On a recent visit to Cuenca, Ecuador we were very fortunate to have a family friend invite us on a road trip to Hosteria El Barranco in Sigsig for a short stay. This family owned and operated boutique eco-lodge which is only about 1.5 hours from Cuenca by car so it was easily accessible, but also felt completely off the beaten path. From the moment we arrived we were warmly greeted by one of the owners, Luis, and from that point on everything was lovely. The atmosphere is so tranquil that I knew immediately this was the type of place where all of my worries would slip away and I could enjoy a carefree relaxing getaway. The rooms are set up overlooking the courtyard with views of the sparkling swimming pool, fragrant gardens, and mountains in the distance. The natural architecture of adobe and stone blend into the landscape and carry over into the interior of the rooms which are clean and comfortable with a rustic charm. In addition to the pool, there’s also a eucalyptus sauna, indoor restaurant and full bar with an upstairs room for billiards and parties. Breakfast is included and other meals prepared on request as well as drinks are available at a moderate cost. All of the meals were fresh and delicious, they were also easily able to accommodate vegetarian and other dietary needs. As a special treat in the evening we were treated by our friends to a musical dance celebration performed by a local troop of traditional Ecuadorian folk dancers which brought me to tears because it was such an energetic and heartwarming performance.
Hosteria El Barranco
Outside of the property you can take a leisurely scenic stroll along the Santa Barbara River. Within a short walking distance we stopped at an authentic hat making facility and market where we all purchased some finely crafted hats and bags. Also a short drive away, we visited the Chobshi ruins consisting of an ancient stone wall structure called Castillo de Chobshi thought to be the fortress of a prominent Canari chief and across the way the more ancient cave dwelling of la Cueva Negra, where recovered bones and tools have been found dating back to 8600-5500 BC. Between the hotel and the surroundings I was struck with how much beauty, history and hospitality could exist in one place. My only complaint is that I wish we could have stayed longer, but I know we will be back and I hope others can experience the comfort and serenity we found there.
It should also be noted that for anyone in need of transportation from Cuenca, I would highly recommend our van service driver, Patricio (see contact info below). As a diversion along the way he took us to the quaint town of Chordeleg which is renowned for unique filigree jewelry. Stops can also be made along the way at an orchid farm, the small Andean village of San Bartolomeo and La Casa de la Makana where you can witness the art of Ikat textile dyeing and weaving as well as purchase authentic pieces. If the journey is part of the destination then all of these places are a perfect way to enhance your trip especially for first time visitors. In any case a trip to Hosteria El Barranco is a great escape from city life and I’m so grateful to have been introduced to this hidden gem.
Contact: Luis Arcentalez for more details, 098 691 1715 or email@example.com
Driver: Patricio Fernandez, 098 489 6472 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Luis and Patricio both speak excellent English)
Recommended by Maris Beattie: email@example.com