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Chugchilán Things to See and Do

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Aside from relaxing in a hammock while admiring the mountain views, hiking is the number one thing to do here, and there are a variety of fantastic hikes. The walk from the Quilotoa crater to Chugchilán is undoubtedly one of the best short hikes in Ecuador (see Quilotoa Activities for more information); even if you're based in Chugchilán, you can take the bus or hire transport to Quilotoa in the morning, and hike back (it is possible to hike from Chugchilán to Quilotoa, but, as it's mostly uphill, it's longer, more challenging, and not as much fun). Another good hike is from Chugchilán to Isinliví, which passes through the small village of Guantualo and offers plenty of opportunities to admire the landscape.

Other hikes include a four-hour trip to the nearby Bosque Nublado (cloud forest) where you can visit a rural fabrica de quesos (cheese factory) and sample some local cheeses (also try the ice-cream!). A shorter, two to three-hour hike is to the Cañon del Toachi, a canyon that was created some 1,800 years ago from the flow of heated gas and rock from the nearby Quilotoa volcanic crater lake.

Most hikes can be attempted solo, with some good instructions and ideally a map, but don't expect the route to be crystal clear. If you're worried about getting lost, or just prefer somebody else to take the lead, you can hire a local guide-ask at your hotel.

Alternatively, you can hire horses to take you on any of the above hikes.

Whether hiking or horse-back riding, always pay attention to the notoriously quickly changing weather, and be sure to leave ample time to complete hikes well before afternoon rains and darkness falls.

By Martha Crowley

I work as an Editor/Writer at Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador. I first came to Latin America five years ago to escape rainy...

12 Sep 2012

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Chugchilán, Ecuador
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