Hike Fuya Fuya | Day hike from Otavalo the ultimate guide

Fuya means cloud in Kichwa the local indigenous language of the Otavalos people. Legend says that the clouds are born here on it’s twin peaks. When you hike the inactive volcano you will realise why as the clouds seem to form around the peaks then set off on their journey across the amazing landscape around Lagunas de Mojanda.

Situated in the north of Ecuador over looking the town of Otavalo the extinct stratovolcano blew itself out over two hundred thousand years ago and in the process formed three lakes the biggest of which Laguna de Mojanda is where the hike begins.

Fuya Fuya
Lynne on the trial

How to get to the Fuya Fuya trail head

The hike can be done via a tour from Quito but the cost of the tour will be a lot more than staying a few days in Otavalo.  We recommend Otavalo not only for this hike but others such as the Laguna de Cuicocha and you wouldn’t want to miss the craft market.

From Otovalo it’s about an hours taxi ride to the start of the hike,  We organised the taxi through our Hostal.  We were dropped off at the trailhead and arranged to be picked back up in five hours which would give us plenty of time to complete the hike.  We paid $35 when we got back to the hostal.

It’s quite a rough road in places, there has been a couple of landslides and some of the cobbles have been washed away.  With this in mind it would be better to hire a four by four not the usual yellow cab you see around town.  The owner of our hostal ended up taking us himself which worked out quite well as we knew he would return for us.

Where to stay

As we said above we stayed in Otovalo.  We were actually there for a week as it was our first port of call after the border crossing from Colombia. We stayed at Hostal La Rosa which is more budget hotel than hostal but was in a good location and suited our needs.  You will find other accommodation choices here if you’re looking for something with a little more of a hostal vibe.
Fuya Fuya
Information board at the trailhead

Hiking Fuya Fuya

The hike starts at an altitude of 3735 metres and goes up to around 4286 metres so before you take on the challenge you need to make sure you are acclimatised to this kind of hike.  If you have come from Quito or Colombia you are probably already used to the thin air.  If you have come from the low lands you should take a few days to adjust before taking it on. There is a clear path from the drop off point at the laguna all the way up until near the top where it seems to split into three trails.  We kept right which takes you up to the ridge between the two peaks.
 

The hike itself is just under 3.5 kilometres this doesn’t seem a big day but it’s straight up and down and with the thin air the hike is classed as challenging.  I would say it’s more moderate to get up to the ridge between the two peaks and then perhaps slightly more difficult to reach the lower of the two peaks.

Fuya Fuya
Looking right from the ridge

Looking right as you reach the ridge is the slightly lower peak.  This is where most people call the top, it’s a steep slightly eroded path to a surprisingly flat top.  There is a small scramble to get up just over head height with good hand and foot holds. It looks quite imposing but is not to difficult to overcome.

The slightly bigger of the two peaks is more of a test.  You need to walk along the slightly exposed ridge to the base of the peak.  There is then what looks like a quite technical scramble.  I decided not to take it on but I have been assured it’s doable without specialist equipment. I wouldn’t take it on unless you’re confident you can manage the climb up and then of course are able to get yourself back down again.

After you’ve reached the top of one or both peaks you get back down to the track the same way as you went up,  We were quite lucky with the weather we got a good amount of sun and clear skies but with enough cloud cover drifting in and out to make for great views.

Fuya Fuya
The clouds rolling in

Our view

We thought this was a fantastic day out for quite a small amount of money and wold highly recommend you avoid the cost of a tour and do the hike independently.  I wouldn’t attempt it if you don’t have the correct clothing, good hiking boots are needed and layers to protect from the cold and the rain.  

We got a strong burst of rain while waiting to be picked up and we were glad to have our waterproofs with us and a warm fleece.  There is a shelter however, when it rains and the wind gets stronger it can get quite cold out of the sun.  Also make sure you have sun protection a hat and sun scream and enough water to keep you hydrated for the full hike.

Booking resources for your hike of Fuya Fuya

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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