El Descanso del Toro: An oasis of peace in Vilcabamba


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When traveling to Vilcabamba, one seeks peace, comfort, nature … If Ximena Ruiz had been told that one day she and her family would manage a place in town that could offer these perks to visitors, she would never have believed it. Seven years ago, when the family inaugurated the hotel, she was still working at a clinic.

Its privileged location offers a perk that can only be described once you experience it: waking up without the noise of car engines to the rhythm of singing birds

On the road to Yamburara Bajo, following the road east on Calle Agua del Hierro, the stoic house of Descanso del Toro appears to the right. The buildings combine pine and adobe with elegance, making its rooms cool when the sun shines, and warm when it rains. The hotel offers all the comforts one could dream of in this remote location: a swimming pool, a cinema, a karaoke bar, an outdoor sports area, parking, balconies, game rooms, an events hall, a spa, a whirlpool, medical assistance and excellent restaurant service.

Details such as the artificial cave where the Turkish baths are located or the large wooden cabinets that look like tree trunks with doors, evoke a rustic, homely ambience. It’s the kind of place you’ll miss when you leave.


The family farm, originally a small piece of land where the family grew sugar cane, slowly expanded over the years. The family bought neighboring properties and the trails across the lands eventually became small roads. Then the house and events hall were built. The initial idea was to offer rooms so that those attending the events could spend the night. The project created work for members of the local community, something the Ruiz family felt passionate about.

“When my dad was a young man, they used to call him “El Toro Ruiz” (Ruiz, the Bull). When we were looking for a name for the hotel, my mom said “Why not call it Descanso del Toro (Where the Bull Rests)?” And that’s how we named it,” laughs Ximena.

The logo has a bull lying back in a hammock… and with the sincere and warm service that pervades this family project, one quickly understands that the experience is what counts here. All of this combines with a restaurant whose healthy and attractive menu, created with the assistance of chef José Sogues, offers unique delicacies from green plantain empanadas stuffed with guinea pig to delicious taxo ice-cream.


Its privileged location on this side of Vilcabamba means it can offer mineral water from the legendary Agua del Hierro source. But perhaps the greatest perk of all is waking up in the morning to the peace and bird song. Any day starts well like that!

A beer of their own

Wilco, Descanso Del Toro’s craft beer, produces six varieties, including Ave (or Bird, a blond ale in honor of the Jocotoco Antpitta, a Loja flagship species), Oso (or bear, a sweet stout, tribute to the Andean Bear, an emblem of Podocarpus) and Toro (or bull, a red ale, in honor of the inn’s brand). They are all delicious and have a secret: they are made with water of Vilcabamba’s Sacred Valley.


Vía principal a Yanburara Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador

+ (593 7) 272 1504

+ (593 9) 98088 2809



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