GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 36.92 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 622 Meters
Total Descent: 1139 Meters

F-3.0 Sendero Ecologico, Loja – Vilcabamba (complete Trail)

Distance         36.75 km

Time               8.0 hours

Altitude          1530 m – 2380 m

Ascent            765 m

Descent          1235 m

Rating             Hard 4/5 (For the long distance)

Start               Loja, Parque Lineal La Tebaida, (Supermaxi) 

End                 Vilcabamba Tourist office


The project of the Sendero Ecologico consists of a revival of the old road, which used to connect the town of Loja with Vilcabamba, 41 kilometers to the South, more than half a century ago. As a favorite project of the present Alcalde of the Loja Province, José Bolívar Castillo (El Chato), the rehabilitation work on the project started in early 2015. The work was not executed without some resistance from the local population, mainly the people of the Barrio El Porvenir (Malacatos). The special interests of some individuals, engaged in illegal mining of River- gravel and sands, were touched, so they mobilized sympathizers to their cause, to resist the execution of the works. Up to 190 Police were engaged at one time, to protect workers and officials of the project. Meanwhile things have calmed down, the trail in this area is completed and the illegal mining was minimized. One last part of the project, a new trail from the River Chamba-bridge at the entrance of Vilcabamba, to the Centro Recreational (Zoo) at Yamburara, is still only in the planning stage, and it remains to be seen, whether it ever will be executed.

Few people might hike the complete Sendero Ecologico in one go. Therefore it can conveniently be hiked in different stages. Due to the vicinity of the highway, the trail can be easily accessed in many places.

The four obvious Stages are:

  • Loja (Parque Lineal la Tabaida, oposite Supermaxi) -  Cajanuma Entrance of PN Podocarpus, 9.5 km (Hike F-3.1)
  • Cajanuma / Caxarumi Entrance – Rumizhitana 10.8 km (Hike F-3.2)
  • Rumizhitana – Landangui 8.5 km (Hike F-3.3)
  • Landangui - Vilcabamba 8.5 km (Hike F-3.4)

Access from Vilcabamba to the starting point at Supermaxi Loja, can be by yellow Taxi (11 de Mayo, $ 2.25) or Vilcatouris-Bus ($ 1.50).


Route: With few exceptions, the whole trail is well marked with green Sendero Ecologico signs.

The trail essentially follows the Zamora River to near its origin at the continental watershed at Cajanuma pass, and continues down along the young Malacatos River. (The waters of Zamora River follow the long way via Rio Marañon/Amazonas to the Atlantic, while the Malacatos River drains via northern Peru into the Pacific Ocean.) Past the village of Rumizhitana, the trail leaves Malacatos River at Landangui, to climb past the Barrio El Prado Bajo to the Pass Portete Cararango. Descending to the Highway and ascending to the Shrine at the Cararango-highway-Pass, the trail passes Cararango Church and hamlet, to drop via the Hamlet of Amala towards Vilcabamba. After a short stretch along the Highway, the trail enters Vilcabamba on the old Cobblestone road through the prominent arched gate.

For more details, consult the descriptions of the respective trail stages:  F-3.1 / F-3.2 / F-3.3 / F-3.4




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