Mission Statement & Vision
Black Sheep Inn aims to provide a comfortable, educational experience for guests, teaching about the local area, customs and Permaculture, while contributing to and improving the local community and the natural environment. The goal is to be a leader in environmental stability and ecotourism. When someone first arrives and walks up the driveway, we want to surpass their expectations.
Who We Are
A Little History
We, Andres Hammerman & Michelle Kirby, started building the Black Sheep Inn in 1995. We're both from the USA. For years we were hardcore backpackers, searching out destinations not mentioned in guidebooks, always looking for an adventure off the beaten path. And in 1992 we discovered the town of Chugchilán.
The beauty of the dramatic countryside and the friendliness of the people won us over. We did not want to leave the village. We stayed with a local family for two weeks who took us in as their own. But when they offered to sell us land, we thought they were crazy! The longer we stayed in Chugchilán, the more we realized it was the right place for us. We finally tore ourselves away, teary eyed and promised the local family we would come back in a couple years to buy their land.
We went back to the USA and worked hard determined to save money. In 1994 we returned to Ecuador and bought a piece of property in Chugchilán in 1995. We knew we couldn't survive by farming potatoes, but had faith that the beauty and remoteness of Chugchilán would be enough to attract tourists to the 'Bed & Breakfast' we would build: "The Black Sheep Inn".
Dreams Come True - We are Conservationists
Now, over 15 years later, we look back and marvel at what we have done. It has been an incredible learning experience. We have both become "Jacks-of-all-Trades," installing electrical and water systems, learning permaculture farming techniques, making adobe bricks, cutting trees for firewood and beams, building furniture, and learning how to run a business in Ecuador. We are now accomplished architects, we have earned doctorate degrees from the International School of Trial and Error (ISTE). Our dissertations were filled with many major errors! With an average of over ten guests per night at the Black Sheep Inn, the village of Chugchilan is now 'on the tourist map.' Our dream became reality.
Chugchilán has not lost its charm due to the influx of tourism. We are deeply involved with the community. Michelle teaches English and basic computer skills in the local high school. We have received and donated several dozen computers and a copy machine to the community. We have established a small public library with over 1000 Spanish reading books and 10 computers for educational programs. Tourism has provided a new source of income for the village and the people are friendlier than ever. Humberto Ortega now has a thriving business leading horseback rides and two local families have also opened their own hostels. Check out Hostal Casa Mama Hilda and Cloud Forest Hostel. Chugchilan has something for everyone.
A Work in Progress
We are constantly building and improving the Black Sheep Inn. The newest features include a Massage Room with woodstove, Yoga Studio, Weight/Exercise room, Waterslide and Frisbee Golf. A new laundry area was completed in 2005 along with large adobe storage room. In 2003, we opened a new bunkroom, with a fantastic view and bigger beds. The old bunk room has become a volunteers' room. Other improvements at the Black Sheep Inn since 1997 include a Guest Lodge, Common Area and Dining Room, woodstoves in all the private rooms, extra set of pillows, larger bath towels, path lighting, a Sauna, 3 new composting toilets, FREE Tea and Coffee, a tree house, a Zipline Cable Swing, Internet Service and more.
In 2006 we finished a new managers room with bathroom and shower, expanded and remodeled our office, installed an Ozone Water purification system, installed Satellite Internet and wireless access in the main guest lodge, opened a new cold food bodega and a wine cellar and Andres now has his own tool and hardware storage room.
We have been included in National Geographic Adventure's Top 50 EcoLodges 2009.
You can check out a
of the Delta SkyMag article.
Winner - 5th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards in the category of Rural Accommodation in 2006. We were invited to Thailand to receive the plaque. How cool is that?
* Finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Award - World Travel & Tourism Council
* Highly Commended, Best in Mountain Environment - First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards
* Winner in Conservation - Smithsonian Magazine/Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Sustainable Tourism Awards
2002, 2003 & 2004
* Short-Listed - Responsible Traveler Award 2004
* Top 10 Ecolodges in the World - Outside Magazine 2003
* Eco-Certified - by Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism and the Ecuadorian Ecotourism Society, 2003
* Best Website - Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism in 2002
Over the years, Black Sheep Inn has been featured in various newspapers,
magazines and blogs. Ecotourism and green travel are gaining strength!
Black Sheep Inn is proud to be outstanding in it's flock when it comes to
affordable ecological tourism.
