Pululahua Volcano

Pululahua Volcano, Ecuador
Elevation Table
Highest Summit:3356m
Crater viewpoint:2833m
Crater floor:2505m
El Chivo:2718m
El Pondoña:2975m


The Pululahua complex is practically on the equator north of Quito near the towns of San Antonio de Pichincha, Calacalí and Pomasqui. The highest point is the Sincholahua hill summit at 3356m. Unlike other Ecuadorian volcanoes, the Pululahua does not appear as a large conical mountain, but is made up of several volcanic domes scattered over an area of around 40 km2 and a main crater 3-4 km in diameter between these domes. The Pululahua is frequently visited by hikers looking for a picturesque place near Quito; one activity is hiking to the main domes summits: "El Chivo", "El Pondoña" and "Los Cerros de La Marca". An important feature is that the Pululahua is the only active crater in Ecuador with a permanent population living inside, between all kinds of crops and grazing animals.

National Park: Reserva Geobotánica Pululahua


Pululahua Crater, Moraspungo
Pululahua Crater, Moraspungo
View from El Mirador
View from El Mirador
El Chivo
El Chivo

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Western Cordillera; 23 kilometers in a straight line north of Quito; 5 km from the Middle of the World Monument. There are two routes for approaching the Pululahua:

1) Normal Approach "Mirador": From Quito take the highway to the "Mitad del Mundo" (northbound), passing through the "Mitad del Mundo" roundabout, continue for about 4 kilometers on the motorway to Calacalí (Hw 28), until you come to the sign on the right indicating the way to the crater viewpoint, an additional kilometer on pavement until the Pululahua Viewpoint access control.

2) Moraspungo Approach: Follow the same motorway for about 7 kilometers from the "Mitad del Mundo" roundabout, on the right you will see the sign that indicates the descent road to the Pululahua crater. This road is ballasted and normally for any vehicle.

Normal Approach "Mirador":
Calacalí Hw – "El Mirador" Parking5min1.3km
El Mirador – Crater floor45min – 1hHiking
Moraspungo Approach:
Calacali Hw – Crater floor45min13.2km


  • One day is usually used for any activity on this mountain.
  • If you do not have private transport, it is convenient to rent a taxi at the entrance to the Middle of the World Monument to take you to the crater’s viewpoint. The cost will be about $ 8.
  • The entrance time to the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve is from 8am to 5pm, every day of the year.
  • The Pululahua usually has a hot and sunny climate during a good part of the year. A recommendation for those who want to hike: bring sunscreen, a hat and enough fluids to hydrate.
  • When you start descending to the crater from the Mirador, the first section is a zigzag of inclined hard earth, some caution is advised.
  • There are many possibilities for hiking inside the crater; likewise, the Pululahua offers excellent and picturesque routes for cycling.
  • A small commune sits inside the crater; It is a place of obligatory passage when you go down from the viewpoint; there it is possible to buy very basic supermarket supplies.
  • It is possible to camp in the commune sector, next to the park's guarding facilities.

Climbing and Hiking

There are some attractive hiking trails in the Pululahua area:

  • Descent from the viewpoint to the Pululahua crater
  • El Chivo summit hiking trail
  • El Pondoña Viewpoint
  • El Pondoña Loop
  • Path to the hot springs - lime kilns
  • Crater - Guayllabamba River trail
  • Hiking Pululahua - San José de Minas
  • Hiking Crater - Niebli
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Lantana rugulosa
Lantana rugulosa
Barnadesia arborea
Barnadesia arborea
Kohleria spicata
Kohleria spicata
Alternanthera porrigens
Alternanthera porrigens

Click here to view to flora gallery

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