Hacienda Zuleta

Dating from the late XVI century, this Ecuadorian hotel lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet (2,800 meters) above the sea level, and only two hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. It was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine and named as one of the best Ecuador Hotel by National Geographic Traveler.

To visit Hacienda Zuleta is to experience four centuries of Ecuadorian history seeped in Pre-Colombian, Spanish and Ecuadorian tradition. The fortunes of the Plaza-Lasso family are intimately linked with those of the descendants of the Caranqui peoples who had once occupied the ramp mound site on the hacienda’s land. Land reforms introduced during Galo Plaza’s office as president of Ecuador devolved substantial tracts of land back to the Indian peoples, whilst the infamous ‘huasipungero’ land peonange system was abolished. Today the peoples of the region enjoy independence and some prosperity. Many are still farmers, whilst local women are productively engaged in the local cottage embroidery industry. Many of the hacienda’s employees are people from the Zuleta community. Folkloric traditions retain important links to their ancestral past, with the annual celebration of the Inty Raymi – the fiesta of Juan Baptista – the midsummer harvest festivities which interweave community and hacienda, blending the cultural traditions of pre-Spanish, colonial and the present day in a richly evolving cultural fusion.

In relatively recent years, Hacienda Zuleta has moved from being just a dairy and a stud farm into country hacienda-hotel, offering guests and visitors homemade Andean cuisine, a wonderful historic setting, and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Accommodation at Hacienda Zuleta

At Zuleta you are a guest of the Plaza family and you are welcomed as such. You will be invited to relax at your leisure in the cosy reading and living rooms, which have entertained their own entourage of famous visitors including past presidents and dignitaries. All of the guestrooms are located in the main building, which dates back to 1691. As the structure of the original colonial building could not be drastically changed, every room has its different shape and charm, which brings a feeling of unique Ecuadorian culture. Individually decorated with antiques, authentic family pictures and hand embroidered linens, the guestrooms transmit the feeling of a private home. The rooms have beautiful garden and mountain views and some provide access to private gardens, terraces or a courtyard where hummingbirds feed, making these rooms beautiful bird watching in Ecuador locations.

The double beds are queen or king size, with four pillows and anti-allergic bedding. While guests are enjoying their dinner, room service staff place hot water bottles with beautiful embroidered cases in every bed and light the fireplaces. Suites for families and adjoining rooms are available. Satellite television, movies and games are available at any time in one of the living rooms, as well as coffee, soft drinks and a bar service. Phone calls can be made from the public areas and offices. Wifi is available in some parts of the farm house and a computer with 24/7 internet service is also available for guests.

Activities at Hacienda Zuleta

Miles of meandering roads through lush pastureland, pine trees and a eucalyptus forest make the valley of Zuleta a paradise for outdoor activities, such as hiking and trekking in Ecuador. The hotel has twenty Zuleteño bred horses, mountain bikes and a horse drawn carriage upon which you can explore the area. Hacienda Zuleta’s grounds are full of beautiful and interesting sites to visit. As a internationally-recognized South American ecolodge, Zuleta is proud of the full biodiversity surrounding the farm and Ecuador hotel. Guests are invited to explore the grounds and to visit the on-site museum of Ecuadorian cheese, farm operations, archaeological sites, among others.

Zuleta has been internationally and nationally recognized for its work with the Andean condor of Ecuador. Many of our guests ride or hike to Condor Huasi, our Andean condor rehabilitation project. Located about 5 km from the house in a valley surrounded by native forest. At Condor Huasi you will be able to observe the eight condors we have in captivity and with some luck you might see wild Andean condors of Ecuador flying above you or even landing on the aviary.

Within the Hacienda grounds, you will find the largest and best preserved archaeological sites of the ancient Caranqui culture. There are 132 small earth mounds dating as far back as 700 A.D. and five large square truncated pyramids from 1200 A.D.

Ecuadorian Cuisine

As your dining experience unfolds, you will be impressed by the our exquisite cuisine of Ecuador . Virtually everything gracing the table comes fresh from Zuleta’s organic garden and rich earth and is carefully prepared by hand. Fresh milk and cream from Zuleta’s dairy cows are offered daily. Handmade Ecuadorian cheeses are produced from the farm’s fresh milk and carefully crafted in the small factory near the guesthouse. Rainbow trout are caught moments before melting in your mouth, making this a true Ecuadorian cuisine moment. Freshly churned butter melts over warm bread baked from wheat harvested on the Hacienda. Fresh organic fruit and vegetables are picked from the expansive garden of our Ecuador Hacienda and Hotel, to make unforgettable salads and freshly squeezed juices. The recipes used have been inherited from great-grandmothers and are influenced by the various countries where family members have lived over the years, but always keeping it’s true Ecuadorian cuisine taste. Many of the dishes served are so unique you will not encounter them elsewhere!

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