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Check in: It's hikes and hot tubs at this Ecuadorian ecolodge

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Nina Pullman

5 May 2018

An Ecuadorian ecolodge is just the place Nina Pullman has been looking for. This low-key B&B makes for a brilliant base for those looking to explore 

What’s it really like at Black Sheep Inn?

If you’re looking for a proper eco-refuge and want to experience real Equador, the award-winning Black Sheep Inn is a pretty good place to start. Especially at twilight, as the mist rises through the valley accompanied by the dusk chorus of thousands of mountain birds.

Tucked away high up in Ecuador's Andes, the only thing more breathtaking than the view is the altitude (you're 3,200 metres above sea level here).

Black Sheep Inn is the ideal base for a trip to the famous Quilatoa volcanic crater lake, which sits 600 metres above the lodge. Its emerald, salty water is the stuff of legend. That’s if you can bare to leave the wood-burning sauna, gourmet vegetarian food and peaceful wooden verandahs. 

Black Sheep Inn Review2

Check in and chill out at the Black Sheep Inn where you can hike and hit the wood fired hot tub

The rooms

Stay in a private cabin perched higher up the hill with its own wood-burning stove and swinging bench or get your head down in the three-storey thatched bunkhouse. 

Bunkbeds are separated by colourful Andean curtains but bag the top floor and you’ll find the best bed in the house - wedged into the eaves and next to the window, the mountains by moonlight will be the last thing you see before dropping off. 

The service

Always on hand helpful tips for your next day’s activities, manager Edmundo is the friendly heart and soul of Black Sheep Inn. The B&B is 100% locally operated, which means your hard earned cash supports this hard working community.

He has made handy photo maps for many of the nearby walks, and even created one of the trails himself, ’Edmundo’s favourite skyline walk’. Not for the fainthearted, it’s a beautiful ridge walk through some of the lower parts of the Rio Toachi canyon and local farmland. 

As well as hiking and horse riding, Black Sheep has several quirky activities on offer including volleyball, a rustic gym open to the mountains, and what claims to be the highest course of adventure frisbee in the world.

"The mountains by moonlight will be the last thing you see before dropping off"

The menu

Three-course vegetarian dinners are served at 7pm around a communal dining table in the main building

The food is organic and locally sourced, if not grown in the garden and portions are big enough to reward a day spent hiking in the mountains.

Breakfasts include fresh fruit, granola and homemade omelettes and if you’re there on a Sunday, ‘Jazz and Pancakes’ is an unexpected delight. An added bonus is the unlimited homemade banana cake and brownies in the communal area. 

The price includes lodging and three meals a day, including a packed lunch ready for you in the morning.

The bar

House wine is available with dinner and there is a compact but interesting liquor shelf to explore. A sweet digestif named Spirit of Ecuador went down particularly well with a late night game of cards. 

The best part? A hole in the wall next to the wood-fired hot tub where you can perch several beers on ice cubes. 

Black Sheep Inn Review

Visit Equador's famous Quilatoa crater lake or hike the Rio Toachi canyon

The sustainable bit

The award-winning Black Sheep Inn has sustainability built into every corner, from its energy sources and recycling baskets in every room, right down to the unbleached paper bags for lunches.

Built around the principles of permaculture, the aim is to maximise its resources by linking everything from waste to food production. 

Taking photos in the loo probably isn’t normal practice, but Black Sheep’s famous composting toilets are worth a visit in their own right, where plants fertilised by human manure fill a bright, airy cabin looking out at the Andes. Reforestation, alternative energy use and zero waste are other ongoing projects.

Three reasons to book Black Sheep Inn

  • Explore one of Ecuador’s most iconic landscapes while staying at a community-run lodge that has a minimal impact on the world.
  • There's touches of luxury here with a wood-burning sauna, a yoga studio looking out over the mountains and massages on offer.
  • Where else can you use a composting toilet while enjoying a spectacular view of the Andes?

Where is Black Sheep Inn?

Find Black Sheep Inn on Chugchilan, on Ecuador’s famous Quilatoa Loop. 

Part of Black Sheep Inn’s appeal is its remote location, but it can be accessed by public bus or car. Drive around two hours from the capital of Quito, or catch a bus (around three hours) from the town of Latacunga.

Free WiFi - yes
Children - yes 
Dogs - no

Click here to book your stay at Black Sheep Inn.

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