Here, in the pint-sized South American nation of Ecuador, 2021 will see the continued opening to some of the most amazing — yet safe — nature vacations. Situated well away from the congested cities and crowds that you might prefer to avoid are several luxurious haciendas – jewels in South America’s crown with breathtaking landscapes and a vibrant culture to match.
The Ecuadorian Andes are peppered with such haciendas that showcase jaw-dropping views and celebrate the country’s rich heritage at the same time. Here, we have rounded up some of our favorite hacienda hotels in Ecuador.
1. Hacienda San Agustin de Callo
Located on its very own hacienda (country estate) and built on the actual site of an Inca temple, San Augustin de Callo is steeped in history. Where else can a traveler dine within still-standing Inca walls, complete with the niches that held statues of their ancestral gods? Indeed, it is the furthest point north from Cusco (Peru) that features “Imperial Style” Inca construction.
In the main building (the Inca House) are the dining room and the lounge that looks out onto a beautifully tended garden and grazing llamas. Plus, there’s a lovely small chapel where weddings are held. There’s even a house on the grounds that can be rented to families.
The rooms themselves are located either around the courtyard or in separate lodges close by. Each of these 10 rooms and suites is individually decorated with murals and all have fireplaces. On a clear day here, it seems as if you could stretch out and touch Cotopaxi Volcano — it looks so close.
2. Hacienda El Porvenir
Located a short distance from the remote northern entrance to Cotopaxi National Park, the historic Hacienda El Porvenir is uniquely situated to provide a high-altitude, cowhand-influenced vacation.
Besides the well-appointed suites and traditional rooms, El Porvenir offers accommodations in its Machai rooms, featuring single beds divided by walls of traditionally woven totora straw.
Situated on the slopes of the Rumiñahui Volcano, Hacienda El Porvenir, is also the perfect spot from which to explore the Cotopaxi National Park and get to know a bit about Andean life first hand. The hacienda is typical of the region, built with thick adobe walls and a thatched roof. Guests are invited to explore the surrounding area on horseback or on bikes.
3. Hacienda Hato Verde
During colonial times, the highlands of Ecuador was divided into large estates and more recently into “haciendas” (country estates) with their own land to maintain. Hacienda Hato Verde is part of this rich tradition.
The hacienda is part of a large, 140-year-old dairy farm. Its elegant farmhouse was reconstructed in 2009, preserving its rustic materials, decorations and style. The country house serves as the home of the owner and his family, and also has 10 thoughtfully decorated bedrooms, each with a fireplace, its own bathroom, beds with white duck-feather duvets, and a beautiful view of the farm.
You can also appreciate the impeccable masonry work of the structure, reflecting the rustic colonial- style of the region and generating a warm and inviting atmosphere. At the same time, you’ll be provided with all the comforts and necessities of a boutique hotel.
The hacienda is a few minutes south of the main entrance to the Cotopaxi National Park, in plain view of a stretch of volcanoes. Just think of yourself in one of these beautiful suites enjoying the rolling pastures of the fertile slopes surrounding you. The hacienda’s gardens coupled with the spectacular countryside of the Andes create the perfect relaxing atmosphere.
4. Hacienda Zuleta, Zuleta
Possibly one of the most revered hotels in Ecuador, this prestigious hacienda was once owned by President Galo Plazo Lasso. Since then it has become an award-winning, family-friendly boutique hotel blessed with soul-stirring views across the 5,200-acre estate.
Décor is simple and sophisticated allowing the 350-year-old building to shine with guestrooms having a wonderful homely feel to them. Being a working farm, you can be sure of dining on the freshest ingredients, with mouth-watering Ecuadorian cuisine being the order of the day.
As dusk settles gather around the bonfire in the courtyard for music and storytelling, a blanket of stars twinkling above you!
5. Hacienda Tambopaxi
Under the majesty of the Cotopaxi Volcano and surrounded by an imposing frame of five other volcanoes of the Cordillera de los Andes, lies Hacienda Tambopaxi. This hotel in Cotopaxi, Ecuador is a comfortable and hospitable place, ready to welcome a great variety of guests coming from all over the world in search of adventure, sports, wellbeing, or relaxation.
Tambopaxi is the only eco-lodge located in the heart of the Cotopaxi National Park. Serving as a high-altitude acclimatization center situated at an altitude of 3,750 meters above sea level, Tambopaxi also offers a pleasant restaurant, cabins with private bathrooms, and even a camping area. The hacienda possesses a spectacular landscape, not only of the Andean paramo grasslands, with all their flora and fauna, but also of the greatest volcanic region of Ecuador. All of this makes Tambopaxi the chosen place for expert geologists, mountain climbers, sportspeople, families, and tourists of all ages.
6. Hacienda Pinsaqui, Otavalo
Over 300 years old, Hacienda Pinsaqui is as important to the northern Ecuadorian highlands as the world-famous indigenous crafts market located in the nearby town of Otavalo. Open for day tours as well as overnight stays, Hacienda Pinasquí is a popular destination for foreign travelers and Ecuadorians alike.
Charming courtyards and tropical gardens are lovely sanctuaries to retreat to, while within the historic building itself travelers can expect to be greeted with colorful Ecuadorian touches and design features amid striking white walls.
Traditional Ecuadorian cuisine served at Pinsaqui’s handsome dining room
During your stay, you can take the opportunity to learn even more about the local culture with everything from weaving and embroidery tuition to cookery classes run by the hotel’s chef. A stay at Hacienda Pinsaqui will certainly give you an authentic experience.
7. Hacienda Cusin
The land on which Hacienda Cusin was built was owned by Phillip III, King of Spain, up until 1602. Today, the extensive grounds contain the original hacienda home, several ancient buildings that have been converted into comfortable rooms, a modern monastery built in the colonial style to blend with other structures, and a few homes available for short- and long-term rentals. Day visitors are welcome to walk through the impeccably manicured gardens and dine in the excellent restaurant.
Throughout 2021, these Ecuadorian haciendas – and the country’s travel industry in general – will remain under incredible scrutiny. So rest assured that all high-quality traveler-haciendas have already adapted their operations and standards to ensure guests are safe as travel continues to open. Consider these Ecuadorian haciendas viable options for travel this year!
Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator. Surtrek Tour Operator is a well-established firm, specializing in custom-designed luxury tours in Ecuador, the Galapagos and throughout the rest of South America.