Ecuador // The central sierra //


The best place to stay is the friendly Hospedería Refugio Chiguac (t 02/2310396, [email protected]; $21–25 including breakfast, other meals $6), at Los Caras and Colón, complete with beamed ceilings, a stag’s head on the wall and a blazing fire. The rooms have shared bathrooms with hot water, and those on a budget can sleep in the dorm for $5 or camp in the garden for $3. La Estancia Real (t 02/2315760; $11–15), two blocks south of Amazonas at Luis Cordero and Panzaleo, just off the market, has clean and spacious rooms with private bathrooms, but the service is variable. Northwest of town at Km415 on the railway, you’ll find greater comfort and character at the hacienda La Alegría (t 02/2462310 or t 09/9802526, w; $51–80 including breakfast, over $121 full board), an organic farm run by a family with a strong tradition of equestrianism. Guests can stay in the farmhouse or extension with en-suite rooms; activities on offer include horseriding.