Please let us know if you've read an article about us that is not listed here.
|National Geographic ADVENTURE||Top 50 ECOLODGES
by Global Travel Editor Costas Christ and Kate Siber 2009
|Delta SKY Magazine||
Top 10 Eco-Resorts - PDF of Article
|Unique Travel Destinations||Eco Rustic ~ Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador
September 25, 2009
Chugchilán En Eco-Herberg The Black Sheep Inn
June 5, 2009
Ecotourism promotes responsible travel that respects natural environment
March 30, 2008
ECOCLUB Celebrates Earth Day with Photo Essay
Competition on Waste Management in Tourism
Athens, 21 March 2007
Un viaje en auto por la mitad del mundo
January 14, 2007 - Nuevo Herald
|South Coast Today||
Rochester native and her husband operate award-winning,
environmentally friendly hotel in Ecuador
December 16, 2007
Black Sheep Inn -- An Ecological Inn
By Matt Kelly 2004
|Les Trois Escargots||
Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador
Saturday, March 31, 2007
|Travelpod.com||Black Sheep Inn
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
|Ecuador.com||Enjoy an Ecologically Friendly Stay in Ecuador|
BURNING AMBITION: CLIMBING VOLCANO, GETTING DOWN
August 13, 2006
|Radio Nederland Wereldomroep||
Nancy Wiltink ging met haar man en dochters naar Ecuador
March 7, 2006
Eco tours offer natural view
Dec 18, 2005
|San Francisco Chronicle||
Smithsonian honors 'sustainable' sites
Sep 18, 2005
Vacationers seek thrills during rest, relaxation
August 30, 2004
|Healing Lifestyles & Spas (USA)||Lodging with a Conscience
Eco Retreats That Save the Planet and Soothe Your Soul
May/June 2004 - By Ann Costa LaRose
|Masa Acher/Voyager Geographical Magazine (Israel)||On the Map - An Eco-Lodge in Ecuador
Spring 2004 - By Dovev Roshina
|Wild Fibers Magazine||
Shopping in Ecuador - A Look at Andean Life with Llamas
By E. A. Nelson
|The Wanderer (USA)||George Kirby IV and family
and Michelle were featured in a photo at Laguna Quilotoa posing with a copy of The Wanderer. March 2004
|EcoClub (Greece)||Travel Ideas from EcoClub
ECO TRAVEL IDEAS showcases each month, genuine Ecolodges
February 2004 - By Antonis Petropoulos
|Green Hotelier (UK)||Hotel Environment Action Month (HEAM)
practical solutions for responsible hospitality
|Sustainable Travel Report (USA)||The Responsible Tourism e-Newsletter
Featured Tourism Supplier: Black Sheep Inn
January 2004 - By Brian T. Mullis
Wild Ones - Combining comfort with conscience has never been easier
July 2003 - By Graham Holliday
|Miami Herald (USA)||Eco Lodges Around the Americas
10 of our favorite eco-holiday options in the Americas
July 2003 - By Graham Holliday
|Sunday Herald (UK)||The eco tourist
May 2003 - By Graham Holliday
|Outside Magazine||Top 10 Eco-lodges in the World
The Black Sheep Inn, was picked along with 10 other fantastic Eco Lodges around the world, as one of the best!
March 2003 - By Natasha Singer
|Chicago Tribune||Want to be an Ecotourist?
Here's how to find genuine destinations
January 2003 - By Charles Lockwood
|El Universo (Guayaquil, Ecuador)||ECOTURISMO - Aventura en los Andes
November 2001 - By Yolanda Pincay
|Permaculture International Journal (Australia)||High Life in the Andes
February 2000 - By Rick & Naomi Coleman
Ecotourism In Ecuador
Planeta.com Black Sheep Inn co-authored Seven Recommendations for Strengthening Ecotourism in Ecuador. Since December 2002 we have been working with Grupo Internet en Favor del Ecoturismo Ecuatoriano (GIFEE), a grassroots cyber-collective. Together we have created seven recommendations for the Ecuadorian Government to take action in realizing Ecuador's potential as an international ecotourism leader. Check out the letter that was sent to a number of government officials. GIFEE letter (at Planeta.com) and GIFEE letter (at EcoClub.com).
South American Explorers Club SAEC - One of the best sources of information on Ecuador. The Club is a non profit organization with Clubhouses in Quito, Ecuador, Lima and Cuzco, Peru and Argentina. Head office is located in Ithaca, New York. Membership fees are used to fund extensive resources for travelers, and additional projects of social and cultural merit in South America.
ITACA ITACA provides free information in both English and Spanish on Appropriate Technology such as water systems, sanitation, electricity, stoves, construction and more. Check out their website for great information and designs.
Transitions Abroad For over 30 years, the single most useful and comprehensive resource - THE Web portal - for Work Abroad, Study Abroad, Cultural Travel Overseas and International Living. We wrote an article for their online magazine entitled "Slow Tourism in Ecuador - Travel That Raises Awareness"
Ecuadorian Association of Ecotourism Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Ecoturismo (ASEC). The Black Sheep Inn is an active member of this association. ASEC has helped to certify 12 organizations as "Empresas Especial de Ecoturismo." We are honored to be one of the first to be Eco-Certified in Ecuador.
