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Quilotoa Lagoon and Shalala Lodge 2-day hike

Quilotoa Lagoon
Quilotoa Lagoon

Fernando, an ASEGIUM certified mountain guide, and his team invite you to enjoy two days hiking Quilotoa Lagoon and the surrounding natural areas.


2 Days

Jun - Aug


Come discover the gorgeous Quilotoa Lagoon and then spend the night at the nearby Shalala Lodge. The second day we will take advantage of our location and hike in the surrounding area.

You won't want to miss out on this exciting 2-day trip. The Quilotoa Lagoon is a 3-km wide crater lake that was formed by the collapse of a volcano. Moreover, special minerals in the water give the lake a beautiful emerald color. The lagoon is famous throughout Ecuador and around the world. On this trip we will be able to observe the lagoon both from the crater's edge and from the bottom, which we will reach after a one-hour hike.

Quilotoa Lagoon, located just a few hours outside of Quito, is in a scenic area that offers many places to explore. On our way to the lagoon, we will visit the Tigua community to see how they make leather products. After enjoying the lagoon, we will stay at the Shalala Lodge, a small community-run hotel. In addition, this unique lodge is a sustainable tourism enterprise that has a botanical garden and a glass-fronted viewing platform of the lagoon.

On the second day, we will continue the trend of beautiful hikes and views. We will observe the lagoon for one last time and then descend switchback trails down to the Toachi River Gorge. Next, we will hike alongside the Toachi River for 4 to 5 hours. The hike is moderately challenging. Subsequently, we will arrive in the town of Chugchilán to have lunch and explore. Chugchilán is a good example of Ecuador's traditional mountain villages.

First we get to see the beautiful Quilotoa Lagoon, and then we have the opportunity to spend a second day exploring everything this area has to offer. Won't you join me on this 2-day trip to Quilotoa? I can't wait to hear from you. I also offer a one-day guided hike to Quilotoa Lagoon.

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Transportation start and back

- Permit and entrance fees


Day 1: Quilotoa Lagoon

On the first day, we will leave from Quito (2800 m) in the morning and start driving to the Quilotoa Lagoon area (3500 m). On the way, we will first stop at an Indian hut and then at the Tigua community to observe how they make leather crafts. After about 4 hours, we will arrive at the crater viewpoint. We will spend some time learning about the crater and taking pictures. Then will descend for about one hour to the bottom of the lagoon. There we will rest and eat. That night we will sleep at Quilotoa Shalala Lodge.

Day 2: Hike Toachi River to Chugchilan

We will spend the second day hiking from Quilotoa to Chugchilan. We will take one last look at the crater’s edge, taking advantage of magnificent views of the water below. Then we will start hiking down to the small indigenous village of Huayama on a plateau below. We will continue descending on switchbacks to the Toachi River Gorge, where we will then take a moderately challenging hike that lasts about 4 to 5 hours. This hike will take place on the banks of the Toachi river, and we will be surrounded by the canyon’s walls. We will finish the hike by arriving at Chugchilan. Chugchilan is a typical mountain village, without much more than a small plaza, church, and school. It will probably make you feel like you have stepped back 100 years in history. After visiting the village, we will return to Quito.


About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Leader

ASEGUIM Guide from Ecuador

Fernando Iza was born and raised in the Cotopaxi Province of Ecuador and knows the country’s peaks intimately. He is an official ASEGUIM mountain guide with more than 18 years of mountaineering experience climbing in all of Ecuador, as well as in South America, Switzerland, France, and the United States.

Fernando has worked for mountaineering companies in Ecuador, Europe and the United States from a young age. Now, he has set up his own basecamp at Ilinizas Mountain Lodge, right next to Iliniza Volcano, Rumiñahui Volcano, and the famous Cotopaxi Volcano. He has summited Cotopaxi more than 637 times and has summitted Chimborazo Volcano close to 200 times.

Fernando got his degree in Tourism Technology at Cenestur Institute, and in 2021 started studying Business administration with Cuosera.  

He has completed important courses such as:

  • Mountain Guides Course by ASEGUIM (Ecuadorian Association of Mountain Guides),
  • Mountain Guides Evaluation by ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme) in October 2006. This event was organized by the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and ENSA of France
  • Pre-course UIAGM, an event organized by ASEGUIM and ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme)
  • Wilderness first aid courses
  • Ecuadorian Red Cross courses
  • He speaks fluent Spanish and English, as well as a little German, French, Hebrew and Kichua


The most spectacular guided tours that Fernando has done.

  • Antisana South Peak Open new rout
  • Alpamayo
  • Matterhorn
  • Denali


German | French | English



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What people are saying about Fernando



There were no briefings about the upcoming itineraries, I’d mostly find along the way, what’s the plan. He would make changes to his moods. He didn’t inform me in adavance about the specifics of each refugio/ lodge/ camp concerning the distance from car, electricity and would make fun/made snide comments “your choice” of the things I packed at the aftermath, but offered no guidance. I have read from others that he is very knowledgeable and explained a lot- that hasn’t been my experience, he surely is an apt mountaineer, but he wasn’t actively explaining or showing things, he was just always on his cellphone. He could be very short, abrasive and inpatient. At one time even another climber intervened “to save me”



Our guide Fernando was great to adapt the trip for our two little girls. A great experience it was fir us all. Thank you.



Fernando and Sergio are very good guides, not only very safe and motivating in the mountains, but very nice between the climbs. And i have learned a lot too about the culture in the country. Their hotel near Illniza is perfectly located, safe and you are received as if your were at home with Fernando's family. And they will take care of everything, so you just have to concentrate yourself on the climbs. Thank you!



Thank you for putting this trip together for me at the last minute after my group canceled on me. Fernando was a great guide who knows the route up Cotopaxi very well. The meals and lodging were also great and well worth the price, in my opinion.



Great experience. We did Rumiñawi, corázon, and Illiniza Norte as acclimatization hikes. All of them were beautiful. We attempted Cotopaxi but had a snow storm and heavy winds during the night of the summit and we were forced to turn around. The 3 initial climbs prepared us well for Cotopaxi and the altitude. There were some technical scrambling portions on corazon and Illiniza which were very cool. Overall would highly recommend!

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