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Hacienda Cusin

Hacienda Cusin is a restored 17th-century Andean estate at 8,500 feet, close to the Equatorial Line and 90 minutes north of Quito and its airports. This 43-room Ecuador hotel is 20 minutes south from the famous Otavalo markets.

Cusin's terracotta-tiles, winding cobblestone path-ways, fountain courtyards, towers and perennial gardens nestle beneath a deep blue sky in a wide lake-valley. Nearby, the often snow-capped 15,000-foot Imbabura mountain and Cotacachi volcano are reflected in Lago San Pablo.

Ancient lakebed soil, cool nights and a predictable equatorial sun have conspired with avid gardeners to create ever-blooming perennial gardens that include belladonna, bougainvillea, agapantha, acanthus, foxgloves, orchids, palms, flora, which attract over 50 species of birds.

Antiques and select Andean craft-furnished salons and guest rooms, the majority with king beds, log-burning fire places and beamed-ceilings.