To visit our Hacienda Zuleta, a unique Ecuador hotel and ecolodge, is to experience four centuries of Ecuadorian history seeped in Pre-Colombian, Spanish and Ecuadorian tradition. This Hacienda of Ecuadoroffers an unmatched slice of Ecuadorian culture.
Pre-Incan and Incan Period
The original inhabitants of the Zuleta region were the peace-loving Caranquis. They were an agrarian-based culture and flourished in this area, rich in volcanic soils, from about 800 A.D. until the arrival of the war-faring Incas in the late 1470’s. Within the grounds of our Hacienda and Hotel of Ecuador, are 130 Caranqui Mounds, which were constructed around 1200 A.D. These earth mounds were necessary to protect buildings such as huts, sheds and temples from the humidity of the ground. Although the Caranquis fought stoically against the Inca for forty years, they were eventually conquered and forced into Inca servitude. Yet Inca rule was short-lived. By 1534, the last Inca king, Atahualpa, had been captured and assassinated by the Spanish Conquistador, Pizarro, leaving the Inca empire in collapse and permitting a free for all for the land-hungry vassals of the Spanish Crown. The transitions among different dominating groups in Ecuador became an integral part of culture in Ecuador.
In the late 16th century, King Felipe II is believed to have bequeathed the Zuleta region to the Jesuits, who implemented their Spanish methods of farming and cattle and sheep production, drastically changing Ecuadorian culture of farming in our area and in the country. In the following years an ‘obraje’ (small wool mill) was established. By 1691, the Hacienda house, granary and chapel were completed and this Ecuador hotel haciendawas in full operation.
Private Ownership of Zuleta
However, in 1713, under the direction of King Felipe V, the property was confiscated and transferred to Canon Gabriel Zuleta, thus making Zuleta his seventeenth Hacienda. From this day forth the farm became known as Cochicaranqui de Zuleta. Upon the Canon’s death, the farm passed to the Posse family, who were inspired to bring this Hacienda of Ecuadorback to its previous 17th century grandeur.
The Plaza-Lasso Family
Yet it wasn’t until the farm was sold to Jose Maria Lasso in 1898 and passed through two more generations to Galo Plaza Lasso, the ex-President of Ecuador, bullfighter and diplomat, that Zuleta recaptured its original prosperity as a producing Hacienda of Ecuador. A farmer at heart, Lasso was an ardent supporter of modern agriculture and through this conviction he was the first to bring Holstein cows, systematic seed selection and tractors to Ecuador, which changed farming. Zuleta was his flagship, the place where each of these technologies was showcased. In recent years, the historic doors of this unmatched Hacienda of Ecuador have been opened to visiting tourists seeking homemade Andean cuisine, historic setting, horseback riding, hiking, nature watching and the top-rated Ecuador hotel.