Yanahurco (Mojanda)

Yanahurco de Mojanda, Ecuador
Elevation Table
Highest Summit:4280m
Summit 1:4275m
Lagoons Viewpoint:4047m


Mojanda is an inactive stratovolcano whose caldera is occupied by three lagoons:

  • Laguna Grande (Caricocha): 2km of approximate diameter and perimeter of 7km.
  • Laguna Negra (Huarmicocha): 600 meters long and 300 meters wide.
  • Laguna Chiquita (Chiriacu): with 360 meters diameter.

The Laguna Grande is surrounded by some peaks, among which the most outstanding are the Yanahurco to the East and the Fuya Fuya to the West.


Yanahurco Peak
Yanahurco Peak
Lagoons Viewpoint
Lagoons Viewpoint

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Nudo de Mojanda Cajas; 38 kilometers northeast of Quito; 10 km northwest of Tabacundo.

1) Normal Route Tabacundo: Arriving at Tabacundo by the Panamerican Hw from Quito, you will find a sign on the left (towards the north) that indicates the road to the "Lagunas de Mojanda". The road is ballasted and increasingly difficult as it approaches the paramo, more advisable for 4x4 or high traction vehicles. To ascend to the Yanahurco, you should start the hike at the Lagoons Viewpoint.

2) Otavalo Route: This is the easiest route for the Laguna Grande in any vehicle, also to climb the Fuya Fuya. Arriving at Otavalo by the Panamericana from Quito, take a road to the southwest (left) that goes to the "Lagunas de Mojanda". The road to Mojanda is cobbled and allows the access for any vehicle to the Laguna Grande. In winter time it may be impossible to continue towards the Yanahurco. One option would be to start hiking from this point adding about 45 minutes to 1 hour to the ascension time to the summit.

3) Malchinguí Route: This is the most difficult approach, recommended only for 4×4 vehicles and good drivers. Take the road Quito - Guayllabamba - San José de Minas, just past the Protected Forest of Jerusalem, it deviates to the right by pavement until the town of Malchinguí. The road to Mojanda starts at the central square and continues all the way up following a cobbled, ballasted and then muddy road. Almost arriving at the paramo, on the descent that passes through the hacienda house (a small house), it is taken to the left. This road reaches the Laguna Chiquita and from there with much difficulty the Lagoons Viewpoint.

Tabacundo Route:
Tabacundo – Lagoons Viewpoint40min14km
Otavalo Route:
Otavalo – Laguna Grande45min16km
Laguna Grande – Lagoons Viewpoint30min6.4km
Malchinguí Route:
Malchinguí – Laguna Chiquita50min20km
Laguna Chiquita – Lagoons Viewpoint24min6km


  • It is usually used a single day to ascend to the summit of this mountain.
  • If you don't have private transportation, it's convenient to rent a pickup truck taxi in Otavalo or Tabacundo.
  • The cobbled road leaves from Otavalo and allows an easy approach for any type of vehicle; the Tabacundo approach is better for 4x4 or high traction vehicles.
  • The Mojanda Lagoons area has the possibility of several adventure activities: between them some nice hiking and biking routes.
  • You can continue by 4×4 from the Yanahurco peak to the Laguna Grande or the Laguna Chiquita; Recommendation for the pilots: learn to swim and probably to dive.

Climbing and Hiking

There are some attractive hiking trails in the Mojanda Lagoons area:

  • Climb to the summit of the Fuya Fuya peak
  • Climb to the summit of the Yanahurco peak
  • Laguna Grande loop trekking
  • Pirámides de Cochasquí to Laguna Chiquita trail
  • Malchinguí to Laguna Chiquita trail
  • Yanahurco loop trail
  • Atahualpa - Laguna Grande trail
  • Laguna Grande loop trekking following the summits ridge
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Matricaria sp.
Matricaria sp.
Coriaria ruscifolia
Coriaria ruscifolia
Passiflora mixta
Passiflora mixta
Loricaria thuyoides
Loricaria thuyoides

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