Haciendas of Andean Ecuador

Cultural and environmental exploration of highland colonial towns and countryside trails
Overview

overview

"Hacienda" is Spanish for estate, referring to a mostly self-sufficent and status-oriented institution. At one time, these estates most likely served a specific purpose. For example, some are former plantations, mines, or factories. Over the course of this trip, you will have the opportunity to stay in these historic structures and experience the life of a "Patròn," or hacienda owner. Wander the surrounding rolling countryside. Horseback ride in deep valleys, offering spectacular views of the unique Andean environment. Learn what it means to live in fully-sustainable isolation, with everything you need right where you are. Talk to locals about their way of life by watching a stained glass artisan produce his craft or a young vendor selling fruit at the lively market. Walk the cobblestone streets of old colonial towns and enjoy a traditional cup of coffee in an open plaza, or munch on "biscochos" in the privacy of your comfortable hacienda.

Andean Ecuador is the definition of picturesque, complete with bubbling creeks, indescribably beautiful estates, and wide, seemingly never-ending spaces. Journey there with us for a cultural exploration of a lesser traveled aspect of this beautiful country.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Quito
    Welcome to Quito.

    Welcome to Quito! Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

    Lodging
    Hotel Vieja Cuba or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Cayambe / Otavalo
    Enjoy the incredible hacienda grounds.

    Departing from Quito, visit the small village of Calderon located along the Pan-American Highway. Here you'll learn about the tradition of bread dough figures by visiting a workshop of these colorful crafts. Continue north into the valley of Guayllabamba and on to the southern part of the valley of Cayambe where the equator meets the highway.

    From here continue north to the village of Cayambe to search for a local delicacy, the famed "biscochos," biscuits made by locals. Try this local snack along with fresh cheese. Progressing north, you reach Imbabura, the "Province of the Lakes" and make a great photo stop at Miralago viewpoint.

    A few minutes further, reach Hacienda Cusin, and enjoy a fantastic lunch of the well-known cuisine of this property. This hacienda is a restored 17th-century estate located at an altitude of 8,500ft. It features guest rooms, cottages, suites, and salons furnished with antiques and select Andean crafts, log-burning fireplaces, beamed ceilings and extensive ceilings.

    In the afternoon, depart to visit Otavalo and its market for a variety of goods and great shopping. After the market, return to the Hacienda Cusin. Enjoy the hacienda grounds and a nice dinner.

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda Cusin
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Hiking / Zuleta
    Ecuadorian women.

    After a good breakfast, start your half day hike towards the eastern flank of Imbabura volcano across fertile farmlands on old cobblestoned roads and different trails to reach the pass of the valley of Angochahua at 10,000 feet above sea level. Box lunch will be enjoyed along the way. After the pass, descend into the valley to reach the community of Zuleta, well known by the hand embroidery. Visit a local workshop and learn about this crafting tradition.

    From there, drive the last part of the excursion to the city of Ibarra to Hacienda Chorlavi. Chorlavi was the first property purchased by the Jesuits in the region (1620). It became known as the Jesuits' Monastery, a lordly mansion of countrymen which was designed and decorated in European style. After the Jesuits were expelled, the Tobar family took over the estate, and six generations later, they still own it. It wasn't until 1973 that Jose Tobar transformed Chorlavi into a country inn.

    After a good rest, enjoy your dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda Chorlavi
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Santa Catalina de Salinas
    Enjoy the traditional Ecuadorian music and dance.

    After breakfast, drive to the local train station (Thu, Fri, Sat) to take a ride on this newly restored railway down to the village of Santa Catalina de Salinas. The train ride itself follows the canyon of the Ambi River crossing on high bridges and tunnels providing a very dramatic scene. After one and a half hours, you'll reach the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Santa Catalina de Salinas, where you'll learn about the history and traditions of these people. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to Ibarra along a very panoramic drive. A short visit to the old art of the city will show us a lovely colonial looking town with ample plazas and cobblestone streets bursting on commercial activity and some historical places.

    On the way back to the hacienda, you'll drive across town and stop at the city of Ibarra to try the local handmade fruit ice cream. Upon arrival, take some time to relax before dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda Chorlavi
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Chagras
    You'll feel right at home at the Hacienda La Alegria.

