Fran and Dan have a glorious place and they generously share with style and high quality food, much of it grown on site. We came to see the Pale headed Brush Finch at the nearby Yunguilla Preserve owned by Jocotoco Foundation. But the big payoff was the rest and nurturing we received in the middle of our marathon month long birdwatching trip to Colombia and Ecuador. Just 1-1/2 easy hours from Cuenca. And a great price. Highly recommend.
We just got back from a 2-night getaway at the Santaurio Hibiscus hosteria in the Yungilla Valley. Living in the Cuenca area, this was our second visit to Hibiscus, only 1 ½ hours from Cuenca, but in a totally different, subtropical climate with amazing views of the immense valley. Staying at the Hibiscus makes it a beautiful and relaxing stay. It’s set amidst lush gardens that include tropical flowers – and the birds and butterflies they attract – coffee trees (they make their own coffee), banana groves, a small 2-hammock garden area, and a clearing for spectacular sunrise or sunset views. The rooms are charming, but with comfortable walk-in showers. Yungilla is also very close to the Giron waterfalls and 1 ½ hours from Machala on the coast, so good options for extra day trips from the Hibiscus; and the Jocotoco Bird Reserve is a short 45 min. hike up their road! Dan and Franziska, owners and hosts, add to the experience. Aside from being enjoyable and interesting people, they are helpful for everything you might need, including giving you a personal tour of the property, serving you a beverage or snack on the patio, making arrangements for transportation, or calling local restaurants for you (not many, but being closer to the coast, always fresh seafood – we recommend for lunch). One of our highlights, Francesca provides delicious gourmet meals nightly (working around any dietary requests you might have). Lunch is available as well, and a hearty breakfast is included. You can take the bus from Cuenca or Hibiscus also provides a door-to-door driver for a reasonable fee ($30-$35, depending on where you are picked up). We look forward to our next visit!…
We arrived on a Friday evening and were the only guests. So Franziska (owner and founder) welcomed us extremely friendly, explained us all about Yungiulla and cooked an amazing dinner later the day. The next day we followed Franziska's recommendation and experienced the most culture hike one can do within 8 hours. Overall, the hotel is super clean, perfectly located, great food, best coffee from their own coffee plantation and super friendly owners! I can only recommend the Santuario Hibiscus as accommodation.
...Fran and Dan were gracious and our room was ready. They are awesome hosts and went out of their way with all sorts of special things, like phone calls for us since we don't speak Spanish well enough, touring us about the town and possible rental housing, and letting us leave some personal items while we were out of town for a couple of days. We felt like family AND honored guests. We've stayed in hotels all over the world (on six continents) and Santuario Hibiscus rates up there with the best of the best in terms of hospitality. Fran and Dan easily prepare the best food we've had in Ecuador and it's very reasonably priced. Yum!
An absolutely elegant and cozy sanctuary in a spectacular setting only a scenic 2 hour bus trip from busy Cuenca. If you need a get away weekend this an ideal place to relax, recharge and be pampered. Fran and Dan are wonderful hosts, friendly, warm, engaging and both interested and interested. They and the Santuario exude a calmness and serenity that is nourishing and restorative. The meals were healthy and delicious. If you are very lucky, perhaps Dan will serve his mouth watering, melt in your mouth carrot cake. His recipe is secret and but its no secret that it is the best carrot cake in the world!