About Hostal Llullu Llama



The Hostel


Hostal Llullu Llama – local style, a warm atmosphere and ultimate relaxing in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes.

Our hostel was created inside a traditional farmhouse and turned into a beautiful and warm mountain retreat preserving the indigenous style of the house. We embrace our unique location right on the famous Quilotoa Loop, just an hour and a half from the Cotopaxi National park and close to the stunning Illinizas volcanoes.

The hostel offers the perfect place to start your Quilotoa Loop adventure, or to enjoy other outdoor activities. You can also experience rural life and explore local indigenous markets while surrounded by the overwhelming beauty of the Andes Mountains.

We have two warm and cozy common rooms with fireplaces stoked throughout the night and plenty of games on hand and friendships to make. On the outside terrace you can relax with beautiful mountain views, we have also beautiful lama’s on our property to keep you company!

Our recently built SPA area is a must if you are looking for ultimate relaxation after a strenuous hike. Equipped with a solar power heated Jacuzzi, a dry sauna and a turkish bath, this is the perfect add-on to your stay!

Of course we have also a fully equipped bar and lounge area and stunning views of the surrounding countryside from almost every window!

Hostal Llullu Llama
Hostal Llullu Llama
Hostal Llullu Llama

Location and Settings


Hostal Llullu Llama is the best-situated mountain hostel in the Andean mountain range – it is either the starting or the end point of your Quilotoa Loop hike. Located in the village of Isinlivi at only an altitude of 2700m, the mountains surrounding our village are much greener and climate is much warmer in comparison to the higher altitude villages of Chugchilan and Quilotoa. Therefore we feel we are in an extremely privileged and unique location.

The hostel is located in the picturesque small mountain village of Isinlivi and boasts the very best Andes views. The surrounding areas are peppered with tiny highland villages, canyons, rivers, forests and a great place for shorter and longer day hikes. It is also the perfect spot to experience local indigenous culture, traditions and markets. To listen to the numerous fables and myths of the locals, or to go back into time and learn about the old Quechua cultures and history of the area.

Hostal Llullu Llama can be reached within 3 and a half hours of the capital of Quito and within an hour and a half of the Pan American Highway. Roads are great with a mixture of paved and unpaved roads, and showing the most amazing landscapes. Transfers from Quito or other locations can be arranged with prior notice. Please see our Getting Here page for further information.


Getting There


Isinlivi is only 70 km from Quito to the south west as the crow flies, but deep into the rural Andes by road. Hidden from the main Andean valley by a mountain ridge. Remote, but not at all difficult to reach. You leave Quito to the south, and after two hours driving you leave the Pan American Highway to the west to climb and descend on spectacular country roads, very much off the beaten track.

Travel Tip! We highly recommend you to take the bus up to Sigchos, and from there it’s a beautiful 3 to 4 hour hike to Isinlivi, passing by the Toachi river and through the amazing canyon. If you write us an email we would be more than happy to provide you with the hiking instructions!

By Bus

Departs Latacunga’s Terminal Terrestre:

13.00 -- ‘Vivero’ (bus company) (Thursday from Saquisili market and Saturday it leaves at 11.00).

12.15 -- via Sigchos: ’14 de Octubre’ (bus company) (Thursday at 12.00 from Saquisili market).

Note: on Thursday – market day – the bus leaves from Saquisilí, this is no more than twenty minutes from Latacunga. Travelling on Thursday gives you the opportunity to visit this colorful market early in the morning, and take a bus right from the marketplace.


By Car

You need a good car, preferably 4×4, a good road map, and you must be able to ask your way around in Spanish. Never do this road on your own after dark – it’s unpaved, no signs telling you where to go, so it’s not easy to find. A general idea of the route:

Between Quito and Latacunga, you leave the Pan American Highway at Lasso, direction Toacazo. After Toacazo you head for Sigchos, or find the most direct way over the pass at Cerro Guinopana. This way is beautiful, but the hardest to find and unpaved. The road up ntil Sigchos is paved, and from Sigchos to Isinlivi unpaved. In Sigchos you go to the main plaza, from there you go down and left for the road to Isinliví (ask!) that takes you down to the Toachi river, across a cement bridge, and then up again. At one point you will see a sign saying “Barrio Cochalo de Isinlivi , this is NOT the road you should take as it takes you to a different village called Cochalo! Just continue the road up left, and keep on going until you reach Isinlivi. Isinlivi is a tiny village of just a few streets and so very easy to find!

We do not recommend to drive through the mountains after dark. It is a very safe area, but in the dark it is difficult to orientate yourself and find your way!


Luggage

Please note that hiking with lots of heavy luggage can be a challenge in the mountains. Therefore we recommend you to store your luggage at one of the hostels in Latacunga. Another option is to store your luggage in Isinlivi and hike the full 4 days/3 nights loop!

Area
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Quilotoa Loop


The “Quilotoa Loop” is the common name given to a roughly 200km loop through the Ecuadorian Andes just west of Volcan Cotopaxi. There is no defined starting or ending point and in addition to exhilarating walking trails, a variety of motorized transportation is available. The most common trail stretches between the stunning Laguna Quilotoa, an extinct volcano caldera filled with alkaline water around 250m deep, through the village of Chugchilan with the quaint hamlet of Isinlivi as its northern terminus.

There are several ways you can hike the Quilotoa Loop. It is possible to just spend 2 days on the loop, or you can even hike for up to 6 days if you like!

