I feel joy each time I drive up the rutted dirt road to the gated entrance of Marco Cruz’s Chimborazo Lodge. I could blame the euphoria on the high altitude. After all, the lodge is 4000 meters, about 13,123 feet, above sea level.

But this euphoria comes from my joy of wild places. The Chimborazo Lodge is tucked into a small mountain valley full of tufted grass, orange-flowered Chuquiragua bushes, and low-lying wildflowers. This habitat is home to the small Andean fox, white-tailed deer, little bunny rabbits, and the glorious Star of Chimborazo hummingbird.

Chuquiraghua, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Mushroom, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Ñachag, from the Aster family, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Chuquiraghua, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Star of Chimborazo, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador

When the skies are clear, the Volcano Chimborazo pulls my eyes like iron filings to a magnet. The glacier and high peaks love to play hide-and-seek as clouds dance back and forth in the early mornings and late afternoons. By midday, the mountain often disappears completely and we are left wondering if we will see it again on our visit. I have had days with nary a glimpse and others with constant moments of surprise as the mountain fights back the cloud cover. Chimborazo does seem to control the local weather and it is easy to see why myths have grown around the mythical Taita Chimborazo.

Sometimes at night, the clouds are scoured away and the dark Andean sky lights up with millions of tiny stars. In a world where it seems next to impossible to find the Milky Way, there it is, traveling almost directly from the northeast shoulder of Chimborazo toward the hidden town of Riobamba.

Chimborazo at Sunset, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Chimborazo at Night, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador

Reasons to Stay at the Chimborazo Lodge

There are many reasons to stay at the Chimborazo Lodge. One is that it is the closest lodging to the Chimborazo Wildlife Preserve, providing easy access by car to hiking trails like those at the Polylepis Forest and the Chimborazo Refugios. Just a drive along the highway between the lodge and the entrance to the nature preserve can be exciting with almost guaranteed spotting of herds of wild vicuña grazing the paramo grasses.

The second reason to stay at the lodge is to summit Chimborazo, the highest mountain on earth when measured from the earth’s core rather than by sea level. Lodge owner, Marco Cruz, has years of experience planning successful trips and can provide all the details and connections you need to make the climb. His love of mountain climbing compelled him to build this lodge where the buildings look like something out of a German winter wonderland, without the snow. The decor hanging on walls comes from Marco’s collection of memorabilia from mountaineering expeditions to the European Alps and Mount Everest.

Even the food at Chimborazo Lodge is inspired by Marco’s time in Southern Germany. You are more likely to try goulash and red cabbage for dinner than any Ecuadorian comida típica

The Dining Room, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Owner's Cabin, Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador

Finally, the third reason to visit is that the Chimborazo Lodge is magical. Without ever leaving the lodge grounds, it is possible to hike to high mountain ridges and gain views of the surrounding region, walk deep into the valley and flush deer from the brush, find the Star of Chimborazo hummingbird in its feeding grounds, or simply enjoy the views. I love that I can sit on the back porch and enjoy the antics of the llamingos, a local word for a herd of alpacas and llamas, while watching female Star of Chimborazo hummingbirds flit back and forth from the small creek ravine to the feeders hanging from the lodge eaves. I also love the European touches that are so readily blended with Ecuadorian hospitality. The staff are local Ecuadorians with a love for their region and a knowledge of the land that can only be found by people born and raised there. 

This hummingbird likes to perch on the masks outside of the lodge; Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
Alpaca, llama, or llamingo , Chimborazo Lodge, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador

Chimborazo Lodge

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Angie’s Review: This is an excellent lodge for solo travelers and couples who enjoy the outdoors. While it could be appropriate for families, parents should first be aware that the lodge is at an extremely high altitude that can be challenging for adults and kids alike. I have stayed here twice, both times with my partner and friends. We have enjoyed photographing the night sky, the gorgeous volcano, wild deer hovering near the alpacas, and stunning hummingbirds. I have yet to get a photo of an Andean Fox, but I certainly saw one on our last visit! Bonus points for delicious food and a stellar staff that took care of our every need.

A Couple of Things You Might Not Expect

The downsides of staying here are minimal but should be mentioned.

If you don’t arrive in your own vehicle, you will need to arrange for a driver to go anywhere else. This location is remote.

You will need to arrange for lunches as they are not included in your stay. We have never found ourselves at the lodge at lunchtime because we are more likely to be on a hiking trail. The lodge staff can arrange a box lunch if you need one.

Bring plenty of bottled water or expect to refill your own bottles with boiled water from the kitchen.

For those who have trouble sleeping at altitude, the high winds that scour away evening clouds can make it a little more difficult to sleep through the night as they rattle the roof overhead. You might want to bring a set of ear plugs if you are easily awoken by noise.

Bring plenty of layers. It can get cold. And if it rains, it can be cold and damp. While there are space heaters for the rooms, Ecuadorian lodges do not have climate control thermostats.

Chimborazo Lodge

Information For Your Trip

This is a high altitude trip. Please bring plenty of bottled water, stay hydrated, and make sure to carry emergency equipment in your vehicle.

  • Direction by Car, use WAZE and look for Lodge Estrella de Chimborazo, Chimborazo, Ecuador or Chimborazo Lodge, Provincia de Chimborazo, Ecuador