You arrive at Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador Hotel, in the afternoon after a drive through lush pastureland. With some luck you will have enjoyed stunning views of the snow-capped volcano Cayambe on your way, which is just a few miles away from Zuleta. Your host will welcome you personally at Zuleta and after checking in to your room and explain to you about the activities the hacienda offers and will find out about your personal preferences, needs or questions while having some afternoon tea or coffee. After planning your stay you will be shown around the main building, you will learn more about Zuleta’s history, see ex- President Galo Plaza Lasso’s private library, our chapel and wander through our beautiful gardens. As sun sets it gets chilly at Zuleta, so enjoy some wine and farm made Ecuadorian cheese beside the fireplace while reading our information folders and books, learning more about our foundation, Galo Plaza, our horse breeding business or about the local culture of Ecuadorin the highlands.
If you are an early morning person you might want to enjoy one of our short hikes before breakfast and try to catch sight of the countless birds we have at Zuleta. After an exquisite breakfast with eggs, pancakes, muesli, fruit and homemade bread you will be able to visit the cheese factory and learn more about Zuleta´s semi-aged, handmade Ecuadorian cheeses and how the process has changed throughout history. As mornings are usually sunny throughout the whole year, it is best to take advantage and use this time to take our condor tour. By hiking, biking or horseback riding to our Andean Condor reserve. In the mornings, you are most likely to spot a Ecuadorian wild condor flying by. The reserve is located 3 km from the guesthouse, in a native forest valley. You will learn about the foundation’s efforts, see rescued Andean condors in our aviary, and visit the nearby trout farm. The route back takes us through pasture land where we ride between ancient monuments of the Caranqui culture; seeing both small burial mounds dating back to 700 A.D., and giant ceremonial truncated ramp pyramids from the 13th century. At lunch time you can enjoy freshly caught trout and our exquisite Ecuador cuisine. Then have coffee in the patio whilst admiring the giant hummingbird that comes frequently to feed here. In the afternoon you can buy or order countless beautiful, hand made, colorful embroidery articles from the Zuleta women’s cooperative. Coming out of the shop our horse drawn carriage is ready and waiting for you and will take you down the eucalyptus alley to visit the foundation run library. This is where local children spend their afternoons, getting help with homework, reading and playing. You can also decide to do a more challenging hike up to Condor view which offers wonderful views of the local area and you may even be lucky enough to spot a family of Spectacle Bears along the way. You can end the day with a nice hot bath.
After breakfast we invite you to visit our organic garden, where you can learn more about permaculture and see where the ingredients for your menu and our Ecuador cuisine originate. You can explore the farm operation, feed calves, talk to the vaqueros (local cowboys) or watch our horsemen training young fillies before going on another Ecuadorian horseback ridingor bicycle riding adventure. Today we will explore the Zuleta community, and if weather conditions allow, we offer a lift up the mountain and a downhill bike ride. After the bike ride, you are welcome to have lunch at the hacienda. In the early afternoon, you can explore the Paramo garden, an interpretative site where you learn more about the rare native plants that grow above the tree line. Enjoy walking through a beautifully designed little garden. Dinner is waiting for you and with some luck you will dine with family members who have endless stories of Zuleta’s renowned history, including visits of celebrities or dignitaries.
Day 4 – departure
After breakfast we will take you on your last tour to a beautiful view point – the Cunro Mountain – from where you have a stunning view of the whole of the Zuleta valley and onwards to the town of Ibarra. While having a little snack you might get the chance to see another condor flying by. Coming back to the Hacienda it will be time to say good bye, but as you are now part of the Zuleta family, we hope to welcome you again in the near future.