The Black Sheep Inn is a rustic award-winning ecolodge situated at 3200m elevation in the Ecuadorian Andes. The lodge is surrounded by spectacular Andean scenery and opportunities for the active traveller abound with hikes, mountain biking and horse riding.
The lodge is perched on a hillside just outside the village of Chugchilan, about 5 hours by car south west of Quito. The accommodation is simple but comfortable, with 9 double rooms (some with additional beds) and a bunkhouse. Five of the rooms are ensuite with composting toilets and 4 have hot showers and composting toilets located outside. Most rooms have woodstove fireplaces. Vegetarian meals prepared with organic produce from the lodge gardens are served family style round a large table. A typical dinner menu might include Eggplant Parmesan (beer battered eggplant, homemade tomato sauce and local mozzarella cheese), herbed garlic mashed potatoes and a fresh garden salad with a red wine vinaigrette. Tea, coffee and purified water is available free of charge all day. Packed lunches are available on request and there is a full bar with ice cold beer and Chilean wines. Additional facilities include a â€˜sauna -sweat lodge', a cross between a Finnish sauna and a Native American Indian sweat lodge designed by the lodge owners.
Although the lodge is a great place to relax for a few days, it makes a perfect base for day hiking, mountain biking, horseriding and exploring indigenous markets. Hikes range from half hour trails to full day hikes at altitudes of between 2,500m and 3,800m. Perhaps the most spectacular hike is to Laguna Quiltoa, a well-marked trail through the Rio Toachi Canyon to a 1Â¼ mile emerald crater lake located at 3800m. Other trails lead along the River Toachi, to the Chugchilan cheese factory, or to Andean Humid Forest. Local guides are available at the Black Sheep Inn if required. Most hikes can also be experienced on horseback or by mountain bike. For those looking for a more sedate pace, transport can be arranged to visit one of the local indigenous markets, or the painters of Tigua, artists of Ecuador's most famous naÃ¯ve paintings.
Black Sheep Inn Ecolodge was the Americas winner of the 2015 Green Hotelier awards. The reasons cited for the accolade were that it is 100% community operated, it features such sustainable innovations as state of the art composting dry toilets, in-bathroom gardens fertilised by the toiletsâ€™ compost, transparent roofs for natural light, and rainwater and waste water harvesting systems. We love the Black Sheep Inn and think they are well worth this award, plus you'll have a great time here.
"The Black Sheep offers excellent accommodation and wonderful food in a beautiful and imaginative setting. We loved the sauna and hot tub and massage after a long day hiking. Lake Quilotoa is astonishing."