The Forgotten Western Valleys

ECU-61-LT / 12-day trip / Grade: T2

Trekking: From Angamarca to Insilivi by Quilotoa’s Crater Lake
Trekking peaks: Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m) – Fuya-Fuya (4100 m)

The Forgotten Western Valleys 2

The Ecuadorian Andes region, with its numerous volcanoes at different altitudes, gorgeous nature and exotic indigenous villages and cultures, makes trekking here the experience of a lifetime.

On this 12-day itinerary we offer you an excellent acclimatization program, including a trekking program in an absolutely beautiful, authentic and remote area, which is rarely visited by other tourists or mountaineers. After the trek, the itinerary goes north to the region of Otavalo, to ascend up to a lovely summit called Fuya-Fuya, followed by a visit to the Otavalo market and the archeological ruins of Chocasqui.

We provide excellent professional guides, equipment, good accommodation, transportation, food, etc. Also, we recommend that you take a look at our extensions trips–these will add to your adventure and show you some of the natural wealth and variety a small country like Ecuador has to offer.

Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Day 2 City tour in Quito (2800 m)
Day 3 Climb: Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m)
Day 4 Trekking: Los Pinos campsite (3300 m)
Day 5 Trekking: Pigua campsite (4073 m))
Day 6 Trekking: Quilotoa Crater Lake (3900 m)
Day 7 Trekking: Chugchilan town (3198 m))
Day 8 Trekking: Insilivi town (3000 m)
Day 9 Town of Otavalo (2600 m)
Day 10 Climb: Fuya-Fuya Volcano (4100 m)
Day 11 Otavalo’s market & Cochasqui’s ruins
Day 12 Departure
Day 1

Arrival in Quito
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Quito – City Tour
Half-day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. We leave the hotel by bus and will see the transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. We get off the bus and will have time to see all the interesting churches, plazas etc. But also simply enjoy the local atmosphere, the many shops and sellers. After these interesting sights, we continue by bus to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the centre of Quito overviewing the city and the historical centre. Also from here, on clear days, we may observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Climb: Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m)
Pick-up at hotel in Quito and transfer (2 h) to the head of trail, located at an altitude of 3848 m. From this point a very well marked trail will lead the way by farm land up to the a paramo area. Here the trail heads southwards ascending progressively until the base of the crater. The last section is the steepest, following a mountain trail up to the crater rim. The last meters to the summit are done by the edge of the crater with nice views down to the valley of Machachi also known as the “Volcanoes Avenue” and the highlands to the west. On clear days there is a perfect view to the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and Artisana volcanoes. The descent is following back the same trail. Back at the starting point the group will be transferred (2 h) to the outskirts of the Machachi (2930 m).
Night in mountain lodge.
Ascent: 516 m / Descent: 516 m / Highest altitude: 4164 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Trekking: Los Pinos campsite (3300 m)
Early transfer (4 h) to the town of Angamarca (2985 m), located on the Western flank of the Andes. The first part of the road is very good, leaving it after 2,5 h for a dirt road that makes the last bit of the trip a bit slow. There will be a couple of stops at viewpoints, as the landscape is very nice and different from the main valley, where Quito is located. Angamarca is a remote village with a traditional way of life, which gives a good insight of the local life style. The trek starts from the town, after having lunch. The day’s hike is about 3 hours and follows a local trail to meet a dirt road which leads to the first camp: Los Pinos (3300 m).
Night in tents.
Ascent: 315 m / Highest altitude: 3300 m / Activity duration: 3 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 5

Trekking: Pigua Campsite (4073 m)
After breakfast and having packed down the camp, the ascent will follow the Yayachanchi’s valley up a river that carries the same name. The hike starts by a dirt road and after 30 min. it takes a local trail. The Ascent is constant and very enjoyable; passing corn and beans fields on the way. After a relative steep climb, the first houses of the Yayachachi town (3900 m) will appear. This isolated settlement, was until recent time only accesible by foot or horse, but a recently open dirt road has ease access and improved the life of the local people. A short break for a snack and then keep on by the same valley, leaving the settlement, and aiming at a well marked ridge which, after gaining altitude, traverses towards the East reaching the Pigua mountain pass (4200 m). From the pass an easy descend to one of the most beautiful valley on the trek, crossing a river, and heading to “La Chorrera de Pigua” (Tigua’s waterfall), where it camp (4073 m) will be setup.
Night in tents.
Ascent: 900 m / Descent: 127 m / Highest altitude: 4200 m / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 6

