Lake Quilotoa to Chugchillan

  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • From the crater rim over Guayama - © William Mackesy
  • The turn-off from the rim - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Looking north - © William Mackesy
  • From the crater rim across to Chugchilian - © William Mackesy
  • Valley between Chugchilan and Guayama  - © Flickr User - mrthomson
  • Chugchillan to Guayama view - © Flickr User - mrthomson
  • View to Chugchillan - © Flickr User - mrthomson
  • Near Chugchillan - © William Mackesy
  • Near Chugchillan - © William Mackesy
  • Near Chugchillan - © William Mackesy
  • View from Chugchillan  - © Flickr User - mrthomson

Key information: Lake Quilotoa to Chugchillan

    • Walk from the rim of the great Quilotoa caldera-with-lake across the deep Rio Sihui canyon to a village on the far side.
      •  Spectacular and fascinating walking.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating92
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest10
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating92
  • Note: Negs: Altitude

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 5-7 hrs
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,800 m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

From the crater rim over Guayama - © William Mackesy


This walk gives you arguably the very best of the Quilotoa area. While you can walk this route either way, Quilotoa to Chuchillian is mainly downhill, so better for those who are not yet fully acclimatized, although it still involves significant climbing.

Start with a stretch round a quarter of the rim of dramatic Lake Quilotoa, taking in the extraordinary caldera with its bright turquoise lake some 500m below.

Then head down the long slopes and canyons of the old volcano's flanks, taking in farmland, the village of Guayama, valley bottom microclimates, and the vivid and still traditional way of life of the area's indigenous peoples.

Drop into the deep Rio Sihui canyon, then slog back up, through fascinating and lovely side canyons with their own microclimates to Chugchillian.

Look in on the delightful Black Sheep Inn just outside for a reviving drink-with-a-view.

There are several possible routes; the one recommended (with a detailed guide) by The Black Sheep Inn takes 5-6 hours if walking from Quilotoa, 6-8 hours if walking uphill.

Consider walking with a local guide, as way-finding isn't that simple and he/she will add to the richness of this walk.

This is demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather (the crater rim can be windy and very cold). Altitude can cause problems. Come prepared, including proper acclimatization.

Have a look at TripAdvisor - there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on guides, places to hike and places to stay on the Galapagos.

Ecuador Climbing and Hiking Guide - Viva,have worthwhile sections on this walk. Find relevant books by using our Amazon search function:

Find the books and maps listed above, and many more:

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Quilotoa Area walk page.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

From the crater rim across to Chugchilian - © William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© William Mackesy...

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