Upon stepping through the gates of Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador, 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.
“Surprising, isn't it, how often you can work the conversation around to the fact that you've slept in a house that belongs to the presidential family? Never mind that this particular president, Ecuador's Galo Plaza Lasso, has been out of office since 1952. His descendants will treat you like a member of the family at Hacienda Zuleta, a historic retreat in the Andean cloud forest about two and a half hours northeast of Quito. The adobe hacienda, built in 1691, is the centerpiece of a 4,000-acre working farm that includes a dairy, cheese factory, organic garden, tree nursery, trout farm, embroidery workshop, and condor-raising project. Most guests saddle up one of 90 horses and ride out through pine and eucalyptus forests and high-altitude grasslands to pre-Inca archaeological sites amid magnificent volcano views. You can also hike, cycle, or take tours to nearby indigenous villages. The nine guest rooms are appointed with Spanish Colonial antique furniture, down comforters, and linens embroidered by local Indian women. And unlike in the U.S., you don't have to make a political donation to sleep at the president's house...”
IMBABURA - Hacienda ZULETA
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 Zuleteno horse which is a unique mixture of Spanish-Andalusian, Thoroughbred and Quarter horses. The outcome of this cross-breeding is a gentle, calm and robust Andean horse with a perfect disposition for trail riding.
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. Transfers with english speaking guides from Quito or other places can be arranged with prior notice.
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.