Name: Hosteria Izhcayluma
Location: Vilcabamba, Ecuador
2 km. south on road to Zumba
Telephone: 07 2640095/09 9153419
Review: About an hour south of Loja in the Andes of Ecuador is the little village of Vilcambamba. This village has become a regular stop on the Gringo Trail for those heading south to Peru due to its beautiful scenery and amazing climate (allegedly people live longer in Vilcabamba than anywhere else in Ecuador). For a tiny village, Vilcambamba has quite a few choices of good accommodation, but for sure the best place has to be Hosteria Izhcayluma.
Izhcayluma is run by a couple of German “former-travelers” who were interested in creating a resort-quality place to stay at backpackers prices. They have definitely succeeded. The grounds are gorgeous flowering gardens set up on a hill above Vilcabamba with a view of the village below. They have a lagoon style pool, human-size chess game, a bar, fabulous restaurant and lots of hammocks to relax in throughout the grounds. You can also schedule high quality massages that are super cheap ($12 for 45 minutes, $18 for 75 minutes or other packages).
The menu in the restaurant is huge and includes lots of European specialities. Breakfast is included and there are several items to choose from….fruit, crepes, scrambled eggs, fresh-squeezed juice (of course), etc. The restaurant is open all day though it does close at 8pm which is a little early. Lots of people show up thinking they can eat and are disappointed.
The room options are nice and varied ranging from a $9 dorm room through double private cabins for $34. There is hot water 24-hours a day (really!) and the bathrooms and rooms are nice and clean. The accommodations are spread out over the grounds so it is always nice and quiet though one set of rooms with shared bath is close to the road so a bit louder (rooms 10/11/12). Overall, very high quality and good value for $9 to $17 per person.
The front desk is extremely helpful and can schedule all sorts of activities. There are many self-guided hikes in the area including the Rumi Wilco Reserve and Podocarpus National Park. Lots of people also do the hike to Mandango Mountain though they will always remind you its a bit dangerous…a woman who went by herself was recently raped and several people have been mugged in recent years. They will also set-up horseback riding…by the hour or a full day (including a hike to waterfall, lunch and riding the horses for $25).
Would I stay here again: Yes, definitely
Tags: 99 - South America Reviews, horseback riding, Hosteria Izhcayluma, spa, Vilcabamba