At the foot of the massive Chimborazo volcano, venture into a vestige of explorers and mountaineers.
A historical site
Tambo Totorillas (4,000 m or 13,123 ft above sea level) was once a resting point because of its strategic location on the route from the Coast to the Highlands. During ancient times, it used to be a trading route for the Spondylus shell. Before the construction and inauguration of the railroad in 1908, famous presidents, explorers and naturalists such as Humboldt slept in this resting area where there was a hut with a comunal bed, an ancient kitchen and stables.
Hundreds of years later, Marco Cruz, first Ecuadorian to climb El Altar in ‘63, has rebuilt a lodge that resembles the historical infrastructure. He bought this territory because of his love for the mountains and has worked alongside the community to preserve and restore the paramo ecosystem.
“My daughters thought I was crazy when I bought the land and invested in the exploration and excavation for the ancient ruins, but now they are proud of what I have done and I feel immensely proud of my loyalty to the history of the Tambo.”
There is a certain feeling of nostalgia when comparing ancient black and white pictures of this spot taken by famous historical figures, to the lodge that now stands, welcoming mountaineers and visitors from all over the world.
A museum for mountaineers
Chimborazo lodge is also a museum of mountains and mountain climbing, telling the story and having been host to famous climbers. One even left his boots behind as a souvenir- now part of the decoration!
On a frame in the wall is a picture of great North American hiker Wagner, who stayed at Marco’s grandparents’ house and left his picket behind. Marco told us about his grandmother who respectfully guarded the picket and only after years had passed, gifted it to him for his hikes.
Interesting Fact: Reinhold Messner, mentioned above and pictured hugging Marco, is an explorer and mountaineer who currently has 6 museums “dedicated to the art, culture, religion and peculiarities of mountain regions throughout the world.” More info
He believes Marco’s lodge is the perfect integration of man and mountains, with a sustainable model of ecotourism.
Visiting the lodge: An unbelievable experience
The main area resembles a Swiss chalet with its cozy ambiance. It is adorned with artifacts from early hikes that show the evolution of mountain climbing.
This lodge is unlike any other. On a clear night you will be accompanied by the gleaming snow of the Chimborazo under infinite stars. If it’s cloudy you will experience the almost mysterious, enveloping fog which is another amazing adventure.
Regardless of the weather conditions, what makes this lodge unique (besides it’s location on the foot of El Chimborazo) is the passion that moves the founder and host Marco Cruz. He will greet you upon your arrival, warm up a cup of tea and tell you the remarkable story of the place he adores the most, inspired by his love for the mountains.
His mission is to offer the best quality services that transmit the team’s philosophy of conservation and care for nature, along with a profound respect for history and the indigenous and mestizo identity of our country.
When you leave the lodge, you carry with you the will to preserve the memory of this historical, sacred place.
Chimborazo Lodge’s vision: based on respect for the ecosystem
Chimborazo lodge works to foster and contribute to the social and economic development of the province through quality service. The team and staff follow practices of sustainable tourism; promoting the preservation of the Páramo ecosystem and encouraging their visitors to reflect on the historical local processes.
Marco Cruz: Mountaineer
Mountaineer himself, Marco has personally climbed mountains all over the world, from the Himalayas in Asia to New Zealand, Patagonia and North America. His devotion to the Tambo’s historical past, his vision on conservation and restoration of the paramo, and his deep love for the mountains are the foundations of Chimborazo Lodge.
Tips and important info
For more information: (+593 3 2364258)
* Chimborazo lodge is a peaceful retreat where there is no signal or wifi service ( appreciate the surroundings without distractions from your daily life)
* when you stay at the lodge you can tour around! The Chimborazo refuge is only 40 min away. There you can find trails and explore the mountain.
* If you wish you can also stay here and prepare for the ascent of the majestic mountain. You will need a guide, thorough preparation and some days to get acclimatized.
* If you are already getting ready for the summit and are looking for a place to stay the night before your ascent, we highly recommend the lodge.
*Chimborazo Lodge is the only property within the Chimborazo Nature Reserve! The lodge serves breakfast and dinner daily, has heated rooms and offers free parking.
*There are 12 rooms in total
*Remember to drink a lot of water in the high altitude, we recommend taking a water bottle.
*It gets very cold! Pack layered clothing.