Ecuador 2006:  The Andean Highlands

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On the main road to the Black Sheep Inn ecolodge in Chugchilán, which, along with nearby Isinlivi, are the most beautiful parts of the Andes I've seen.

This is the view from right outside my room at the Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilán, south of Quito, and located in the Andean countryside west of Latacunga.

At 3,100 meters (10,200 feet), the Black Sheep Inn is situated on the edge of the Western cordillera of the Ecuadorian Andes. The guesthouse overlooks the Rio Toachi Canyon, a magnificent series of plateaus and cliff faces.

They serve delicious vegetarian food and have quite a few things to do, including a zip line, fabulous hikes, horse treks, and much more.

Two llamas hang around just outside my room at the Black Sheep Inn. 

The closest one, the mother, eventually ate leaves out of my hand. 

I have too many llama pictures, so I've put llots of them on the Llu Llove Llamas, I Llove Llamas Page.

And because it's impossible to get sick of a view this beautiful, yet another view of the little private mesa just outside my room at the Black Sheep Inn. 

Wish you were here.


The first day at Black Sheep Inn, I decided to take a horse trek up to the cheese factory and the nearby cloud forest.  This is a view along the way.

And yes, the cheese was excellent. The cheese factory (3440m) is the result of a Swiss aid program in Chugchilán. According to Black Sheep Inn, "many campesinos (peasant farmers) were producing more milk than they could use, and the isolation meant that much of it was going to waste. The cheese factory was established as a cooperative to provide a market for excess milk.  At 3,600 meters, cheese can be aged without refrigeration due to the cold climate. The successful coop produces four types of delicious cheese; mozzarella, tilsit, andino and parmesan."

I can certainly vouch for the delicious cheese.  Every day I was at the Black Sheep Inn, I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of music, red wine, and Andino cheese while reading a book.

A tiny Andean village church near the cheese factory.



Field of flowers in the high elevations of the Andes during our horse trek.

Are you getting the idea that I love this place?

The cloud forest near the Black Sheep Inn during our horse trek, one of three horse treks that I took on this trip to Ecuador. 

The cloud forest is part of the Iliniza Ecological Reserve.

Another view of the cloud forest near Black Sheep Inn, part of the Iliniza Ecological Reserve.

Part of this horse trek by the cloud reserve took us onto land owned by the guide Miguel's father.

Ken on the horse trek to the cheese factory and the cloud forest.


Spectacular views of the Andes during the horse trek

The drama of the Andes as seen from atop my trusty horse. 

As I mentioned before, Chugchilán and nearby Isinlivi (which I visited shortly after Chugchilán) are the most gorgeous and dramatic area of the Andes that I've seen so far.



One of numerous 'bottle walls' at the ecologically friendly Black Sheep Inn, where used liquor and wine bottles are used to construct the sauna, bunkhouse shower and alongside the upper bathrooms. As it says on the Black Sheep Inn web site, "the hardest part when building a bottle wall is all the drinking that you have to do first!"

One of the black sheep at the Black Sheep Inn!

My room at the Black Sheep Inn!  

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