My favorite hostel in the entire world is The Secret Garden hostel at the Cotopaxi Volcano about two hours from Quito, Ecuador.

There is a Secret Garden in Quito as well, and transport between the two is the most direct and affordable way to get to Cotopaxi. Just call the Quito Secret Garden to arrange it.

I couldn’t resist writing a poem using the phrase ‘silence of the llamas.’ Look for it beneath the photo gallery!

Click on the first picture to see the pics larger (refresh your screen if you have trouble).

Cotopaxi Sleeps

Gravel crunches under my feet.
A bird rustles free from a grassy ditch.
But beneath those sounds
I sense an immense silence.

Clouds swim by in the cartoon sky
Ancient stoic mountains ponder in the distance.
Their craggy names reflect their rocky shapes.
Ruminahui. Illiniza. Sincholagua.
Cows gaze and chew sideways as I stroll by.
I can hear the silence of the llamas who squint into the wind.
Hushed horses twitch their tails and watch me pass.

Towering before me
The underlying overarching dominating source of silence
The virile volcano Cotopaxi.

Quitely parting his cloud cloak
Cotopaxi reveals red earth slopes
A dragon’s color in this folk-art scheme
The glacier at his head breathes steam
The top a gaping maw

The hills that undulate beneath my boots
Were bus-sized boulders Cotopaxi spit
When flame and boiling rock walked this path
But for now
The silence reigns.

Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Cookie Shaw

    August 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    You are too awesome !!! I really really loved your poem …

  • Kristy

    August 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    What an incredible place! Your love of it shows in your writing, photos and poem. Well done on all counts!!

  • Lauren

    August 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks, Cookie!

    Craig hiked up to the glacier on the volcano one day and climbed a mountain the second day! I just took walks, laid in hammocks, read books and drank coffee and wine. 🙂

  • Lauren

    August 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I cannot recommend Ecuador highly enough as a travel destination, and this hostel in particular.

    You would Love the deep peace and beaty of this place, Kristy!

  • Debbie Carter

    August 22, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Gorgeous Lauren, I’ll have to put this on my bucket list.
    Loved the poem.