Day 230: Cuenca, Ecuador
So many people were interested in my recommendations for Colombian hostels that I wanted to share my picks for the three best hostels in Ecuador.
Hostels are peculiar in Ecuador, more often like guesthouses they haven’t catered to the backpacker crowd for decades like other neighboring countries. This also means there are a handful of mostly foreign owned hostels in the guidebooks and on booking sites but the best ones often don’t have a web site and count on word of mouth.
So here’s my word on where to stay in Ecuador:
When I first came to Cuenca with my mother and sister we stayed at a hostel that also had a bar; it was unbearably noisy until midnight and my mother did not sleep.
I was lucky to find La Casa Cuencana during Independence Day and ended up staying several weeks as there was a large kitchen, which isn’t always available in Ecuador.
– The most comfortable beds I’ve slept in yet, I think they have pillow top mattresses
– The dorms aren’t bunkbeds, yay you’re not crammed in like a sardine
– They run organized cultural tours, such as mine with sugar cane farmer Rogelio
– They can speak English, a little French and German if you need it; or if you’re like me they’ll speak Spanish slowly so you can learn.
Banos is a small town with lots to amuse tourists with but we lucked out on Hostel Chimenea as it’s a small hostel that just opened.
It’s Spanish-only, as with most places in Banos but even my mother and sister were able to communicate with hand signals. What makes this hostel stand out is that there’s practically a spa inside for bargain prices.
– In-ground pool
– Hot tub
– Turkish baths
– Hostel kitchen
It was especially difficult finding a hostel online in Otavalo, despite being on the tourist trail, only expensive hotels seem to appear in searches. However, my friend Liz of Where are Liz and Adrian was able to provide a great recommendation and my family loved the cottage feeling of this hostel. The only downside is there is no wifi but there are plenty of Internet cafes in the area and we all need to disconnect sometimes.