A home from home at Mama Hilda's
The very best hostels are more than just a comfortable and peaceful place to rest your head: they serve you scrumptious food, have genuine character and offer a real chance to experience local culture. For us, Hostal Mama Hilda is deservedly in the 'very best' category after we enjoyed a night's stay whilst hiking the Quilotoa Loop.
History & Location
Mama Hilda have been welcoming hungry hikers through their doors since 2000, although the family had been accommodating tourists for many years before they established the hostal. Brothers Jorge and Dario run the day to day operations, whilst their celebrated mama still keeps a watchful eye over the place.
We arrived at Mama Hilda's on day two of our hike. Having spent the last two hours of our day taking a needless detour towards a 'cheese factory' that we had never intended to visit (and indeed did not reach), we entered the small village of Chugchilán and found the hostal soon after. We promptly collapsed into a slump on Mama's sofa when we arrived.
The Living Space
The lounge and bar are housed in an area of the complex which used to be the family's original dwelling. With walls that are over 1 metre thick, this is a great refuge from the cold and wet Andean weather that we had spent 8 hours hiking through. Warming up with a glass of red wine in front of the burning wood fire (whilst editing some awesome drone footage of the Quilotoa Loop) was a great way to relax after a day of climbing up and down mountains...
Accommodation is split between two separate outhouses, with rooms on the ground and first floors. Our first floor room had a mezzanine level, with an extra double bed. Not wanting to climb up any stairs, we stuck with the downstairs. It would have been nice to have a wood burning stove in the fireplace, like our cabaña in Secret Garden Cotopaxi, however, we were snug enough under the many layers of fluffy blankets.
Food at the hostal was wholesome and delicious. When we arrived, we were presented with three-course lunch: vegetable soup, tomato pasta and dessert. We also enjoyed three courses at dinner which offered a taste of Ecuadorian food: the llapingachos (potato cakes) that accompanied our succulent chicken were delicious.
Meals are served family-style with other visitors, and this gave us the opportunity to compare notes on Ecuador and discuss where to visit next. We were joined by a group of university students from California that were researching humble village lives across South America.
Breakfast, which consisted of granola, yoghurt, pastries, cereal, toast and eggs, was fantastic. A huge range of fruit was also available and they provided us with a packed lunch to keep us sustained on our final, and hardest, day of hiking.
We found Mama Hilda's to be a great choice for travelling couples or groups that want their own privacy, but still like to socialise with others over the dinner table.
Most visitors arrive on foot from either Sigchos or Quilotoa, and we were no exception. There are, however, buses you can catch from Latacunga, Sigchos and Zumbahua (the next major town on from Quilotoa), with a couple of departures each day.
Once in Chugchilán, Mama Hilda's is on the main road that runs through town, on your right-hand side if coming from Sigchos, just a short walk from the town square.
PRICES & OTHER DETAILS
- Prices at June 2017 start from $35 per person for a private double room with a shared bathroom.
- All prices include breakfast and a hearty evening meal.
- Wifi is available in the living space.
If you'd like to follow in our footsteps, reserve your spot here, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +593 270 8005.
We received a discounted stay at Mama Hilda in exchange for editorial coverage, however all opinions, photographs and typos are our own.