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Laguna Quilotoa Trek


  • Guides Choice trip in Ecuador
  • Quito, a unique and fascinating city
  • Inn to Inn hiking to Quilotoa
  • Dinners cooked by professional chefs
  • Stunning and endangered cloud forests
  • Ancient, rural mountain culture of the Kichwa
  • Amazing views of jungle, grasslands and volcanoes
  • 13,000 foot rim of Quilotoa, above Laguna Quilotoa


Hiking with Wildland Trekking in Ecuador is a once in a life time experience. This trip specifically will open your eyes to the beautiful natural and cultural environments of urban Ecuador (in the amazing city of Quito) and wild, volcanic Ecuador in the remote mountains we trek through. We will travel through the local indigenous communities of the Kichwa, a millenia-old culture of mountain villagers and farmers. We will experience their culture which has changed little over the course of time. We will also stay in local accommodations and have opportunities to spend time with local people.
The most dramatic gems of this trip are the views of magnificent snow-capped volcanoes, stunning river valleys, and rapidly disappearing cloud forests, which lead us to the breath-taking Laguna Quilotoa - a deep, crystal clear lake in the bottom of a 13,000 foot high volcanic caldera. Be ready for a stunning end to a fantastic trip at Quilotoa!

This trip is an experience you'll never forget, and for travelers who love to hike and experience other cultures, it's one not to be missed. Give us a call at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) to learn more or book a spot today!
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 888-966-TREK.


Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

On this Ecuador hiking tour, Wildland Trekking will pick you up from Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador. We will drive roughly 45 minutes to our favorite hotel in Quito, where we will stay for our first 2 nights in country. We recommend arriving in Quito before 5pm so we can have dinner together at our favorite local establishment, however, if you have the later flight, that is OK too.

Day 2

Since this altitude is unfamiliar to most travelers, we will have a leisurely breakfast and rest from our International travel. After breakfast we will visit the historic center of Quito as it has one of the largest and best-preserved historic districts in the South America. Quito was one of the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978 and the central square is located about 16 miles south of the equator. We’ll visit some of Quito’s famous churches including la Compañia de Jesus and the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Lunch will be on your own and we will set a time to meet before traveling back to our hotel. At the hotel we will have our expedition orientation meeting to become acquainted with our trip. Take some time to rest this evening and enjoy dinner at your leisure. Your guide can offer dining suggestions depending on your tastes. Make sure to eat a lot and drink water as this will aide in your acclimatization.

Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 6.7 miles
Lowest Elevation: 8399 feet
Highest Elevation: 9658 feet
Trekking Duration: 4 hours

This morning we will have breakfast and depart our hotel at roughly 7:30 AM for the village of Sigchos where we will begin our trek at 9,400 ft., descend through a valley and then trek up to the Kichwa community of Isinlivi (9,600 ft.) where we will have time to shower and rest before we are served dinner by our chef at the lodge. After dinner, your guides will deliver the plan for tomorrow.

Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 7.7 miles
Lowest Elevation: 8661 feet
Highest Elevation: 10490 feet
Trekking Duration: 4-6 hours

This morning we will wake up with a hearty breakfast, depart from Isinlivi and begin our walk through traditional Andean farmlands to the lower river bed of Toachi. We will have lunch along the way, while immersed in beautiful mountain landscapes and rural Ecuadorian culture. We will arrive at our lodge in the village of Chugchilan and have some down time to take showers and rest before being served a delicious Ecuadorian dinner.

Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Lowest Elevation: 10490- feet
Highest Elevation: 11800 feet
Trekking Duration: 5 hours

Today’s hike takes us into the wild and disappearing world of the cloud forest. On the way, we will cross the windswept highland plains of the paramo before venturing into the dense, tropical forest where our guide will share information about the medicinal uses of the plant life, wildlife, and other points of interest. On the way back to the lodge, we will visit a local cheese factory and enjoy some samples. We return to Chugchilan for another hearty dinner together and night of rest.

Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
Lowest Elevation: 9100 feet
Highest Elevation: 13000 feet
Trekking Duration: 5-7 hours

Today we will have an early breakfast, depart Chugchilan and trek to the beautiful Laguna Quilotoa. We will climb to roughly 13,000 feet to the rim of the crater. Once we arrive at the rim, we will have a break to eat snacks and drink water. We will then have the option to hike down to the lake or remain on the rim until we will head to our accommodation for the night. We will be staying at the amazing Shalala lodge.

Day 7

Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
Lowest Elevation: 9100 feet
Highest Elevation: 13000 feet
Trekking Duration: 6-7 hours

After a delicious and hearty breakfast, we will begin our 10-mile hike to the village of Tigua. From the Shalala Lodge, we will descend approximately 1,700 feet, while immersed among culturally rich landscapes. For thousands of years the Kichwa people have inhabited these lands and their way of life has been preserved with the time. We will arrive at our accommodation, Posada de Tigua in the early afternoon. Posada de Tigua has a rich cultural history and is approximately 200 years old. We will have some well-deserved down time to take hot showers and rest before our delicious and authentic dinner is served.

Day 8

After breakfast, we will be picked up from Posada de Tigua and drive 1.5 hours back to Quito. Upon arrival, we will go out to lunch for our celebratory last meal of the trip. Depending on your flight time, after lunch, you may have time to do some last minute shopping in the traditional, Kichwa markets downtown. This will conclude our Wildland Trekking expedition to the Quilotoa Laguna.

Wildland Trekking will arrange your transportation back to Mariscal Sucre International airport 3 hours before departure. If you are remaining in Ecuador, we can help arrange other activities or help you book accommodation for another night at the hotel.

Galapagos Add-on Tour

If you'd like to make the most of your time in Ecuador, join us for an add-on, 6-day tour of Galapagos. Click here to learn more!

Add-on Rooms: If you'd like to extend your stay, we are happy to book extra room nights before and/or after your trip at our preferred hotel for an additional 30% service fee.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
  • Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
  • Lodging for the duration of the tour
  • The majority of meals on the tour (some in-town meals are not included)
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • Professional, knowledgeable, certified Ecuador hiking guides (U.S. and local)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Quito, Ecuador
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (strongly encouraged)
  • Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills , wifi bills and other personal expenses (shopping/ laundry)
  • All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
  • Gratuities (industry recommendation is 15-20% of the trip cost, distributed as guests feel appropriate to their guides, chefs, porters...etc)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

This Ecuador hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guide. We'll have dinners at carefully selected, wonderful restaurants in Quito as well as meals prepared on the trip by your guides and/or support staff.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Backpacks
  • Trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at the airport on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel (included), where we'll conduct an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the first evening (your flight should arrive before 5PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 4 weeks before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.

All international trips officially begin with either pick-up at the airport or with rendezvous at the first night's hotel. They end on the final day after breakfast with either drop-off at the airport or with guest departure from the guide(s) and the rest of the group.

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our Global Destination trips are led by professional hiking guides (U.S. and local) along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Finally, we've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.

In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.


Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals (both U.S.-based and local, click here to learn more) with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is 12 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in Ecuador

Ecuador is home to part of the Amazon Rainforest as well as the towering Andes Mountains. Because of the wild elevation changes and diverse climates, the temperatures and weather can also vary dramatically.

The average temperatures and precipitation in the high mountain elevations of Ecuador are:

Month Hi Low Precip
March 81.8° F 69.3° F 6.6 inches
April 81.9° F 68.9° F 5.6 inches
May 80.7° F 68° F 3.5 inches
June 79.3° F 66.7° F 2.4 inches
July 77.9° F 65.7° F 1.6 inches
August 78.4° F 64.8° F 1.5 inches
September 78.6° F 65.3° F 1.7 inches
October 79° F 65.9° F 2.3 inches