Quilotoa Loop Budget travel

Quilotoa Loop Budget: How To Spend Under $100 On The 3-Day Trek

The Quilotoa Loop is a self-guided, three-day trek in Ecuador and a brilliant gateway hike for backpackers and budding outdoors people looking to start trekking. The trek is low cost with no need for a guide, but you will still need to pay for accommodation and food along the way. We’ve broken down our spend to cover a 4 day/3 night excursion for one of Ecuador’s most popular hikes.


What Should I Budget For The Quilotoa Loop?

For the full Quilotoa Loop, you should aim to budget $33 a day with a total spend of just under $100 over the 3-days. However, I would recommend bringing $150 in cash just to be safe.


This budget of $100 includes your accommodation, transport and food. 


Here is a quick breakdown of what you can be expected to spend your money on over the 3-days: 

Quilotoa Crater, Ecuador

Quilotoa Loop Daily Spend Breakdown

Here’s a daily budget breakdown of the Quilotoa Loop so you can see where exactly we spent our money:

*Quilotoa is more touristic than the other stops. People come to spend one or two nights here, and so your hostel price usually doesn’t include your dinner. The hostels typically serve dinner, but you’ll have to pay extra. However, this gives you the freedom to choose your celebratory dinner, having completed the loop.


All costs were recorded as of October 2019

Here’s a daily budget breakdown so you can see where exactly we spent our money.


If you want a more detailed guide into planning and navigating the Quilotoa Loop then follow the link below.


Quilotoa Loop

How Much Does Food Cost On The Quilotoa Loop?

Depending on where you stay in Latacunga, you should get breakfast in your hostel before getting the bus to Sigchos. Next to the bus station there’s supermarket so you can stock up on some lunch/snack items before departing.


As we mentioned, the hostels provide you with dinner and breakfast as part of the stay. So, on the first day when you reach your accommodation, you will get dinner, and breakfast the following morning.


They also sell beer and wine. There’s no better feeling than enjoying a crisp beer having completed a day hiking. Treat yourself to one or two but don’t overdo it as it could make the following day even more painful!

Each hostel also offers a packed lunch at an additional cost of between $2-5. The lunches are substantial – usually a big sandwich, fruit and a juice drink to keep you fuelled through the long days.


At the Quilotoa crater, some hostels/hotels provide the lunch/dinner option for travellers going in the opposite direction on the loop. However, as we ended up here on the last day, we didn’t book this and chose to pay for our dinner.


In each of the towns, you can find small stores selling extras such as cookies, ice creams, bottles of water etc. to stock up before leaving.


Quilotoa Loop
Quilotoa Loop
Quilotoa Loop Trail

How Much Does Accommodation Cost On The Quilotoa Loop?

Over the three days of trekking on the Quilotoa Loop, you stay in three quaint little towns set amongst the Central Andean mountains. Each town has several hotels, hostels and ecol-lodges catering towards backpackers completing the hike.


The best way to keep your Quilotoa Loop spend low is to book the hostel’s shared dorms. They all have private options; however, if you prefer or are travelling as a couple.


A shared dorm at a hostel on the Quilotoa Loop costs around $20 with privates costing between $25-30. This price will usually include dinner and possibly even breakfast.


On the final day (if you go the anti-clockwise route which we suggest), you will arrive in Quilotoa. The accommodation here is a little more expensive as it gets a greater influx of tourists coming to see the crater only.


For more information on the best hostels and places to stay along the Quilotoa Loop, click the link below.



Quilotoa Loop Map
Quilotoa Loop - view of a hostel

How Much Does Transport Cost On The Quilotoa Loop?

Like the rest of Ecuador, buses are cheap. All you need to budget for is your bus from Latacunga to Sigchos on the first day ($5)  and Quilotoa back to Latacunga on the last ($5).


So your total cost for transport on the Quilotoa loop shouldn’t exceed $10. 


Bring a little extra cash with you in case you need to return from one of the towns in case of an emergency or something. Buses do run between them but infrequently, but the best option is paying a local to take you, which could cost anywhere between $10-$20.

The Quilotoa Loop is a great way to stick to a budget, but some people don’t have 3 days to spare. Check out our comparison guide on the loop vs a day trip from Quito to see the pros and cons of both:



Quilotoa Loop FAQs

Can You Use Your Card On The Quilotoa Loop?

First things first, remember to bring cash. You cannot use your card on the Quilotoa Loop.


The Quilotoa loop takes you to some of the most remote parts of Ecuador; tiny villages way out in the Andean countryside, and therefore they won’t be able to accept card. It’s best to bring dollars to cover all your expenses and then a little extra just in case.

Is The Quilotoa Loop Expensive?

The Quilotoa Loop is one of the most budget friendly activities you can do in Ecuador.


This is a fantastic 3-day experience for backpackers and hikers looking to do something unique on a budget.


Many people don’t like the idea of guided tours, so the Quilotoa Loop is perfect if that’s you. It’s completely self-guided, and the hostels along the loop provide your food as well so costs are kept low. 

How Much Cash Should I Bring On The Quilotoa Loop?

I would recommend taking $150 in cash on the Quilotoa Loop.


This gives you enough to cover your costs and then leaves you $50 to spend on any extras such as snacks, beer/wine in the evening or even extending a day and staying at the Quilotoa crater.

How Much Is Accomodation On The Quilotoa Loop?

Accommodation will be your highest cost on the Quilotoa Loop but this isn’t a bad thing. A bed in a dorm cost’s on average $20 a night. But, for most hostels along the route,  the hostel price will include accommodation and two meals (dinner and breakfast the next morning).


The first two stops along the route are Isinlivi and Chugchilan. These are tiny villages with nothing more than the hostels you stay in and a small shop. Therefore, the hostels provide you with food.

Do I Need To Bring My Own Food On The Quilotoa Loop?

No you don’t need to bring your own food. The hostels along the route provide everything you need.


Almost all of the hostels include dinner with the price of the room for a night, and some even include breakfast as well.  Each town has a small shop where you can buy snacks and water. When you reach Quilotoa there are several restaurants as well. 

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