Hidden Places in Ecuador: La Luna Hostal
La Luna is a great little family-owned and operated Ecuador hostal hidden from view out in the countryside near the famous market town of Otavalo. Sometimes the best hidden places are right under your nose.
Gary and I live only a few miles away and have been to Casa Mojanda in the same area, but never noticed La Luna before. It’s a favored destination for Ecuadorians and travelers from other countries as well. After spending a night there with my book club, I can understand why La Luna has a loyal following of return visitors.
Driving past Casa Mojanda, 4 miles outside Otavalo, you will see a small wooden sign on the left for La Luna. Even our cab driver, who had directions, almost drove right past the turnoff.
We turned left and followed the road to the entrance of La Luna, which sits in an idyllic green glade of rolling hills and dramatic mountain views, complete with horses in the nearby pasture.
We arrived on a cold, grey, rainy afternoon, lately a rarity in our part of Ecuador since the weather has been almost perfect for a year. But the much-needed rainy season is a welcomed occurrence after months of near-drought.
Even the darkening skies and chill temperature couldn’t lessen the magic of the green hillsides and the charming scene that greeted us. 3 really big dogs greeted us with wagging tails. One, a white Argentinean mastiff, is big enough for a small child to ride, but all are perfectly gentle, friendly and well-mannered.
Accommodations are varied. You can stay in a cute white bungalow at the back of the property a short walk from the main building. You walk up a small hill along a grassy path. You’d swear you were walking through the woods on your way to grandmother’s house.
It contains 4 very cozy rooms, complete with wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, extra blankets and fresh flowers. The blanket was appreciated because it can get chilly at La Luna. Bring warm clothing and an umbrella.
There’s also a large dorm with bunk beds, plus rooms in the main building that also houses a cozy dining room/restaurant with a big stone fireplace.
Once a favorite of back-packers, the hostal has been refurbished and upgraded by the present owners -- Tamara, who's Ecuadorian, and her English husband Kevin. It's now a very pleasant place to hang out. In the tranquil country setting it’s easy to forget your cares.
The food is great, too. Our dinner consisted of homemade carrot soup with cilantro and ginger, made from organic carrots grown on the premises. We also had eggplant parmesan, green salad and lemon pie. Kevin does most of the cooking and his wife Tamara loves to bake. The menu also includes pizza and pasta.
Breakfast is not included in the price of the room. We had big bowls of fresh fruit and granola. The organic coffee is wonderful.
While rooms are nothing fancy, they have a certain charm that I find very appealing. They are definitely not your run-of-the-mill basic hostal rooms. Everything is very clean and orderly, the staff and owners are super-friendly and accommodating, and the food is excellent. A great location for a romantic get-away, for family gatherings.
There’s plenty to do, too, with local hikes, one of which includes the beautiful Peguche waterfalls, shopping at Otavalo’s indigenous market, Plaza de Ponchos, visiting Cotacachi’s leather street and music scene, enjoying outdoor activities on the local lakes.
This Ecuador hostal is an easy ride from Otavalo by cab, costing about $4 one-way. Check them out here.