The Quilotoa Loop: A Visual Guide (Day Two)

Day two was tougher than day one, but much better in terms of the views and terrain we dealt with. We set off before 9am, and managed to complete the hike to Chugchilan in 4 hours. This meant that we managed to avoid the afternoon rain (woo!!) and keep our stuff dry.

The entire trail for day 2

If you are facing the Llullu Llama, you’ll see a trail heading off to the left following the side of the building.

Trail down the side of the Llullu Llama

As you walk along the trail you’ll notice tracks heading off in front of you and to the side into fields; ignore them and continue on the main trail which will wind its way downhill into the valley towards the river.

Trail down to the river

As you approach the river, you’ll see a stone bridge to your left and a large rock to your right. Go around the rock to the right and continue to follow the trail.

Don’t take the bridge, go to the right around the rock

As you walk along the trail you’ll cross a wooden footbridge, head uphill for a bit and then walk along a level path passing some fields.

The wooden bridge

Along the trail there will be yellow and orange paint to mark the way. You will come across some trails heading off to your right into fields and going downhill; ignore these and stay on the main path.

Paint to help mark the way

Eventually you’ll come out into a field with a farm directly in front of you. There are trees directly in front of it so taking a picture was hard. Turn left and walk along the trail that runs around the side of the farm.

The farm where you turn left – taken from the trail to the left of it.

When you reach the fork in the path keep to the left and do not follow the trail going downhill. When you reach the second fork keep to the right (the path to the left goes into a field), you may or may not cross a small stream depending on the weather, and soon you will spot a path going off to your left as the trail continues downhill. Take the path to the left.

The first fork

The trail will wind through valleys and fields; enjoy all the beautiful scenery as you pass through.

Enjoying the views
Walking down the trail

Eventually you will come to large white cliffs that will start off in front of you and then end up on your left. At this point you will reach a fork; take the path to the right to make your way down towards the river.

White cliffs to the left
Taking the path down to the right
Heading down to the river

As you make your way down to the river you’ll cross a wooden gate that you lift up to open. It will be marked with orange and yellow paint.

Wooden gate along the way

The trail will reach a stream; make sure to turn left and walk along the stream.

Walking along the river

Eventually you’ll reach a clearing with rocks and trees; you’ll see markers on the rocks. Walk straight through the clearing and then back along the left. The trail is faded at this point but just make sure that you keep the river on your right-hand side as you walk along it.

Heading through the clearing

Further up the river you will find a large log bridge that you will need to walk over to cross the river. This is literally a large tree trunk over the river. At one point there was a handrail but it is no longer there so just take your time getting across. The trunk is completely stable and isn’t slippery so as long as you’re careful you won’t have any trouble getting across.

Across the log bridge

Once you’re across the bridge, turn left and continue walking upstream, keeping the river on your left-hand side. After a while you will see a suspension bridge on your left with yellow markers on it; ignore it and continue along the path you’re on.

Ignore the suspension bridge

Further up the path you will see it splits; continue on the right up the hill – the path on the left takes you down to a farm. The trek notes mention a fork where you have to turn left but that first fork is the only one we saw.

Path going up right to the hills

At the top of the hills you will reach a T-junction. Turn left and follow the road into the village of Itualo.

Road to Itualo

When you reach the village you will see a small church directly in front of you and a road to the right of it heading out of town. Right at the entrance to the village you will see a path heading uphill to the right with orange markers beside it. When we asked a local woman in the village which path to take she told us to take the road beside the church. When we got further up the hill we saw that the other path met up with our one, but it went through the backyards of some houses. So if you take that path you will get to the right place but it doesn’t seem as if the locals are happy about hikers walking around their houses so it’s best to take the main road out of the town.

The church with the road to the right of it

Not far down the road out of town you will reach a fork in the road. Take the path to the right that goes uphill. Eventually you will reach a water reserve; continue around it and along the path going uphill.

The water reserve

Further up you will reach a path going uphill to the left (this is where the second path from Itualo meets up with your path). Take this path. You will now have a steady climb zig-zagging up the hill which will take about 20-30 minutes.

Road to the left up the hill
It’s a tough walk uphill

Once at the top you will have a glorious view of the valley; take a break and lots of photos!

But it’s worth it when you get to the top!

At the end of the trail you will reach the village of Chinalo. Turn left and walk down the road. On your left you will see a mirador (viewpoint) which you can take a quick detour to if you want to take more photos/have another look at the valley.

The mirador at the top.

At the end of the trail you will reach a big road. Turn left and follow it all the way into Chugchilan. You will see signs along the way.

The road to Chugchilan.

It’s about 2km to Chugchilan so it’s about a 45 minute walk, but eventually you’ll reach the town.

Finally made it to Chugchilan!

The first place you’ll hit is the Black Sheep Inn. Continue further into town to reach the other hostels. We stayed at the Cloud Forest Hostel which is another 5 minutes down the road.

The Cloud Forest Hostel where we stayed.

Continue to Day 3

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