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Sitting high to the west between Sigchos and Quilotoa, tiny Chugchilán is a real Andean gem with friendly locals, stunning scenery, hikes into plummeting canyons, primary cloud forests, cheese factories and some of the homiest accommodations in Ecuador. Chugchilán should not be missed.
Chugchilán landed on the map because of a few fantastic hostels, and its popularity as a base for exploring the area continues to rise. Built into the mountainsides and overlooking the impressive Río Toachi canyon, the village is one of those places where people pass through and end up staying for days. There are three excellent lodges at the end of town, each with its own warm touches and all offering hearty home-cooked meals, horseback riding trips, local transportation, and hiking information.
The town itself consists of a small basketball court in front of a church with a few simple houses that also serve as local businesses, which sell ice cream or sew saddles. A street stall or two dish out simple meat and rice plates in the evenings, catering to locals and serving as the town hangout. Don’t be fooled by the sign “Pension Popular Diocesana” next to the church – the old building is not a hostel! Hostels and most things of interest to tourists can be found heading down the hill just outside of town.
Other places nearby Chugchilán: Isinliví, Zumbahua, Saquisilí, Pujili, Sigchos, Quilotoa and Tigua.
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