I originally planned to visit Otavalo for Saturday’s market. While searching for hostels online, I accidentally came across Pacheco Farmhouse, which is rated 10 out of 10 on hostelworld (at the time of booking). It is rare for any accommodation receive such high ratings, so I decided to spend a few days visiting this place.
How to get to Pacheco Farmhouse
It takes 1.5 hours to travel from Otavalo to Pacheco Farmhouse. To get there, you have to take the bus “Otavalo” and “6 de Julio” from Otavalo heading to Intag. The 7:00 am, 10:00 am and 14:00 pm bus will pass by Pacheco Farmhouse where the rest of the buses stop in Apuela. From Apuela, you have to make your own way to Pacheco Farmhouse.
The farmhouse is three miles away from Apuela. If you take the direct bus to Pacheco, please note that the driver usually does not know the exact location of this farmhouse. You have to watch for it yourself once the bus gets to Apuela and tell the driver where you want to get off. The farmhouse is next to a coffee plantation and 10 minutes walk to the hot spring.
Why Pacheco Farmhouse is the best place to stay
I have stayed at many places in Ecuador, but Pacheco Farmhouse has remained my favorite place and here are reasons why I loved my time there.
Delicious homemade food
Pacheco Farmhouse prepares homemade meals three times a day for their guests. Despite only the breakfast is complimentary, it totally worth it to spend an extra $10-$15 daily to eat freshly homemade food. Pacheco Farmhouse owners have their own farm and grow their own vegetables, so if you are into a green diet, their homemade food will make you feel healthy and strong.
The breakfast comes with an omelet, bread, juice, and coffee. Lunch and dinner offer a variety of dishes. I enjoyed the seafood pasta on my first night and on the second day we had baked potatoes and bean salad for lunch, and pasta soup and beef for dinner. I usually eat small and crappy dinners at home, and it was a wonderful change to have a proper dinner during my travels.
At the lunch and dinner table, the workers, other travelers and I talked for hours with music and alcohol beverages. The lights were off and the candles were on, which provided a unique ambiance to relax and socialize.
Location of the room
Pacheco Farmhouse is located in the countryside, hugs Intag River, and is surrounded by mountains and native plants. These beautiful natural surroundings provide a perfect location for guests to sleep under the stars and cool wind, and wake up to the sunshine and the sound of the fast-flowing river. The room I stayed had a hammock on the front porch. Every afternoon, I lay on the swaying hammock, listened to the sound of the wind and the river, read a book, and fell asleep.
I stayed in a single room built with stone and wood. The room had a twin bed, faced the river and mountains, and was comfortable for a good night’s sleep.
A perfect place for digital detox
Pacheco Farmhouse has free Wi-Fi, but none of us decided to hog on our digital devices. We enjoyed each other’s company and walked, hiked, and chatted to each other for hours each day, and the conversation got deeper and richer. We used our phones once or twice in a few days, but that was only for sharing our travel pictures and planning our next trip.
I also felt healthier after being away from the internet and my phone. As a travel blogger, we constantly work online and connect with the outside world, but nothing beats the face-to-face communication. It was wonderful to detach myself and completely walk into nature, engage with others and build strong interpersonal relationships.
Multiple hiking opportunities
There were several unmarked trails on the other side of the river for me to make my own hiking trip. I crossed the suspension bridge, headed towards small waterfalls past coffee plantations, and looked at the water cascading down to the river. The other day, I took a morning stroll to a bridge with a gorgeous view of a farmland where plants were colorful, flowers blossomed, trees were swaying in the wind, horses happily ate grass, and the river flowed into the Intag Valley.
Two private properties were located on the other side of the river, and I was considered trespassing when I sought the waterfalls. The first time, the owner of the first property let me in. He had five dogs and they barked after me then quietly followed me afterward. The second time six of us went there looking for a hidden waterfall and we were asked to pay $6.
Hot springs of Nangulvi
The first night, two volunteers and I soaked at the hot springs for two hours and watched the full moon light up the night sky. There were several hot spring pools and each with different water temperature. One of the pools even had a zipline for adventurous souls.
Every path leads to the beautiful Intag River
The house has some beautiful surroundings and it has 300 meters of beautiful Intag River for us to explore. The farm led to the Intag River where there were some stones for us to sit on and look at the water with pure joy. The river can be reached on the other side as well, and if you walk towards the hot spring, you can see the river flow into the other direction and into the valleys.
The hosts were extremely friendly and they treated us as a part of their family. They made delicious meals and fresh juice for us, took us to the farm, ate lunch and dinner with us, and chatted with us as if we were old friends.
Two travelers I met in Quito arrived on my last day and another guest decided to extend her stay. The main reason we decided to visit was that this place received extremely great ratings, and everything this place offered lived up to it.
In the end, I did not visit Otavalo, but I totally agree with all the great things other guests mentioned about this place and will strongly recommend Pacheco Farmhouse to fellow travelers.
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