Chimborazo Hill Star refuge.
Estrella del Chimborazo (Chimborazo Hill Star) named after a common hummingbird endemic in the Chimborazo area is so far Ecuador’s most comfortable and equipped mountain refuge. Located at 4,000 m (13,120 ft), it is a new concept on lodging with great comfort and excellent services in the solitude and beauty of the mountain.
The refuge is located on the southwestern flanks of Chimborazo volcano which at 6,310 m (20,702 ft) is Ecuador’s highest volcano and the furthest point from the center of the earth due to the earth’s equatorial bulge.
It was used as a Base Camp for the early expeditions to Chimborazo and as the starting point for the several treks around the volcano.
The Refuge is part guesthouse, part museum. Each wall, mantelpiece, shelf and table is covered with photos, relics from the surrounding indigenous communities and assorted climbing paraphernalia.
The construction of the refuge was made with materials from the páramo and wasteland. It is decorated with beautiful ceramic tiles, wooden structures and floors, and with photographs, engravings and objects from the Natural and Alpine History of Chimborazo. Each bedroom is named after a famous mountaineer, scientist or traveler from the XIX Century that once visited this mountain.
The refuge is owned by Expediciones Andinas – Marco Cruz. It is perfect for acclimatization before ascending Chimborazo
or nearby Carihuayrazo
From the new Terminal de buses Quitumbe located at the south of Quito, take any of the southbound buses to Riobamba
(USD. 3,75 – 3:30 hours).
From Terminal Terrestre de Riobamba take one of the several buses that go to Guaranda, but ask the driver to drop you off at Estrella Del Chimborazo or Marco Cruz lodge, 5 minutes before Casa Condor (there's a signed turnoff at the right side of the road and a big wooden gate). It is located 20 minutes after passing the town of San Juan
Estrella del Chimborazo refuge has the following facilities:
Cabins (Condor and Curiquingue)
2 Cabins with 8 double bedrooms, 4 per cabin, 2 per floor.
4 full bathrooms, 1 per floor shared by two bedrooms.
Electricity, hot water, heater.
Small living room on the second floor of each cabin.
Comfy and warm bed covers (you don’t need a sleeping bag)
Restaurant and lounge area
Shelves with slippers for guests
There’s a capacity for 30 persons in the dining room. National and International cuisine is served.
A bit of history
The historical Tambo de Totorillas
(a roadside inn) was once located in this place, along the Old Royal Road
between Quito and Guayaquil.
The refuge was rebuilt combining its traditional vernacular architecture with modern comfort and facilities.
Transportation (taxis) to the refuge can be arranged in Riobamba for about USD. 30,00 round trip. Buses from Riobamba's Terminal Terrestre leave every hour for USD. 1,50.
USD. 30,00 – USD. 50,00 for overnight, depending on number of guests.
Guests have the opportunity to see llamas and alpacas from very close while they graze in the surroundings. They have been re-introduced to the valley where once they were numerous.
The main attraction here though is the climb to the nearby hill, Cerro Chalata
(4,200 m / 13,776 ft) which I highly recommend. It’s summit is the best spot in the area, with stunning views of the surroundings as well as Chimborazo
southwestern face, Altar
volcano in the Amazon (most of the times erupting).