    After breakfast, depart for the Valley of Cayambe, the rose capital of Ecuador. Here you'll visit an important rose plantation to learn more about this industry. Afterwards, depart south for about an hour, descending into the valley of Maachachi, a green territory mainly covered by dairy farms until you detour to access Hacienda La Alegria, a great way to get introduced to the spirit of the Andean Haciendas and their daily works. The hacienda is a family-run organic farm which specializes in horseback excursions amid the majesty of the high Andes of the Equator. Visit the grounds and get suited for an approximately two hour horseback outing along old cobblestone roads and trails leading to a great viewpoint of La Viudita, which overlooks the entire valley. Along the way, breath-taking scenes and great photo ops will be plentiful. Return to the hacienda house and freshen up to enjoy a typical lunch hosted by the hacienda owner. After lunch enjoy an exciting demonstration by the Chagras, on their riding and working skills.

    Enjoy an afternoon of leisure on the hacienda grounds, followed by a nice homemade dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda La Alegria
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Valley of Latacunga
    Enjoy the scenic drives during your trip.

    Following breakfast, head south along the Pan-American Highway to reach the Valley of Latacunga. Along the way, make a short visit to Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, a unique colonial property built on the remains of an Inca facility. After this visit, continue south to the city of Latacunga and visit a local produce market with colorful scenes of local people and varied fruits and vegetables. From here, you'll reach a stain glass window artisan's home where you'll learn about their fascinating craft and work.

    After lunch continue south along the so-called "Avenue of Volcanoes" on your way to Hacienda Manteles, which encompasses a 200 hectare area of protected primary forest. Upon arrival, check-in, rest a little, and have some free time to walk the grounds. Later, you'll have a typical Andean hacienda dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda Manteles
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Latacunga / Rose Plantation
    Ecuadorian food is fresh and versatile.

    After a good breakfast, depart south again along the Pan-American Highway to reach the city of Latacunga and make a short visit to Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, a unique colonial property built on the remains of an Inca facility and from there continue to visit one of the important rose plantations of the region.

    After this visit, continue south to the city of Latacunga and visit a local market with colorful scenes of local people and varied fruits and vegetables. Enjoy a home hosted lunch at an artisan's home where you'll learn about their fascinating craft and work.

    Return to Hacienda Manteles for dinner and a restful night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda Manteles
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Mount Chimborazo / Province of Cotopaxi

    After breakfast, head back to the heart of the Andean mountains to circle the base of Mount Chimborazo, the highest point in the Ecuadorian Andes with spectacular views and a good chance to see vicuñas, grazing free on these extensive gravel plains.

    A picnic lunch will be catered by Hacienda Manteles. Return north towards the province of Cotopaxi, with a stop at a local naive ceramic workshop. Your trip will continue to Hacienda La Cienege, a three-hundred-year-old country mansion converted into a hotel some years ago. Enjoy the grounds of this magnificent estate followed by a delicious dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hacienda La Cienege
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Quito
    Hacienda La Corriona will gratiously welcome you.

    After breakfast, drive to Cotopaxi National Park to reach Hacienda El Porvenir where you will get suited with riding chaps, ponchos, and good hats for a horseback riding excursion in the extensive meadows of Rumiñahui. Enjoy lunch back at the Hacienda El Porvenir.

    Afterward, start your return to Quito. Stop along the way at Hacienda La Corriona, another old property that is almost absorbed by the growing city. Here you will have a traditional cup of coffee and home baked bread.

    Finally, reach your hotel in downtown Quito for your final night in Ecaudor.

     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Vieja Cuba or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Onward
    So long, Ecuador!

    After breakfast, depart early morning for your flight onward.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,325
2015: $3,425
Single Supplement:
$700
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
Charming Haciendas
Group Size:
2-6
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
Charming Haciendas

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Amazon Rainforest Lodge

Duration: 4 days

Explore the rainforest habitats accompanied by native guides while staying at a charming lodge, designed to offer comfort while preserving the environment and ambiance of the rainforest.

×