Please find below the most popular routes from our guests:

Cotopaxi, indigenous market, Chugchilan and Quilotoa

Day 1 (Sunday): Book a daytrip to the Cotopaxi national park through one of the travel agencies in Latacunga or Quito and ask for a drop off in Isinlivi. (the Hostal Tiana in Latacunga can help you out with this, or in Quito we recommend chicking out with Happy Gringo travel agency). Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 2 (Monday): Take the amazing day hike up to the Monday market in Guantualo, this is a non-touristy indigenous market high up in the mountains. Be there early enough to visit the animal market which is a great way to learn more about the farmers in the area. Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 3 (Tuesday): Hike from Isinlivi to Chugchilan. This hike follows the Toachi canyon and you will hike a great part along the river and pass through small highland villages. Overnight in Chugchilan.

Day 4 (Wednesday): Hire a truck to get you to the Quilotoa crater lake. From there you can do the hike inside the crater and up again. Enjoy stunning views of the crater and surrounding areas. From here you can take the bus back to Latacunga.

Isinlivi and Quilotoa

Day 1: Take the bus to Sigchos and hike to Isinlivi (3 to 4 hours) or take the bus that goes straight to Isinlivi and take an afternoon walk in the surrounding area. Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 2: Get up early for an authentic cow-milking experience! After breakfast you can hike up to the local cheese factory where Magaly the owner will show you around. You will learn exactly how the cheese is made and afterwards you can even do some tasting! Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 3: Our transport will take you to the Quilotoa crater. From there you can hike inside the crater and up again to enjoy the beautiful views. From there you can take a bus to Latacunga.

Isinlivi, Chugchilan and Quilotoa

Day 1: Take the bus to Sigchos and hike to Isinlivi (3 to 4 hours) or take the bus that goes straight to Isinlivi and take an afternoon walk in the surrounding area. Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 2: Hike from Isinlivi to Chugchilan (4 to 6 hours). This hike follows the Toachi canyon and you will hike a great part along the river and pass through small highland villages. Overnight in Chugchilan.

Day 3: Hike from Chugchilan to Quilotoa (4-6 hours). This hike passes through some beautiful indigenous villages and you can see that you are getting to the higher altitude areas, dryer and rocky mountains. The last bit is a steep climb up the crater, with a surprising and stunning view over the lake when reaching the top. You can take the bus back to Latacunga from Quilotoa.

Saquisili, Isinlivi, Chugchilan and Quilotoa

Day 1 (Thursday): An early start is need to visit the indigenous market of Saquisili! There is a bus that takes you from the market straight to Isinlivi. In the afternoon there is time to relax in the sauna, or to explore some of the shorter hikes in the surrounding mountains. Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 2 (Friday): Hike from Isinlivi to Chugchilan (4 to 6 hours). This hike follows the Toachi canyon and you will hike a great part along the river and pass through small highland villages. Overnight in Chugchilan. Overnight Chugchilan.

Day 3 (Saturday): Hike from Chugchilan to Quilotoa (4-6 hours). This hike passes through some beautiful indigenous villages and you can see that you are getting to the higher altitude areas, dryer and rocky mountains. The last bit is a steep climb up the crater, with a surprising and stunning view over the lake when reaching the top. You can take the bus back to Latacunga from Quilotoa.

Full Loop! Isinlivi, Malingua Pamba, Quilotoa, Chucgilan, Isinlivi

Day 1: Take the bus from Latacunga or on Thursday from Saquisili market to Isinlivi. Overnight Isinlivi.

Day 2: Hike from Isinlivi to Malingua Pamba (3 to 4 hours). Malingua Pamba is a small village and you can spend the night with one of the local indigenous families – a great experience! Overnight Malingua Pamba.

Day 3: Hike from Malingua Pamba to Quilotoa (4 to 5 hours). In Quilotoa you enjoy the stunning views over the lake. Overnight Quilotoa.

Day 4: Hike from Quilotoa to Chugchilan (4 to 5 hours). Overnight Chugchilan.

Day 5: Hike from Chugchilan to Isinlivi. Overnight Isinlivi.

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To do in Isinlivi


Hiking

Our location provides a huge array of day walking opportunities from a 15 minute stroll to a perfect sunset lookout through a 3½ hour walk to neighbouring market towns all the way to 6 hour return hikes to nearby mountains where often you will be able to pick your own wild blueberries ready for the evening’s dessert! And of course Isinlivi makes a perfect stop on the “Quilotoa Loop” walk being 4-6 hours from Chugchilan and 4-5 hours from Sigchos, or 3-4 hourse from Malingua Pamba.

Markets

In addition to walking options Isinlivi is within easy reach of two weekly local markets at Sasquisili and Guantualo where locals trade livestock and produce far away from the typical tourist scene. There is also a nice market in Sigchos held and in Zumbahua.

Plan your trip around the market days:

Monday – Guantualo

Thursday – Saquisili

Saturday – Zumbahua

Sunday – Sigchos

Cow Milking

Our neighbors would love to take you for an early morning cow milking activity! A great experience and a fantastic way to learn more about traditional farm life in the Andes and to share with the locals! Enjoy your own milk at your breakfast at the hostel!

Cheese Factory

Visit the local cheese factory. Magaly, the owner, is always happy to receive guests and to share her stories about her family business already producing cheese for over 45 years! You can see the process of the cheese making and of course also taste it yourself! Some of our guests have said that the visit to the cheese factory has been one of the best and most inspiring visits of their loop experience!

Horseback Riding

Our neighbors have beautiful horses and are willing to take you on horseback riding trips through the mountains for between 2 up to 6 hours if you like! A great way of exploring the surroundings without having to hike! Let our staff know in advance!