Type of horses:
Andalusian, Hispano-crosses, Thoroughbred-crosses and Quarter horses.
Nature of horses:
Robust, noble and smooth Andean horse with a perfect disposition for trail riding
Height of horses:
15hh - 16.2 hh
South American (similar to a Western Saddle)
Riding at this hacienda has been a family tradition for over one hundred years and today reflects this equestrian affinity by boasting one of the most exclusive stables in Ecuador. Dating from the late XVI century, the hacienda lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet (2,800 meters) above the sea level, and only two hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. This is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that is family owned. It was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine.
With their natural warmth and hospitality this family welcomes you to their country house and invites you to share life at an authentic hacienda. There are fifteen beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with their own fire place. Antique gardens along with cosy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. Delicious home cooking and regional cuisine are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products from the farm itself.
Horseback riding is of course their speciality but they also offer mountain bikes and horse drawn carriage trips on the hacienda grounds to observe the milking, agriculture, mountain views and the tranquil life of the community. Guests can also visit the Condor Huasi Project that works for the rehabilitation of the majestic Andean Condor.
Blessed with an equatorial location, the hacienda experiences a temperate climate all year round. Temperatures average 25 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 to 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 to December offers pleasant weather with occasional showers.
They are also known for their magnificent Zuleteño horse, a unique mixture of Spanish-Andalusian, English and Quarter horses. The outcome of this cross-breeding is a robust, noble and smooth Andean horse with a perfect disposition for trail riding. All the rides start at the hacienda at about 9,000 ft and each day's ride has its particular beauty and charm.
The flexibility of this hacienda means that you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like. If you prefer a shorter stay of four nights then please contact us for prices.
The Hacienda's hospitality retains intimacy, warmth and sincerity which is reminiscent of a century past. Additionally, they offer a level of privacy rarely achieved in the 21st century. During your stay you will be a guest of the family and you are welcomed as such. You will be invited to relax at your leisure in these cosy reading and living rooms, which have entertained their own entourage of famous visitors including past presidents and dignitaries.
All of the guest rooms are located in the main building of the Hacienda, which dates back to 1691. As the structure of the original colonial building could not be drastically changed, every room has its different shape and charm. Individually decorated with antiques, authentic family pictures and hand embroidered linens, the guest rooms transmit the feeling of a private home. The rooms have beautiful garden and mountain views and some provide access to private gardens, terraces or a courtyard where hummingbirds feed.
Their double beds are queen or king size, with four pillows and anti-allergic bedding. While guests are enjoying their 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. Satellite television, movies and games are available at any time in one of the living rooms, as well as coffee, soft drinks and a bar service. Phone calls can be made from the public areas and offices.
As your dining experience unfolds, you will be impressed by the Hacienda’s sustainability. Virtually everything gracing the table comes fresh from the land and is carefully prepared. Fresh milk and cream from the farm'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 extensive garden to make unforgettable salads and freshly squeezed juices. The recipes used have been inherited from great-grandmothers and are influenced by the various countries where family members have lived over the years. Many of the dishes served are so unique you will not encounter them elsewhere. They have even been published in renowned magazines.
There are many things to do at the Hacienda for non-riders and whilst not in the saddle. Non-riders can meet the group at lunch spots by horse drawn carriage, by bike, hiking or by car. Transfers to other haciendas are also no problem.
Miles of meandering roads through lush pastureland, pine trees and a eucalyptus forest make the valley a paradise for outdoor activities. They have twenty Zuleteño bred horses, mountain bikes and a horse drawn carriage upon which you can explore the area. At the Hacienda itself, guests can find out more information about the trails in the activity room, there are options for every interest and fitness level.
If you would like to travel back in time, we recommend a turn in their horse drawn carriage. Rodrigo Aguilar and a gentle Andalusian mare will take you on an unforgettable trip where you can comfortably explore the Hacienda.
They offer six mountain bikes size 15” to 18.5” as well as helmets. They have many trails perfect for biking, and are happy to drive you to the top of a nearby hill so you can enjoy the descent back to the Hacienda! For your own safety we always recommend you use a helmet.
There are numerous options of trails for every interest and fitness level. You can hike with a local guide who can give you some information on the way, or if you prefer to go alone, you can easily follow self-guided signs along the trails and roads.
Languages: The local guides speak Spanish but there is always an English speaking guide on-site too.
Health requirements: You will need to be fairly fit to make the most of this experience, due to the high altitude.
Age limit: None (within reason)
Included: Accommodation, three delicious home-cooked meals with non-alcoholic drinks, riding as per itinerary, use of the hacienda facilities.
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, transfers, extras not mentioned.
Flight guide: Iberia, Continental airlines, Lan airlines via Madrid and KLM fly from London Heathrow, Gatwick and London City (KLM).
