There are a few places to stay at Quilotoa as well as in towns before you get there. At Quilotoa the places dont seem too great but I am sure they are cheap. There were at least three hostels right before you start hiking down the crater and there is one at the bottom of the crater near the water. When I went, they were all taken so I couldnt even check them out to see what they looked like.
The Black Sheep Hostal is a popular Eco-Lodge run by an American couple who relocated to Ecuador numerous years ago. They pioneered travel in this area and have done a lot for the community. It has grown into a bit of a legend but has gone a bit upscale for many backpackers with the dorm now costing $25 per person which includes an ample vegetarian dinner and breakfast. Please note that the entire complex is eco-friendly and hence their costs are higher. From what I understand it is of a higher quality accommodation as well with hot running water even in the sinks of private baths!
So, if you have the money it sure seems worth a splurge but the other options in town are probably better value for the budget minded. For example, our private double without bath including all meals was $20 while a comparable room at the Black Sheep would be $80. They do give unlimited free filtered water and hot drinks but $60 goes a long way in Chugchilán and you could buy a lot of water (and beer for that matter!).
Hostal Cloud Forest must be doing something right. Everyone you meet on the Gringo Trail seems to love the place and its jovial owner. After walking a grueling five hours from Laguna Quilotoa it wouldn’t have taken much to make us happy and the friendly little hostel certainly did the trick. The rooms are pretty small especially the ones without bath but we opted for one just the same as the others were not all that much bigger and seemed overpriced. All that was before we ate and since food was included in the price of eight dollars per person our opinions were raised quite a bit with a good size and very tasty dinner. In fact, we noticed that many locals ate at the Hostal; it seemed to be one of the most popular restaurants in town!
The meals are certainly one of the biggest pluses of the Hostal but the common room is the real highlight. It was a rustic cozy brick affair with a wood burning stove that was started early and kept roaring all evening. The self service bar was another plus and we spent three great nights there hanging out with fellow travelers. We were lucky to enjoy some local girls doing traditional dancing on two of those evenings too.
Hostal Cabañas Quilotoa might be the biggest place to stay at Laguna Quilotoa but it certainly was disappointing aside from the great camaraderie we enjoyed with fellow travelers staying there. The rooms looked nice enough when we got there with a nice wood burning stove right in the room along with private bath. The electrically heated showers didn’t seem to be functioning very well and believe me it was FREEZING after the shower and coming back into a room with no heat. Later in the evening we had to beg to get someone to start a fire for us. The wood was damp and even they had to resort to using fuel to get it lit! Once it was going the room got nice and toasty.
The dining area in the main building was heated by a constantly burning wood stove. It seems the indigenous locals do not like the cold much more than we do. Dinner and breakfast was included in the price of the room of about $10 per person but don’t expect a lot of food. It is adequate but might want to have some chocolate or snacks on hand for later. The best thing was free hot water and a selection of teas to keep you warm.
Condor Matzi is initially a bit disappointing but really it’s exactly what you might expect to find in a small Andean village at 3800m. It is simple and unadorned and run very much by local indigenous people. Coming from Quito, the rooms are poor value at 5$ per person for a spartan room with no heat other than a very generous supply of traditional blankets. They seem like a bit too much when you arrive but after the sun goes down you’ll be glad you have every one of them! Lying under them you’ll feel you are buried alive but it all adds to the experience. No food is available or included in the price so certainly a bit steep for Ecuador considering the location and lack of amenities.
The best part of the place is the balcony from which you can people watch to your heart’s content and the anonymity makes for great photo opportunities especially during the Saturday market. The owners are down to earth and honest. Despite the lack of locks on your door you don’t feel you’ll be robbed and they conveniently have beer for sale at the same price as the local shops and much closer to the balcony too. ;)
Very simple accomodation, but lovely family. Evening in front of the only stove by candle light. Food is what the people eat, soup, rice and beans and perhaps an egg.
José and his wife Delfina and the children treat you like a member of the family. Especially the children like to speak and play with the visitors and to show them their village and the lagoon.
Located dear the Quilotoa Crater, the Cabañas Quilotoa offer cheap and basic accomodation for the travellers. They have several rooms and cabañas. They even offer deliecious food, including the local speciality- cuy (guinea pig)- for $3 USD.
Word of warning though, do not use the fire place. The vents are not working so the smoke will get trapped in your room forcing you to open the windows and letting in more cold air than when you started.
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