This program is famous for its tiny, traditional highland villages such as Isinlivi, Chugchilán and Quilotoa. An important centre for arts and crafts is the town of Tigua. The inhabitants of Tigua produce distinctive colorful paintings of Andean life in sheepskin canvases. There are plenty opportunities to walk in the Quilotoa circuit area and good day walks from all of the towns along the route. What makes the area special is that there are many hostels, even in some very small places. That is why this program is called ”hostel-hopping”. Depending on the day of the week you may be able to visit a local Indian market in the Cotopaxi region. These Andean markets are authentic and the center of the social and economic worlds of local towns.
ITINERARYDAY 1 (L,D): QUITO – COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK – ISINLIVI TOWNEarly in the morning your guide and transportation will pick you up to head south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes. You will be an entire day at the Cotopaxi National Park visiting the museum and enjoying a hike through this wonderful world of the Ecuadorian paramo. Visit the Limpiopungo Lake and continue to the refuge at 5,897 meters above sea level. The perfect cone-shaped mountain, covered in glaciers is rising heavenwards and with good weather, you can watch over almost all the peaks in the country. Afterwards you will have a lovely night staying over at Isinlivi town. Accommodation in Hostal Llullu Llama or similarDAY 2 (B,L,D): ISINLIVI – CHUGCHILANToday you will go hiking for approx. 4-5 hours. After breakfast we will prepare the hike by putting the luggage on good looking, healthy horses. It is a comfortable trek going up and down, walking along Toachi River by crossing hamlets and cultivate valleys. An opportunity to dive into the life of local people and to enjoy the lovely Andean landscapes. We will go down to the canyon and from here a three kilometer climb until to reach the adorable town of Chugchilán. This small town is surrounded by a rustic environment full of authenticity. In the afternoon you are able to walk its few blocks by yourself.Accommodation in Mama Hilda or similar.DAY 3 (B,L,D): CHUGCHILAN – QUILOTOA – TIGUAAfter breakfast we will get ready for a full day of hiking, approx. 5-6 hours. If you are inexperienced, you might need more time. The hike will go down until we reach Rio Sihui. We will cross footbridges and pass small villages such as Guamaya town, a perfect place to admire the Canyon walls and its complex structure. After the long journey we will reach the loop of Quilotoa lake. You will be able to take many beautiful pictures of this volcanic crater filled by an exquisite, emerald colored lake. This is one of the best treks in this area because of the stunning views of the lake. If your physical condition is not well, there is also the option to hike around the lake instead of going down to the lake itself. This will take less physical effort. Afterwards a local pickup car will take you to an old but charming hacienda to spend the afternoon with a local indigenous family. You can watch them milking their cows, ride a llama or just enjoy the ambiance.Accommodation in Hostería Posada de Tigua or similar.DAY 4 (B): TIGUA – QUITO OR SOUTH OF ECUADORToday our private transportation will pick you up after breakfast to take you back to Quito or to drop you off at the Latacunga bus station to go to the south of Ecuador. It is optional to go to your final destination with a private car, just ask (Extra cost).