- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Off the beaten track
It was at Chugchilán that I finished the three-day hike along the Quilotoa Loop. Looking back, it was one of my favourite moments from my trip to Ecuador.
Chugchilán is a lovely, little village nestled at 3,200m altitude. It's surrounded by a stunning landscape, so typical of Ecuador. Lots of people will tell you it's peaceful and I can confirm that after a 3-day hike, it's the perfect place to recharge your batteries.
Accommodation-wise, there's not much choice. Only one place caters for budget travellers. It's very friendly, in particular the communal living area. You can curl up by a fireplace, in the company of travellers who come from all corners of the world.
I was working for a few weeks at a hostel in the village of Isinlibi on the Quilotoa Loop Trek and I managed to get a day and a half off to go to Chugchilan, which I'd been told so much about by weary hikers arriving from their walk.
But at least I knew that it's easier to go in the Chugchilan - Isinlibi direction rather than the other way round, so I walked to Sigchos where I caught a bus to Chugchilan. I arrived mid-afternoon and it was really chilly! Typical...it's hot in the morning and then around 2pm the sky clouds over and you start to shiver...
I stopped at the hostel and rested up, knowing that I had a long day ahead of me. I was planning to visit the Quilotoa Lagoon (leaving on a 5am bus), followed by a 4-5 hour walk back to Isinlivi. I did a quick tour of the village but there wasn't a lot to see. I checked out the activities on offer; you can go horseriding and/or take a tour of the local cheese factory, but it was too late and I wouldn't have the time the next day. But no matter, I decided to bed down and prepare myself for the next day's adventure!