We just spent a magical weekend in Hacienda Zuleta, and I feel compelled to share this magical experience. My husband and I arrived with our 4 little girls expecting an above average holiday experience and were positively bowled over by Zuleta.
We drove into an amazing colonial stone courtyard where we were greeted by colorfully dressed local women who cheerfully directed us to our suites. The rooms were cozy with a roaring fires in the chimney. Local embroidery, and old family photos decorated the walls, and made me feel like a very special guest in this once-home of the Ecuadorian President.
We snuggled in front of a roaring fire in one of the charmingly decorated sitting rooms and served ourselves a cocktail from the honor bar as we snacked on the local specialty- delicious, mouth-watering Zuleta Cheese!
Dinner was home-cooked and delicious accompanied by lovely South American wines.
The next two days were filled with one adventure more fabulous than the last.
We took a horseback ride thru lush gardens and paramo to the hacienda's condor project. We had the fantastic luck not only to watch the condor's in their cages doing their mating dance with the charming owner, Fernando, explaining every subtle nuance, but to actually see several others of this amazing and endangered bird circling just over our heads as we sipped lemonade. We were treated to a tour of the cheese factory- complete with lab coats and hair-nets of course. The children spent one entire afternoon playing in the straw bales and having the time of their life. We spotted the incredibly rare and endangered Spectacled Bear snacking in some local bushes. The numerous community and enviromental projects undertaken by the Carolina and the Polanco-Plaza family are too many to mention, but each deserves admiration and careful attention.
I can't say enough about this wonderful place. I only wish we had planned for a few more days to explore the myriad other options available to us: carriage rides, outdoor massages by the brook, working in the organic garden, embroidery classes, orchid gazing, etc...
Zuleta is an EXPERIENCE, not just a hotel. Here you can feel what Ecuadorian hospitality is really all about. You can see a family at work to give back to it's community and to the amazing ecosystem that embraces it. You can't go wrong with a visit to Zuleta!
Worth every penny, and then some!!!!!!!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located only two hours north of Quito, Hacienda Zuleta is a family owned, 2,000 hectare real estate with colonial buildings dating back to 1691. Situated within a tranquil and fertile valley between Cayambe and Ibarra, you will have the impression that you have traveled back in time. The expansive Hacienda Zuleta grounds include a working dairy farm, cheese factory, trout farm, horse stables and an beautiful organic vegetable garden where most of our food comes from. We also manage an Andean Condor Rescue Center and the Hacienda is surrounded by three beautiful Andean communities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hacienda Zuleta Hotel Imbabura Province
- Hacienda Zuleta Ecuador/Imbabura