EcoTurismo Latino A site that aims to be a bridge between enterprises who offer any alternative tourism service or product, and domestic or international travelers; achieving an exchange of updated information, alternative tourism services and products, and human solidarity.
Please email us with updates to any of these sites, or suggestions of additional sites to include.
International Ecotourism and Conservation
Eco Hotels of the World An independent guide to some of the greenest hotels on the planet. In a world where the choices we make increasingly impact on our environment, why not search for your next hotel here and enjoy a holiday knowing that you are one of the good guys! Buy the Eco Hotels Book!
iStayGreen.org Index and rating of Green Lodging and Eco-Friendly Hotels. Stay at a "green" property. Support properties that are making efforts to be environmentally friendly. Review properties you visit and share what they're doing for our environment. Invite people to join your network at iStayGreen and share with others. Black Sheep Inn maintains a "Very Good Rating", 3 Green Eco-Leafs.
EcoTrotters Ecotrotters is a growing online community of ecotravelers. At EcoTrotters.com you'll be able to share your previous eco experiences and research your next ecovacations.
One Green Earth One green earth is an online eco directory, that has been running since October 2006. We offer green businesses a profile page with a link to their site, in our directory for FREE. The Book of Green: One Green Earth has teamed up with Allthingseco to create Book of Green - a paperback eco directory, with a print run of 30,000 and an online flip page magazine version with clickable links.
Greenpeople.org An online directory of eco-friendly businesses, organizations and events (since 1998). Our motto is: "Buy Green, Sell Green, Be Green"
Greendirectory.net Environmental Links, News, Courses & Jobs
Selva Bananito Ecolodge Ecolodge in Costa Rica, One of the Top 10 Ecolodges in the World.
Organic Holidays UK Offers a wide selection of places to choose from in their website directory.
EcoIQ Magazine Online journal dedicated to the creation of a future that works, smart choices aligning economics and ecology.
Eco Tropical Resorts An Ecotourism directory of Eco Resorts and Eco Lodges in the Tropics. Find the Eco Lodge or Eco Resort of your dreams on this ecotourism hotel lodging directory. They are now starting a certification program called the Butterflies.
ethicalescape For those who wish to travel lightly and to encourage others to do so. The site includes country guides, travel advice, health advice & details of ethical, ecologically sound holidays & eco-friendly holiday accommodation.
Green Vacation Hub Linking travelers with accommodations that emphasize good health and green practices, the Hub is at the center of sustainable travel.
Green Volunteers Black Sheep Inn is proud to be listed in Green Volunteers, the World Guide and Information Network to Voluntary Work in Nature Conservation.
Transitions Abroad Created as the antidote to tourism, a magazine with the specific goal of providing information that would enable travelers to actually meet the people of other countries, to learn about their culture, to speak their language, and to "transition" to a new level of understanding and appreciation for our fascinating world. Great resources for work, study, travel or living abroad. Fantastic Magazine.
EcoFriendly Hotels Worldwide RHS Mission pursues the triangular system of: Conservation - Education - Sustainable Development (CESD) within the Hospitality and Tourism Industry Worldwide. La Mision de RHS persigue el sistema triangular de: Conservacion - Educacion - Desarrollo Sostenible (CESD) dentro de la Industria Hotelera y de Turismo en el mundo.
Sustainable Travel International STI was founded in the year 2002 as a not-for-profit organization (501 c-3). STI is the national body for eco-certification within the travel and tourism industry of the United States. STI strives to attract a diverse membership including accommodation and tour operators, tourism planners, resource managers, travelers, students and teachers, tourism and environmental professionals, and local and regional tourism agencies and associations. See their carbon offset programs.
ResponsibleTravel.com Promotes holidays in over 100 countries ranging from B&B's in Scotland; to walking holidays in Spain; beach resorts in the Caribbean; swimming with Humpback Whales in Tonga or volunteering with street children in Ecuador. Our suppliers vary from large corporations and international operators to indigenous communities and local families who invite guests to stay with them. Black Sheep Inn is a 2005 Responsible Travel Winner!
Southern Cross Permaculture Institute Southern Cross Permaculture Institute Australia. Rick and Naomi Coleman came to Black Sheep Inn in 1998 to teach a Permaculture Design Course to 20 of our neighbor community farmers.
Eco Tour Victoria This site lists all the Ecotour Specialists that operate in and around Victoria BC and further afield on Vancouver Island.
Ecotourism Society of Pakistan This may seem unusual because the great distance between Ecuador and Pakistan, but they have excellent resources and links on their site.
EkoClub Ekoclub in Bulgaria's mission is to support and conserve nature, to plant new trees, to support the authenticity, the customs and the traditions of Bulgaria, to promote sustainable tourism, to provide employment for the local people and to grow as people.