Ecuador ecolodge accommodation

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ecuador ecolodge accommodation

Environment

Black Sheep Inn aims to provide a comfortable, educational experience for guests, teaching about the local area, customs and permaculture, while contributing to and improving the community and natural environment. The goal is to be a leader in environmental stability and ecotourism.

Eco Permaculture Features include: adobe construction, composting toilets, recycling, roof water collectors, gray water systems, organic gardens, community education & aid work, reforestation, erosion control and more.

When starting the Inn, it was the first time that we actually owned land; but how can we own something that was here well before we were born and will remain long after we die. The truth is that the land and the planet own us as we are briefly passing through on it. We are simply stewards of the land. We knew that if we wanted the land to sustain us, then we would have to sustain it.

We built out of local natural materials, conserved and recycled water, composted and recycled our waste (including human waste), grew organic gardens, planted native trees because it was logical – not simply eco-logical.

We did not think to promote ourselves as an Eco-Lodge until we saw many other places doing so with far less ecological standards. We also felt that the attraction of visiting this area should not just be our composting toilets, but the local culture and scenery. Now years later we have become a leader in Responsible Travel; guest leave here feeling empowered to tackle the new world challenges of resource consumption, waste management and global warming.

Community

Black Sheep Inn is now 100% Community Operated.

In May 2012 Black Sheep Inn became 100% community operated: Edmundo Vega Estrada, the new administrator who rents the entire facility, was born and raised in Chugchilán. He graduated from the local elementary school Juan Jose Flores over 40 years ago before tourism had developed in the area. He moved to Latacunga and then to Quito where he began working in the hospitality industry. From dish washer to kitchen manager to banquet administrator to restaurant manager; he worked at the JW Marriott, Hotel Quito, Hilton Colon and high-end restaurants. Edmundo returned to Chugchilán in April 2012 after being away for 30 years. He wanted to live close to his elderly mother and brother and he wanted to run the Black Sheep Inn. Edmundo speaks a bit of English and French, in addition to his native Spanish.

Edmundo’s team consists of original Black Sheep Inn employees: Narcisa Sigcha, Esther Cunuhay, Olga Pastuña and Martha Cuyo, who have been involved with Black Sheep Inn for years. Cesar Cuyo and Jorge Guamangate are the maestros who helped build the Ecolodge and still maintain the property.

Community involvement is a large part of what makes a business and home responsible and sustainable. Over the years, the owners have become a part of the community of Chugchilán. Michelle teaches English and Computers in the local high schools since 1997. Andres often repairs the town water system and phone lines. They have donated multiple computers, phone lines and a copy machine and to the local school, health clinic, and police station. With the help of a generous donation, they have subsidized school textbooks since 2002.

One of the most successful projects has been establishing a Public Library/Computer Learning Center stocked with over 1000 Spanish language books and 10 computers. Students now have a local resource for research and investigations. Young children are becoming interested in reading. High school students are getting hands-on experience with computers and FREE internet access. All of these projects have been supported with the help of guest donations. Library now has FREE internet access.

Black Sheep Inn has sponsored several workshops with tech assistance from US Peace Corps Volunteers: family planning, guiding skills in native flora and fauna, guiding ethics, first-aid for hikers, nutrition and women’s health, and knitting. Locally knitted crafts are displayed and sold in the lodge and proceeds go directly to the artisans.

Several community members have been encouraged to participate in the growing local tourism industry by opening hostels and restaurants. The Inn has also provided an interest-free loan to a neighbor enabling him to start a horseback riding business. The Inn established a tourist transportation cooperative with local vehicle owners. Native guides take tourists hiking.

With the assistance of winning the 2006 & 2008 International EcoClub Ecolodge Award, the inn has built a Recycling Center to process and classify village waste. Other awards and recognition:


• P.E.A (People Environment Achievement) Award -
Travel/Tourism 2015
• Green Hotelier Awards - Best in Americas 2015
• Green Leaders - Platinum - Level TripAdvisor 2015
• Worlds Best Hotels - South America STAY LIST - National Geographic Traveler 2011
• Top 10 Eco-Resort - Delta SKY Magazine 2009
• Top 50 Eco-Lodges - National Geographic Adventure Magazine 2009
• Winner - ECOCLUB.com Ecotourism Awards 2006 & 2008
• Skål International Ecotourism Award 2006
• Smithsonian Magazine/Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Sustainable Tourism Award 2005
• Finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Award - World Travel & Tourism Council 2005
• Highly Commended - Best Mountain Environment - Responsible Tourism Awards 2005
• Short-Listed - Responsible Traveler Award 2004
• Top 10 Ecolodges in the World - Outside Magazine 2003

Reviews of Ecuador ecolodge accommodation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 22 May 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most exciting part of the holiday would have to be the hike back from the Quilotoa Crater. Outstanding.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I would stay 6 nights - 4 was not enough to truly enjoy everything the place had to offer.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The impact on the environment was definitely minimized.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was outstanding - everything I thought it would be and more. The owners and people who work there are wonderful and they make sure you enjoy your time at the lodge.

Reviewed on 13 Aug 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Incredible views, inspiring people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Spend a couple of days getting to the altitude if you are coming from sea level, you need to be able to be active here, there is so much to see.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. The inn was amazing and we took home a lot of ideas about how we would like to rework our house to emulate some of the environmentally responsible technology there. We also had a horseback riding guide who was a local who actually talked to us about how much the tourism from the inn there has benefited local families and the school.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Truly Inspirational!

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We enjoyed this accommodation located in the Andes near La Luguna Quilitoa. It is a hiker's paradise and the staff arrange for guides for hikers and those choosing to go by horseback. The facilities are gorgeous and home-cooked dinners are wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Please go with an open mind to learn how we can truly love our planet and practice the stewardship to give back to it. It took only 4 hours by hired jeep to get to this accommodation. It is also possible to travel by bus, but is a longer ride.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic. I think ecotourism is the way to go.

Reviewed on 28 Dec 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The beauty was the most memorable part of my trip, it was breathtaking

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Ask for a room with a wood burning stove

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was wonderful. My only complaint is that although our impact on the community was clearly described in the web site, it wasn't felt so much in the trip. We were fairly isolated from the community around us. ***

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