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Ecuador boutique hotels hacienda Zuleta Andean estate

Hacienda Zuleta

Upon stepping through the gates of Hacienda Zuleta, one enters into a historical legacy dating back thousands of years. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Andes Mountains, the fertile valley still bountifully supports its inhabitants and is sited as a model for farming and land use in Ecuador and all of the Andes.

Today the working farm thrives under the supervision of former Ecuador President Galo Plaza’s descendants. the farm produces a wide range of products including: milk (5000 liters per day), cheese, barley, quinoa, potatoes, wheat, organic vegetables and compost and also boasts a wide variety of  livestock, dairy cows, sheep and horses.

Recently, Zuleta was opened to a limited number of guests so that the public may enjoy the many wonders it holds. Of special interest to many guests are the hand-embroidery workshop, condor rehabilitation project, trout farm and cheese factory.  Tours of the entire farm are a typical part of every guest’s stay. You are usually privately escorted by a Plaza family member, another gesture of Zuleta’s renown hospitality.  

The Stables

Zuleta is as famous for its horses and riding program as it is for its history and hospitality. Riding has been a Plaza family tradition for over one hundred years, and today Zuleta reflects this equestrian affinity by boasting one of the most exclusive stables in Ecuador. Zuleta is also known for its Zuleteño horse which is a unique mixture of Spanish-Andalusian, English and Quarter horses. The outcome of this cross-breeding is a robust Andean horse with a good disposition for riding.

Location

Located between 2870 and 3050 meters in the Andean mountains of Northern Ecuador and 110 kilometers north of Quito, the Hacienda can be reached within two hours from the capital.

Climate

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 a fireplace and a warm cup of tea!

January through June are characterized 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 offer pleasant weather with occasional showers.

Activities

While at Zuleta you can enjoy a wonderful array of activities within the private 1.800 hectare property. 

  • Miles of meandering mountain roads and trails make Zuleta an oasis for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Riders will have numerous opportunities to explore the Andean countryside along high altitude trails (between 9.000 and 11.000 feet) that wind through ‘páramo’ grasslands and cloud forest, along cobblestone trails and through local villages. 
  • Archaeological tours of the Caranqui Pyramids take you back in time to when the Zuleta valley was populated by ancient civilizations.  
  • The working farm itself offers a variety of entertaining possibilities with the trout farm, cheese factory, dairy and many other activities. 
  • Guests are also invited to visit the Gallo Plaza Foundation’s projects which include the women’s community embroidery project and the condor repopulation project. 
  • When you have exhausted all the options on the hacienda itself, you can venture out to the local villages and markets, including the world famous indigenous market in Otavalo.   
  • Festival of San Juan, a centuries old tradition. In June, on a weekend decided by the Zuleteño people, the Festival of San Juan turns the normally bucolic countryside into a grand parade of color and tradition. 

All-day excursions include a country picnic of freshly-baked bread, Zuleta cheeses, fruit and wine. 

Facilities

Rooms:

Zuleta is a nineteen room estate with nine rooms available to guests. Open only to a limited number of visitors per year, Zuleta hospitality retains an intimacy, warmth and sincerity reminiscent of a century past. Additionally, Zuleta offers a privacy rarely achieved in the 20th century. 
    
At Zuleta you are a guest of our family and you are welcomed as such. All guests receive a private room with hand-embroidered linens and beautiful garden views.    

Services:

You will be invited to relax at your leisure in our cozy reading and living rooms, which have entertained their own entourage of famous visitors including past presidents and dignitaries. 

The Cuisine: Fine Country Dining

As your dining experience unfolds, you will be impressed by the Hacienda’s sustainability. Virtually everything gracing the table comes fresh from Zuleta’s rich earth and is carefully prepared by hand. 

Fresh milk and cream from Zuleta’s dairy cows are offered daily.           
  
Handmade cheeses are produced from the farm’s fresh milk and carefully crafted in the small factory near the guest house.

Rainbow trout are caught moments before melting in your mouth.

Freshly churned butter melts over warm bread baked from wheat harvested on the Hacienda.

Fresh organic fruit and vegetables are picked from the expansive garden to make unforgettable salads and freshly squeezed juices.

Hacienda Zuleta photo gallery

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Main Offices Address: Av. Gral. Rumiñahui , San Rafael                                                                                                           Quito - Ecuador