Just beyond the famed market town of Otavalo is the gateway to the Andean Highlands of Ecuador, home of the longest mountain chain in the world. This region is a vast tapestry of untamed volcanoes, misty cloud forests, and some of the Earth’s most impressive peaks. Nestled within their grandeur lies the unassuming 17th-century allure of Hacienda Zuleta.
This 4,000-acre working farm is one of Ker & Downey’s favorite Ecuadorian destinations for its authentic pastoral charms, farm-to-table feasts, and beautiful Andean setting, all of which provide an exclusive glimpse into the day-to-day happenings of a true colonial hacienda. Here are just a few of Hacienda Zuleta’s multifaceted highlights which promise to enhance any custom Ker & Downey luxury journey to Ecuador.
Thriving under the extended family of former President Galo Plaza Lasso for more than 100 years, Hacienda Zuleta is the product of a deeply engrained hospitality—a characteristic that makes each stay feel like you are a guest of the family.
The lovely guestrooms are both an echo of the hacienda’s ancient heritage and a manifestation of modern comfort. Cozy fireplaces, eclectic floorplans, locally produced basketry, and hand-embroidered linens are just a few of the quaint details that contribute to the “real” Ecuador country escape experience.
What really makes the Hacienda Zuleta experience so special is its role as a living and breathing ranch. Its 4,000-plus acres encompass a cheese factory and a sheep, trout, and dairy farm and encourage guests to participate in daily activities of milking, sheep shearing, and creaming. This is as genuine as it gets.
Guests of Hacienda Zuleta therefore have the enviable pleasure of feasting on abundant, farm-fresh cuisine, plucked straight from the property’s on-site farms and old growth gardens. The dishes here are a sublime showcase of some of Ecuador’s best flavors. Owner Fernando, grandson of Gallo Plaza, loves nothing more than to sit down by the fire with guests and share in one of Zuleta’s 11 homemade cheese varietals.
Culture & Adventure
We love visiting the hacienda’s fair-trade embroidery workshop where local artisans are hard at work creating the many products for sale. Also nearby is the impressive 700-year old archaeological site of the indigenous Caranqui people.
Some 100 horses call Hacienda Zuleta home and are the best form of transportation as you explore the towering mountains and undulating valleys of the rugged Andean Highlands. On a clear day, you can see the Cayambe volcano in the distance from the back of your trusted steed.
As if you needed more incentive, Ker & Downey is thrilled to announce that every booking to South America with Ker & Downey will generate a donation to the property’s esteemed Gallo Plaza Foundation—an organization dedicated to improving the educational, environmental, and socioeconomic wellbeing of the Zuleta community—to be put toward the Zuleta community library and the foundation’s education and conservation programs.
Book Hacienda Zuleta with Ker & Downey
To add a stay at Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador to your next journey, contact a Ker & Downey luxury Travel Professional. Also read more about the seasonality and pricing in South America. For even more travel inspiration, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.