Note: This is not a sponsored post–purely my review of a resort I really enjoyed visiting!
One of the reasons tourists and expats alike flock to Ecuador is the opportunity to enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle for less. Whether you’re a flashpacker or enjoying a more generous budget, Izhcayluma is a traveler’s haven in the cloud forest of southern Ecuador that has something for everyone.
Nestled in the hills above the small town of Vilcabamba, Izhcayluma Hostería has all the elements of a luxurious resort: a gorgeous swimming pool, a full-service restaurant, yoga studio, and on-site spa services.
What’s really amazing, though, is how affordable it is. Dorm beds are $9.50 USD/night (minimum 2 nights) and rather than the typical bunk beds you’d find in a hostel, the dorms are designed like rustic cabins, with the top ‘bunks’ in a loft area, which is easier to access and offers more privacy for both top and bottom guests.
If your budget is a bit more padded, you can rent a private room ranging from $20-$36 depending on occupancy, and private cabins start at $39! All the rooms have either a terrace or a balcony with a hammock, bathrooms with beautiful rock interiors (and hot water!–a rarity in South America). As the buildings are spread throughout the property, whether you’re in the dorm-style rooms or a private cabin, you’ll enjoy a sense of privacy and the relaxing sounds of nature that surround you.
A wide range of spa services are available on-site: everything from massage and Reiki treatments to facials and mani-pedis. These, too, are incredibly affordable–for example, a 90-minute massage package is just $24 USD!
One of my favorite features of the resort is the free yoga class offered in their gorgeous shala (classes are in English). In addition to the free morning class, you can sign up for various other yoga and meditation classes throughout the day for a small fee. The schedule varies, and sometimes they have longer workshops, as well.
There’s a minimum 2-night stay, but you’ll want to stay much longer to enjoy all that Izhcayluma has to offer. The surrounding cloud forest is breathtaking, and there are many hikes, both short and more challenging, right outside your cabin door. One even leads to a nearby waterfall. Horseback riding tours are also available.
I told some friends of mine in Peru about this resort, and they decided to check it out. As I expected would be the case, they could barely tear themselves away after a week! This is a picture they shared with me of their horseback-riding adventure.
Since the resort is nestled above the town of Vilcabamba, you have the option to eat at one of the restaurants there, but it’s much more convenient to eat at the Izhcayluma restaurant (though a bit pricey compared to the typical prices in Ecuador). Since the owners are German, there are a number of authentic German dishes on the menu, as well as Italian food and vegetarian/vegan options. Continental breakfast is offered but not included in the room price. While you eat, you can enjoy the spectacular view of the valley below, and it’s not at all uncommon to spot several rainbows throughout the day! I think I counted 8 while I was there!
Although part of the appeal of Izhcayluma is its secluded location and natural surroundings, you won’t have to sacrifice a fun nightlife. There’s a full bar in the evenings, as well as a pool table, ping pong, life-size chess, and a bunch of board games. The bar/game area is located far from the cabins so you won’t find the noise disruptive if you’d rather turn in early.
And then, of course, there’s this beautifully landscaped pool! I took a nighttime dip under the starry sky, and had the pool all to myself.
If you go:
Reservations are highly recommended as Izhcayluma is often full-occupancy.
If you’re coming from Cuenca, Ecuador, they offer a private shuttle for $15. I highly recommend this because otherwise you have to take two buses and a taxi for about the same price but a longer, less comfortable ride.
Pin this post for future reference, in case you’re ever in Ecuador!
What do you think? Would you enjoy a visit here? Let me know in the comments!
And don’t forget….