Return Quito airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday.
Airport: Quito airport (Mariscal Sucre International)
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’, a neotropical ecosystem. All excursions are accompanied by a local guide, although a fluent English speaking guide is always available. All-day rides include a country picnic with dinner back at the Hacienda.
All the rides start at the Hacienda and return back each night. Depending on the weather conditions, they offer fifteen different routes, so you can pick and choose which ones interest you most.
This is a flexible programme and so the itinerary below is an example.
Arrive at Quito. You will be met at the airport and transferred to this luxurious Hacienda. On arrival at the hacienda you will be personally welcomed by your host who will discuss with you your personal preferences for your holiday. After planning your itinerary for the week, you will be shown around the main building, learning more about the history and seeing ex-President Galo Plaza Lasso's private library as well as the chapel and beautiful gardens. Today is your chance to relax and adjust to the altitude whilst recovering from your long flight. As the sun sets and the temperature drops, settle in front of the fire with a glass of wine and browse the information folders in the library before dinner.
After waking in these stunning surroundings, you will enjoy a healthy and abundant breakfast with no need to hurry. Mornings tend to be sunny and so it's the best time of day for setting out on a ride to the Condor reserve. Located 3km from the hacienda within a native forest valley, the reserve keeps rescued Condor's in an aviary before releasing them and you will learn about the foundation effort's. You may also spot Condor's circling on the thermals above the valley. There is also a nearby trout farm to visit.
Your route back to the hacienda takes you through pasture land where you ride between ancient monuments of the Caranqui culture - there are small burial mounds which date back to 700AD and also giant ceremonial truncated pyramids from the 13th century.
Back at the hacienda you have lunch of fresh trout whilst admiring the giant hummingbirds which visit the flowers around the patio. In the afternoon you can visit the Zuleta women's cooperative where there is the chance to buy beautiful, colourful, hand-made embroidered articles. Upon leaving the shop you climb aboard the horse-drawn carriage for a trip through the eucalyptus valley to the foundation run library where local children spend their afternoons.
Upon arriving back at the hacienda, the fire will be lit and a hot bath is waiting for you to close the day in the most relaxing way before dinner.
Days 3 to 7
Each day is flexible and every ride has its particular beauty and charm, including stunning rides through the valleys surrounded by mountains, green lakes on mountain tops, snow-capped Cayambe, ancient pre-Incan earth mounds, waterfalls, dramatic views in or above the clouds. You will see local people work on their land and have a chance to meet a local saddle maker. You can ride high up to viewpoints which offer spectacular vistas of the local area, as well as more chances of spotting Condors.
There is a mixture of full and half day rides on offer, so some days will be more relaxing. On full day rides you will enjoy a picnic out on the trail, whilst half day rides will include lunches at the hacienda.
Experienced riders will be able to ride further into the valleys and communities, enjoying canters across the paramo - you may even be able to help bring the horses in one morning, or play with the foals. The terrain is sometimes challenging and so there are places where the pace is necessarily slow, but there are still plenty of opportunities to canter across the meadows. Novice riders will be able to explore at a slower pace on shorter rides which explore the areas around the hacienda.
Departure day. Following breakfast, you will say goodbye to your welcoming hosts before being transferred back to Quito.
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||9|
|Ability description:||Novice and above. A good level of fitness is needed due to the terrain and altitude.|
|Type of ride:||Trail rides, returning to base each night|
|Total riding time:||Six days, 3 - 6 hours riding per day|
|Departure dates:||Dates available to suit.|
Standard Room (prices are per person)
1 pax: £3026 (includes single supplement)
2 pax: £2475
3 pax: £2449
4-6 pax: £2413
7-9 pax: £2385
Deluxe Room (prices are per person)
1 pax: £3682 (includes single supplement)
2 pax: £2979
3 pax: £2954
4-6 pax: £2917
7-9 pax: £2889
Suite & Junior Suite (prices are per person)
1 pax: £4064 (includes single supplement)
2 pax: £3272
3 pax: £3247
4-6 pax: £3209
7-9 pax: £3182
All prices include 7 nights accommodation, all meals, soft drinks, local taxes, 6 days of riding (around 3-6 hours per day), transfers to and from Quito airport. The prices also include a tour of the Hacienda, as well as a visit to the cheese factory, embroidery shop and the organic kitchen garden.
Single supplements apply for those who do not wish to share a room with another single traveller - this is included in the sole rider rate, but if you are a group and wish to have single rooms then the supplement applies as follows:
Standard room: £308
Deluxe room: £428
Junior Suite: £499
Subject to availability you may be upgraded to a deluxe room free of charge.
Price does not include bike rental, extra riding, tips, alcoholic drinks, flights or travel insurance.
Shorter stays are possible - please enquire for prices.