    There are a couple of different ways to do the Chugchilan to Quilotoa section, using Wiki's classifications I would rate the path we took as moderate, maybe difficult if weather conditions were really bad.

    Personally, I found the hostels directions frustrating and we ran into people who got lost, or others that ended up taking a bus or taxi to get back on track. The hostels instruction sheets were often missing distances so you may be looking for a stream for a hour or more, statements were confusing (turn at the green house) and you had no idea which direction (north, south, east, west) you were going in. Also, while there were signs along the way they were often misleading and were attempting to steer you in the direction of their hostel or restaurant.

    Wiki gave us great information (how far we had come, how far to go, how much climb remained, what direction...) we felt it was a valuable tool that added to our enjoyment of the hike.

  • Photo de terminal67

    terminal67 25 oct. 2017

    I will be visiting this trail soon. This is my first time using the wikiloc app., so forgive my basic questions. This is really just a general question about use of these maps and app.. I'm trying to get a grasp on how this works in remote areas. I assume that there isn't mobile phone connection in this area of Ecuador, so how do these maps work using the wikiloc app on the iPhone? I'm trying to wrap my head around how to use this. Thank you for any insight that you can offer!

  • Photo de Port flora

    Port flora 25 oct. 2017

    It uses the GPS on your phone, no cellular required, in fact I would recommend airplane mode to help preserve battery life.

    Make sure you are familiar with the app. Go for a walk in your neighbourhood and record it.... then follow it to see how it works (before you get to Ecuador).

    It's a great hike, enjoy!

  • Photo de terminal67

    terminal67 25 oct. 2017

    Ah! Ok, will do. Thank you for the information!

  • Photo de Matt Cool

    Matt Cool 21 avr. 2018

    I have followed this trail  vérifié  View more

    Great hike, much better and faster than the maps supplied by hostels.

    Don't forget to stay at Lulu llama hostel! It's the best one I've stayed at in months.

  • skeebyk 6 nov. 2018

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Challenging terrain but doable. GPS track essential as much of the trail is faint or with multiple options

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