A true Andean Shangri-La, we can’t recommend this place highly enough. Without a doubt our favourite place in Ecuador’s Andes, and a fabulous place to relax and soak up some Andean culture at the beginning or the end of a Galapagos trip. Hacienda Zuleta was formerly a private home (of Ecuadorean President Galo Plaza) whose descendants opened the hacienda to guests only a decade ago. The rooms are exquisitely decorated and individually styled with antiques and hand embroidered linen. The personalised service aims to make you feel like one of the family, inviting you to relax in the library in front of roaring open fires. The activities here are also superb. As well as being the heartland of an important pre-Incan civilization with dozens of Caranqui Pyramids still standing in the valley, it is also one of the few places in the world where you are virtually guaranteed to see wild Andean Condors. Fans of horse-back riding will also be in heaven with some great trails and wonderful horses suitable for absolute beginners through to experienced riders.
Nestled in a lush valley in Ecuador’s Northern Andes.
National Geographical Traveller named Zuleta as one of the top 129 Hotels they ‘Love’ in the world. Outside Magazine described it as one of the ‘Top Ten Finds in the World.’ Condé Naste Traveller described Zuleta as “a full cultural-immersion experience."
Hacienda Zuleta’s administration also manage The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, a non-profit organisation that sponsors projects which benefit the community of Zuleta and communities in the surrounding area of the Imbabura Province, their work includes the building of a library in the town which offers workshops, summer school, computers and internet and extracurricular activities. The also provide scholarships as well as education campaigns, studies into the local indigenous culture and are currently working towards creating a nursery for 2-5 year olds. Zuleta have also created the CONDOR HUASI project, to accomplish the conditional reintroduction of captive condors into the wild and provide conservation education for communities living in the area.
The hacienda is comprised of 17 different rooms, all in the main building. Each room has a different shape and charm and is individually decorated with antiques, family pictures and hand embroidered linens. All have beautiful garden or mountain views and some provide access to private gardens, terraces or a courtyard where hummingbirds feed. All double beds are king or superking size, and whilst guests enjoy their exquisite dinner, room service staff place hot water bottles with beautiful embroidered cases in every bed and light the fireplaces. Suites for families and adjoining rooms are available.
The hacienda offers superb cuisine prepared from the ingredients produced on the farm, from fresh milk, yogurt and cheese, to organically grown vegetables picked straight from the garden and trout caught moments before serving.
Horse-back riding, bird watching, condor rescue project, trekking with kilometres of beautiful self guided walks, archeological tours, embroidery project with local community, exploring the farm. For those inspired by the fabulous food or embroidery, the hacienda offers one-on-one cookery and embroidery classes. For those who want to improve their riding skills they also offer horse riding lessons.