Fuya-Fuya is an inactive 4263 metres high volcano, which raises above the three Mojanda Lakes. If the weather permits, it can also be seen from the town of Otavalo.
Our intension was to walk around Mojanda Lakes one day, sleep over in a camping site, get up early, climb Fuya-Fuya, enjoy the beautiful morning views and walk back down the hill to Otavalo. Easy, heh?
Hiking up to Fuya-Fuya
We managed to wake up at 6 am, but of course it took us too much time to eat breakfast, pack our stuff and tent and get off the camping. When we got out of the tent, we found out that the weather changed compared to the previous day. It was not sunny anymore and the peak of Fuya-Fuya was covered in clouds.
The trail starts right next to the Big Lake, at the entrance to the park, so we had to walk around the lake for about an hour and we started climbing at around 8 am. The almost 2 km hike up is supposed to be easy both technically and physically, but the high altitude and strong cold wind made it much harder, than we expected. The path, which goes through a waist-high páramo grass is very well-marked, so believe it or not, we didn’t get lost this time! The more you climb up, the better the views are, of course, so we took several breaks just to shoot some pictures and videos and to enjoy the view at the lake.
The last 100 metres were the most difficult ones as the trail leads straight up the saddle between the two volcano peaks and it got so windy, that I was afraid it would blow me away from the narrow path and I had to hold the grass to stay on it. Even though I though we were going too slowly, we got to the saddle in about 1.5 hours, which actually is the shortest time stated in all guides.
Unfortunately the peaks were still in the clouds, so we could not see any of the 5 volcanoes that should be visible from Fuya-Fuya, if the weather permits. And it was so cold, windy and wet, that we decided to better start walking down after just a short while.
Walking Back to Otavalo
We got back to the lake in about 45 minutes, ate our lunch and set off to the hardest part of our hike – about 16 km down hill walk along a cobblestone road all the way to Otavalo. We hate walking on cobblestone and walking down hill is also very hard for knees and toes, so we were very happy that we found a mountain bike down hill track after about 1 km (just walk down and you’ll see red marks and arrows on your right). According to the map the path should lead down to Otavalo, so why not trying to walk it down.
I believe that it was the best decision, as it saved us few kilometers and most of it was a dusty path. It turned out that the most difficult part of the way was right at entering to Otavalo, because groups of small street dogs there were too territorial. I was already pretty tired, my feet hurt after walking all the way downhill and the dogs definitely felt I was weak. One of them even tried to bite my leg and fortunately he only scratched my skin.
We were very happy when we finally got back to our hostel Flying Donkey at about 3 pm, where we were welcomed by always nice manager Paul and hot shower.