Recommendation for Alpaca Farm Tour, Carmen Loja, day tour

A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I took a day tour to an alpaca farm near Biblián. It was quite the

experience.

Carmen Loja, the tour organizer, met us at the tranvia stop at the Terminal Terrestre. She was beautifully dressed in traditional garb. Carmen accompanied us on the bus to Biblián (about 45 minutes, and a dollar fare), which was a good thing as we disembarked by the side of the road and it would have been difficult maybe to find on our own.

A mixto picked us up and drove us up, up, up twisty steep dirt roads, which were not for the faint of heart, especially in the rain and fog. The drive was an adventure worth having all on its own. Our driver clearly knew what he was doing, took his time and navigated around the worst of the potholes. He delivered us to the Tushin Burgay gates safe and sound.

We were warmly greeted by a group of the local people who run the tourist business here. In addition to the alpacas, there is a lake for trout fishing and you can stay overnight in the guest accommodation. After a cup of truly delicious tea, there was a welcome and introductory speech (translated into English by a lovely young woman who has just been hired by the tourist authority). Then we walked down to see the alpacas, potato farming and spectacular views.

Next was lunch. This was a typical Ecuadorian almuerzo, but lifted above the ordinary by the deliciousness of the freshly caught trout and the excellent queso fresco. I am not a fan of that cheese, but this one was great and I ate very crumb. We also got more of the tasty tea. I asked if I could buy some and was gifted a bag of leaves and stems as I left. Alas, I was not able to recreate the drink served to us when I got home.

After lunch, we saw the weaving and had a chance to buy some scarves and other textiles.

We had a great time and I highly recommend the experience. The people were simply wonderful – warm, funny, kind. This is not a prettified, slick Disneyland Ecuador tour. It will appeal greatly to those who want to experience an authentic farming community, and interact with the people who manage it.

If you go, and I hope you do, dress very warmly indeed. This is high altitude (around 14,000 feet I believe) and it was cold. It was muddy too, so be prepared for that.

Carmen can be reached on WhatsApp at +593 98 736 8822

Address: Tushin Burgay, near Biblián, Ecuador

Contact information: kintiwasi.ec@gmail.com

Recommended by Heather Griffiths: edithrossmae@gmail.com

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