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Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta, Mainland Ecuador

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Considered by many to be the best hacienda-hotel in Ecuador, the charming 16th Century Hacienda Zuleta is an experience in its own right, with numerous attractions and activities in and around the farm, as well as being a base for exploring the wider region. Zuleta hospitality retains an intimacy, warmth and sincerity reminiscent of a century past. The hacienda has 21 beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with their own fireplace. The lovely gardens and cosy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. Delicious Ecuadorian and International food is freshly prepared for guests with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda. The Plaza family with their natural warmth and hospitality welcome you to their country house and invite you to share life at an authentic hacienda in the foothills of the Andes of Ecuador.

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Hacienda Zuleta
  • rooms

    All the guestrooms are located in the main building of the Hacienda that dates back to 1691. As the structure of the colonial building could not be changed too much, every room has its different shape and charm. Individually decorated with antiques, authentic family pictures and hand-embroidered linens, the guestrooms transmit the feeling of a private home.The hacienda has 21 beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with their own fire place; antique gardens along with cosy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. 

    The rooms have beautiful garden and mountain views and some provide access to a private garden, terrace, or courtyard where hummingbirds feed. Double beds are queen or king size, with four pillows and anti-allergic bedding. While guests are enjoying their dinner, room service staff put hot water bottles in every bed. All the rooms have a fireplace (with security glass). Every room has a private bathroom with bath or shower. Suites for families and adjoining rooms are available. A total of five rooms can be offered with twin beds and three rooms can be equipped for triple occupancy and one as quadruple. Satellite television, movies and games are available at any time in one of the living rooms, as well as coffee, soft drinks and bar service. Phone calls can be made from the public areas and offices. 

  • facilities & activities

    At Zuleta you are very much a guest of the family and welcomed as such. You will be invited to relax at your leisure in the cosy reading and living rooms, which have in the past entertained famous visitors including.

    Hacienda Zuleta is perfect for those looking to unwind and enjoy peace and quiet in rural Ecuador. Miles of meandering roads through lush pastureland, pine trees and eucalyptus forest make the valley of Zuleta a paradise for outdoor activities, such as hiking and trekking. There are also Zuleteño bred horses, mountain bikes and a horse-drawn carriage so you can explore the area. The hotel staff are happy to suggest activities based on your interests and fitness levels.

    Horse-riding has been a Plaza family tradition for over one hundred years, and today Zuleta boasts one of the most exclusive stables in Ecuador. Zuleta is also known for its Zuleteño horse, a unique mixture of Spanish – Andalusian, English and Quarter horses. Many guests come specifically to Zuleta for one of the 3 to 10 day riding programs. Riders will have numerous opportunities to explore the Andean countryside along high altitude trails. It’s the 'páramo' that makes the experience an authentic South American horseback riding adventure.  The hotel provides half chaps, helmets, rain ponchos and a saddle bag. The South American saddle has a pommel, deep seat and is covered with a cozy sheep skin pad ensuring a comfortable ride. Every day’s ride has its particular beauty and charm; ride through valleys surrounded by mountains, past green lakes on mountain tops, snow-capped Cayambe, ancient pre-Incan earth mounds and waterfalls. See local people at work on their land and meet a saddle-maker.

    The beautiful organic and lovingly tendered gardens are a real feature and the ideal place to see birds; especially the sword-billed humming bird that feeds from the trumpet flower.

    Travel back in time with a turn in the horse-drawn carriage. If hiking and trekking are more your thing, whether you hike with a local guide or go it alone you will be spoilt for choice with numerous trails. There are also 6 mountain bikes, sized 15” to 18.5” as well as helmets - giving you chance to explore the area on two wheels. Staff will even drive guests to the top of a nearby hill so you can enjoy the descent back to Zuleta without the uphill struggle!

    Foodies might like to visit the cheese museum to learn how Zuleta’s fresh and aged, handmade cheeses are produced. Or explore the organic gardens - within three hectares, the Hacienda grow seventeen different kinds of vegetables, five different kinds of fruit, several herbs, spices and medical plants.

    Zuleta offers a unique experience for bird-watching in Ecuador by making sure that many species natural habitats are conserved through their Condor Huasi project. This history of Ecuadorian conservation has made Zuleta a preferred sanctuary for wild condors, spectacled bears, various owls, pumas and many other species. Hacienda Zuleta has over 300 cows that support Zuleta’s milk production. Milking takes place at 3pm in the afternoon (or at 5am in the morning!) and we invite you to come to the milking sheds to experience the process, feed a little calf, see giant bulls and talk to the vaqueros (local cowboys).

    If you are interested in a private milking lesson, Rosa and her cow Esperanza are happy to teach you to milk by hand. This milk is then used to make cheese and other products served fresh at the table for you to enjoy.  Next to Zuleta’s main entrance, you will find Zuleta library which offers free cultural and educational activities for the community. In the morning hours it is used as a childcare center, and in the afternoon, many children from the community arrive for help with homework. There are also extracurricular activities and workshops. You are more than welcome to visit the library and meet Zuleta’s children and it can a fantastic way to educate your own children about other ways of life.

  • dining

    Virtually everything gracing the table comes fresh from Zuleta’s organic garden 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. Fresh organic fruit and vegetables are picked from the expansive garden, to make exquisite salads and freshly squeezed juices. 

    The recipes used have been passed from generation to generation and are influenced by the various countries where family members have lived over the years. Many of the dishes served are unique and you will not encounter them elsewhere. 

  • family

    The Ecuadorian countryside offers many fun activities for children. Enjoying the outdoors, the animals, gardening, farming and local traditions makes Hacienda Zuleta the ideal place for a family holiday with school-aged children. If you prefer to unwind or take advantage of an activity that is less child-friendly the hotel can arrange a fun, supervised itinerary for your children.

    A popular children's activity is the hand-milking or perhaps a bit of dressing up is in order? Dress like a chagra cowboy with a warm poncho, special chaps and cowboy hat and learn how to use the lasso. Called a huasca by the locals, the leather lassos of the Ecuadorian Andes are used to herd free-range cattle in the mountains.

    Hidden throughout the Hacienda house are 7 treasures - children will love the challenge of seeking them out with a GPS and a cell phone, messaging freinds and family along the way to share clues. For avid den builders, construct your own straw hut. You'll even be proided with windows, a door, a roof and furniture for your new home. 

    In the evenings, sit by the fire and enjoy some star-gazing, sing songs, listen to ghost stories, toast marshmallows and make super-delicious s’mores!

  • location

    Located between 2.870 and 3.050m above sea level in the Andean mountains of Northern Ecuador and 110 km North of Quito, Hacienda Zuleta is a 2 hour drive from the capital. Blessed with an equatorial location, Hacienda Zuleta experiences a temperate climate all year round. Temperatures average between 70 and 75 degrees during the day with low humidity. Nights tend to be crisp - perfect for sitting in front of the fireplace with a warm cup of tea! January through June are characterised by sunny days with occasional spring-like showers. During this time of year, the countryside is lush and green. July and August are typically dry and provide the best opportunities for extraordinary views of the surrounding volcanoes. September through December offers pleasant weather with occasional showers.

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