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Hacienda Zuleta

Overview

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 …

Highlights

  • Ride in the glorious Andean mountains at over 2800m
  • Enjoy riding beautiful home-bred Zuletano horses
  • Visit the Condor reserve & learn about native wildlife
  • Marvel at the dramatic views in or above the clouds
  • Enjoy a glass of Malbec in front of the fire

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 9 riders per group
  • Average of 1 - 11 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100 kg / 220 lbs / 15 stone 7 lbs

Description

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 (min. 3 nights).

Horses & Riding

Tack

Andean saddles which are similar to a Western with a deep seat and a comfortable sheepskin lining.

Horses

Hacienda Zuleta is known for its beautiful Zuleteno horses - a unique mixture between the Spanish Andalusian, Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse. The outcome is a robust and noble Andean horse with the perfect disposition for trail riding.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Hacienda Experience is a based ride

Ages

Minimum 6 years old for riding. Children should be comfortable riding at walk, trot and canter to join the trails. A special and less intensive riding programme for children is also available.

Health

You will need to be fairly fit to make the most of this experience, due to the high altitude.

Weight

100 kg / 220 lbs / 15 stone 7 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

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.

Accommodation

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.

Itineraries

Hacienda Experience Luxury accommodation.

Other Activities

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. Please note that many activities are at extra cost.

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.

Travel

Return Quito airport transfers are available at additional cost.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrival in Quito. You will be met at the airport when your flight lands and be transferred up to the luxurious Hacienda. Here you will be personally welcomed by your host family who will discuss with you your personal preferences for your holiday. After confirming your itinerary for the week, you can relax and adjust to the high altitude whilst also recovering from a possible long flight. As the sun sets and the temperature drops, you may want to settle in front of the roaring fire with a glass of local wine and browse the information folders in the library before dinner.

Day 2

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

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.

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. You can choose to book short rides (1.5 - 2 hours), half day rides (3-4 hours) or full day rides (5 hours +) and all rides are at additional cost but can be pre-booked so that you ensure as much (or as little!) as riding as possible during your stay.

The Condor Project ride is the most popular and highly recommended. The Condor reserve is located just 3km from the hacienda within a native forest valley, where you will find rescued Condor's in an aviary before they are released back to the wild when they are fit enough. Here you can learn about the wildlife of Zuleta as well as the efforts to protect and nurture endangered condors and Spectacled bears. The visit is available as a 3-hour ride (including 1 hours talk) where you will begin by heading out past the Hacienda’s pastures, milking sheds and Trout farm via pretty cobblestone roads. You will see many ancient Caranqui ‘tola’ pyramids dating from before the Inca Conquest. It is possible to climb the highest ceremonial pyramid when we return, which offers great views of the area. You may also see wild condors taking advantage of the high winds on the mountainside. The ride includes an hour approx. talk at the Condor Huasi facilities.

Back at the Hacienda, you will enjoy a delicious lunch which may be fresh trout from the farm, whilst admiring the giant hummingbirds which visit the flowers around the patio. In the afternoon you may wish to visit the Zuleta women's cooperative and other community projects, where there is the chance to buy beautiful, colourful, hand-made embroidered articles. Leaving the shop you can 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

Riding: 1 - 12 hours

Each day follows a similar format, with a sumptious breakfast followed by riding or sampling other activities.

You may choose from;

The Waterfall ride (c. 1,5-2 hours) - discovering the area of La Cocha lake and the roaring waterfall on the Tahuando river.

Zuleta Community ride (c. 1.5-2 hours) - ride around the quaint village of Zuleta.

The Condor's View ride (c. 1,5-2 hours) - take the route up Santa Rosa hill to witness the beautiful 'Vista Condor'.

Gathering the Herd ride (c. 1-1,5 hours) - join the local groom gathering the herds of over 40 Zuletaño horses.

Mount Cunrro ride (c. 3-4 hours) - ride to 19000 ft to witness the extinct volcano of Mt. Cunrro.

Angochagua Culture ride (c. 3-4 hours) - visit the local farming community to see the age-old techniques of grinding corn and spinning wool still in action. 

Mout Cubilche ride (c. 3-4 hours) - travel up to the Páramo - the high grasslands - to witness views of the entire valley and many rare species of plant life, before riding around the caldera of the Mt. Cubilche volcano.

The Lake's View ride (c. 6-7 hours) - ride over the mountains to a picnic spot with a fabulous view of San Pablo lake - 'Vista Lago'.

Indigenous History ride (c. 6-7 hours) - ride to La Chimba, home to local heroine Tránsito Amaguaña, to discover the turbulent history of the indigenous community.

La Rinconada Cultural ride (c. 6-7 hours) - opportunities for faster riding as well as visit local villages such as La Magdalena with its sweet-coloured houses as well as the farming communities of La Rinconada and Angochagua.

Hacienda to Hacienda ride (c. 6 hours) - ride to the Hacienda Cusin, a restored 17th-century estate with "Old World" charm and sumptuous gardens.

Ventana Grande ride (c. 6-7 hours) - ride over the Páramo to the Ventanas (windows) volcanic formation - perfect rock frames for the mountain view beyond.

Ventanas Loop ride (c. 12 hours) - an early start will see you riding a full loop of the Zuleta valley, past the Ventanas and through true Condor country, brushing with local communities along the way.

Experienced riders will be able to ride further into the valleys and communities, enjoying canters across the páramo. 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.

Please note that guides are often Spanish speaking but you can request a bilingual guide at extra cost - this is worth it if choosing the cultural rides where you may want to learn about the history and cultures of the areas you are riding through.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Departure day. Following breakfast, you will say goodbye to your welcoming hosts before being transferred back to Quito.

Accommodation

All nights spent in guest rooms at the Hacienda with private bathrooms.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

Novice and above. A good level of fitness is needed due to the terrain and altitude.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 9
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2022 - Dec. 31, 2022  (Flexible arrivals/departures with min. 3 night stay)

Pricing

2022
Standard room (one queen bed), sharing
£235 $330 €280 per night
2022
Deluxe Room (Queen or twin beds); sharing
£325 $455 €390 per night
2022
Junior Suite (King or twin beds); sharing
£380 $530 €455 per night
Included Accommodation, three delicious home-cooked meals with non-alcoholic drinks, one short ride, visit to the community and sites of interest such as embroidery stores, access to self-guided hiking trails and hacienda grounds and farm operations, 22% government tax and 10% service charge.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, alcoholic drinks, riding, horse drawn carriage, mountain bike rental, massages and other activities & personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £110 $152 €130
Paid to Far and Ride
Quito airport transfers (8pm-6am) with no guide, per person each way, 2 pax. Contact us for rates for more/less passengers
2022 - Airport Transfer £69 $95 €81
Paid to Far and Ride
Quito airport transfers (6am-8pm) with no guide, per person each way, 2 pax. Contact us for rates for more/less passengers
2022 - Bilingual Guide (full day) £139 $192 €165
Paid to Far and Ride
Price for the guide (not per person)
2022 - Horse Riding - Full day ride (5 hours +) £142 $197 €169
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Horse Riding - Half day ride (3-4 hours) £85 $117 €100
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Horse Riding - Short ride (1-2 hours) £58 $80 €69
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Single Supplement 30.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Single supplement is payable by anyone in a single room.
2022 - Child Discount 50% discount for children under 12 years sharing with parents
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.