I spent $USD35 a night in a dorm at Black Sheep Inn (more than triple what I had been paying usually) and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Based in Chugchillan, one of the towns included in the Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador, this place is awesome, super eco-friendly, with stunning views and hikes straight out from the property (and did I mention an included packed lunch and unlimited free cakes and cookies?!).
It served as the perfect base to explore the lesser seen areas nearby before heading off to do the rest of the Quilotoa Loop. I even got to horse ride up to the Paramo with a local guide. I could see why it’s called the Cloud Forest, that’s for sure! With panoramic views even before arriving at the Cloud Forest, the opportunity to eat wild blueberries, cow friends and the wind whipping through my hair as we cantered through grassland, it was a pretty great way to spend the day.
However, the biggest highlight was a short hike: Edmundo’s Skywalk. Edmundo is the manager of the Black Sheep Inn, who has grown up in Chugchillan. The story goes that he discovered this walk when he was only 8 years old, and has been regularly taking this trail ever since. It only took me half an hour to do (I was sort of hurrying because of the fading light – it’s supposed to take 2 hours), but seriously packed a punch.
I made sheep and cow friends pretty much immediately…
The trail followed the gorge then came up onto the very narrow ridge, where you could see how the Skywalk got its name. Although the wind might have terrified some people, all it made me want to do is close my eyes, breathe in and smile.
The trail also took you through fields on the plateau, giving you a glimpse into what life is like for the people here.
The last views into the canyon were also phenomenal, especially as the sun was setting.
Such a short, rewarding hike, and had I not stayed at Black Sheep Inn, I wouldn’t have known about it. It was the absolute perfect warm up before the Quilotoa loop, and reassured me that I would be perfect fine hiking on my own.
If you’re going to splurge at any point during your stay in Ecuador, let it be here.