So you want to stay in a hobbit hole do you? I have the perfect place for you! Only two hours from Quito there is a beautiful retreat where there is no wifi, lots of hammocks, hobbit houses and one of the best views of Cotopaxi volcano! This place is the Secret Garden Cotopaxi and it is a dream! Our friends posted a photo of them staying in a hobbit hole and initially I thought somewhere like this would cost $500 a night. After a super quick search, I don’t think my typing fingers have moved any faster in their lives, I found out the Secret Garden offered a 3 day 2 night package for only $210 for two people or you can just pay the normal price of $88!! Our plans for after Galapagos changed in an instant and we had booked our 3 night stay!!
The package includes free transfer from the Secret Garden Quito on the day of check in. We had flown in from Guayaquil straight after Galapagos so didn’t get to stay here but this hostel seemed like a wicked place. We had a filling breakfast for something like $4 and waited to be picked up on the large hammock overlooking the city. We arrived in Cotopaxi around lunchtime where the chilled out but also very friendly and helpful volunteers at the hostel gave us the run down before seating us to a delicious hearty soup, with bread galore! Then we got showed our rooms, something I think everyone was anxious for.
The hobbit holes were exactly what we had imagined except even they were even cosier and more awesome!! And the view was just, I don’t even know what to say! I’ll let the photos do the talking.
There are dorms, hobbit homes and private rooms. The dorms and private rooms have a fireplace and the hobbit home had a heater and thick blankets which was plenty, I honestly got hot at night.
Even if we didn’t get to stay in a hobbit hole, we still would have loved our time here. There was a giant hammock overlooking the plains with Cotopaxi in the distance as well as other snow capped volcanoes and mountains. It was so picturesque! Of course there were more hammocks inside, a fire which got lit around 5pm, blankets and ponchos for everyone to use and the cherry on top, the jacuzzi!!
The hostel offered various activities; a hike to Pasochoa, mountain biking down Cotopaxi, a challenging hike up Ruminahui, horse riding and a short, easy hike to some waterfalls which was included on the first day. The Pasochoa hike was also included in the package so we did this hike and got some awesome views, definitely worth it although getting over the 4000m mark made things difficult! We were keen to go up Cotopaxi but after coming from sea level and getting puffed out just walking up to the hobbit home, we decided maybe going up to almost 5000m wasn’t going to be enjoyable so instead we made the rare decision to go horse riding and this turned out to be great day with some beautiful landscapes. I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings, fitting seeing as I was sleeping in a hobbit house.
We usually got back from activities in the early afternoon so we had time to read, chat with other travelers, play with the super cute dogs (they have five!) or enjoy the steaming hot jacuzzi. At 5pm everyday we were served a delicious snack and informed the volunteers of our plans for the next day.
The last thing that needs to get mentioned is the food! All meals are provided by the hostel and we probably ate better than we had in months. Each meal was different to the day before and just so freaking yum! Examples are banana pancakes and fruit salad with yogurt and muesli for breakfast, soup or stir-fry with bread or rice for lunch plus a snack of sandwich, tea and banana bread for those on hikes. Dinner, I think all I have to say is all you can eat pizza night plus a dessert every night, probably my favourite part!
Staying at the Secret Garden in Cotopaxi was one of the highlights of our trip and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a scenic getaway. You will see some stunning views, meet some fun people and eat some delicious food, all with the addition of staying in a home for hobbits, how cool!