Trekking: Quilotoa Crater Lake (3900 m)
Leaving Pigua’s campsite, taking an almost inexistent trail up the mountain side heading East, will lead to the highest point on the trek: Zumbagua mountain pass (4466 m). This pass has some of the best views to the high volcanoes, when clear, it is possible to see Cotopaxi, Ilinizas, Chimborazo, Los Altares and the active Tunguragua with its smoke column emerging from the crater. From the pass, a green valley opens downwards, dying in a lower valley that continues to an Indigenous settlement. After the settlement and descending a narrow gorge, the local’s transports will take (30-45 min) the group to the town of Zumbagua and from there on to Quilotoa’s crater lake (3900 m). Quilotoa is a known tourist attraction in Ecuador, due to its great location and the perfect round shape of the crater and the deep green colour of the lake inside the crater. The place is very relaxed and perfect to enjoy a cold beer watching the sunset, with the Ilinizas in the background.
Night in local hostel.
Ascent: 393 m / Descent: 766 m / Highest Altitude: 4466 m / Activity duration: 6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Trekking: Chugchilan town (3198 m)
About 8 AM we will start our trek by the Western trail, hiking around about a third of the crater by a spectacular trail by the upper edge of the rim. With clear skies the view is incredible towards the distant Cotopaxi and Illinizas volcanoes, the lake at the bottom of the crater, the Western valley and Guayama and its town. From the rim, we will descend into the Guayama valley and follow a series of trails and dirt roads until we reached the Rio Toachi gorge. This last section is quite steep following a old trail to the river crossing, where a short hike will lead us to the town of Chugchilan and our local lodge.
Night at hotel/lodge.
Ascent: 203 m / Descent: 1025 m / Highest Altitude: 4020 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 8

Trekking: Insilivi town (3000 m)
From Chugchilan the landscape becomes greener and colorful. There is plenty of small local production of the most basic harvest as potatoes, corn, beans, etc. The live style still very traditional and it is mainly inhabited by peasants and descendants from Indigenous groups. We will walk by a changing landscape with valleys and gorges decorated with the Toachi River, until our next stop at Insilivi town, where we will stay at another lovely lodge to enjoy a pleasant afternoon.
Night at hotel/lodge.
Ascent: 150 m / Descent: 200 m / Highest Altitude: 3000 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 9

Town of Otavalo (2600 m)
After breakfast, the tour continues to the town of Otavalo. It will take approximately 4 hour drive to reach the town. The drive is fascinating, as it travel through the relatively dry areas caused by the “rain-shadow” of the volcanoes, and it is easy to observe the sediments suggesting the formation of this part of the Andes. Crossing the Equatorial line and soon pass into the lush Otavalo region, where the Otavalo Indians have managed to continue their proud traditions. This valley is very beautiful, surrounded by smaller volcanoes and lakes.
There will be a stop to visit the Equatorial monument and learn about this interesting place. Upon arrival in Otavalo, there will be time to visit the food market, a very interesting spot and seldom visited by tourist. In the afternoon, the guide will do a briefing for the next day’s activities.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Climb: Fuya-Fuya Volcano (4100 m)
Early morning departure, taking the Pan-American Highway back towards Quito. Few kilometers from Otavalo, a dirt road (1 h) will lead the way up to the Mojanda reserve; an inactive volcano with a turquoise lake called Caricocha. Mojanda has 2 extinct volcanoes: Fuya-Fuya and Cerro Negro, very close to each other.
The main objective in this itinerary is Fuya-Fuya (4100 m). The trek starts from the lake’s shores (3800 m) and follows a well define trail through grassland and shrub lands (Paramo) up to the summit. This is a very nice trek, with a gentle ascent and incredible views down to the exploded caldera. Once back at the parking place, the vehicle will take the team back to Otavalo.
Ascent: 300 m / Descent: 300 m / Highest Altitude: 4100 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 11

Otavalo’s market & Cochasqui’s ruins
Free morning at Otavalo’s famous indigenous market. After lunch transfer (1.5 h) to the Archaeological ruins of Cochasqui, where we will have the opportunity to visit some of the best-preserved Pyramids and listens to the local history. From Cochasqui we have about 2 hours to our hotel in Quito.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Time to leave the volcanoes of Ecuador!
Pick up at hotel and transfer out to Quito’s Airport (1-2 h) – End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

ECU-61-LT – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


  • Local mountain guide during the entire program
  • Assistant mountain guide during the mountain itinerary in ratio 1:5
  • City guide for Quito’s city tour
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in hotels in the city of Quito
  • 1 nights in shared double rooms in the town of Machachi
  • 1 night in shared double room in basic lodge in the town of Quilotoa
  • 1 night in shared double room in lodge in the town of Chugchilan
  • 1 night in shared double room in lodge in the town of Insilivi
  • 2 nights in shared double room in hotel in the town of Otavalo
  • 2 nights in shared double tents in campsites
  • Entry fee to the National parks and natural reserves
  • Entry fees to museums and sights mentioned in the program
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 people per tent during the trek
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Porters and mule/horses for group campsite equipment and personal equipment
  • Cook during the trek
  • Meals as specified in the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic and international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Personal camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra 1 & 2 or similar

MACHACHI: Hosteria La Estacion or similar

QUILOTOA:  Cabañas Quilotoa (no website) or similar

CHUGCHILAN: Hostal Mamá Hilda or similar

INSILIVI: Hostal Llullu Llama or similar

OTAVALO: Hacienda Cusín  or similar

Tags: Light Trekking, Ecuador, Angamarca, Pasochoa, Cotopaxi trek, T2