The Enchanting Posada de Tigua

La Posada de Tigua is a dairy farm situated about 15 kms from Lake Quilotoa, high up in the Andean páramo. So remiss me of not to have eulogised about it before; it’s one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever visited.

Marco and Margarita have converted the hacienda, which dates from the 1890s, into a guesthouse and it offers a wonderful rustic experience with more than a touch of the Wild West. Inside the front door chaps and striped ponchos hang from a coatrack and wood burning stoves provide warmth. Walls are a meter thick and accommodation is simple but comfortable, though it got chilly at night. Boyd, Susanne and I visited in January of 2012 and we spent the day watching the cows being milked by a local indigenous family, riding a llama, and simply enjoying the ambience.

Written By Andrew Howe

The water is supplied from a nearby spring, and can be drunk without the need for purification we were told (although I had a funny tummy the day after my stay). All of the dairy products used in the kitchen – milk, yogurt, cheese and dulce de leche (caramel sauce) – are produced on the farm, as well as the veggies. Lovely Margarita was the kindest host and her young looks belied her age; she has two grown up sons Felipe and Pablo.

La Posada de Tigua, dating from the 1890s

 Milking the cows.

Felipe drove us to Lake Quilotoa the next day, and was a great source of local knowledge. He explained how the local indigenous were adverse to personal hygiene and regarded bathing as a punishment. Fascinating to see indigenous women doing construction work attired in their traditional embroidered velvet skirts. I suspect the women work much harder than the men thereabouts.

We stopped off on the way to the lake at the village of Tigua, famous for its art which only dates back to the 1970s. Paintings on stretched sheep skin canvasses depict traditional rural life in these Northern highlands: indigenous farmers herding llamas and sheep, spinning yarn and cultivating their crops on a patchwork of exposed fields and valleys; celebrating their life with feasts & festivals against the omnipresent snow capped Volcan Cotopaxi looming in the background. Tigua paintings often represent Pachamama (mother earth) and Pachakamak (the masculine spirit of creation). Susanne bought a couple of beautiful examples.

The cost of staying at the Posada was $35 a night which included dinner and breakfast. To get there you can take a bus from Latacunga (a two hour journey I understand, though road improvements were taking place when we visited so the journey may now be faster) or take a taxi, the easier though more expensive option.

 Lake Quilotoa. With Felipe, our guide and friend.

 Indigenous labourers

Posada de Tigua

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