aerial view of ecuador on andes highland haciendas land tour
cowboy driving horses down dusty, tree-covered road on andes highland haciendas land tour in ecuador
Bike riding activity on an Ecuador land tour. A female guest wearing a helmet stands next to her yellow bicycle at the very top of a lush green trail, lookout out over the endless sea of white clouds
A group wearing helmets horseback ride through lush landscape of Ecuador's sierra mountains, following a trail, they pass by black and white cattle.
The sun it setting over the mountain range on Ecuador's Andes, rolling hills open field and a lake are glowing.
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South America Ecuador Land Tour

Andes Highland Haciendas

The 4-day Andes Highland Haciendas cultural exploration is a privately guided, active tour of Ecuador’s northern sierra region. Discover Ecuador’s Andean villages known for unique handmade crafts and extremely vibrant textiles. Witness traditional weaving in Peguche, famous bread doll art in Calderon and tour the world-famous Otavalo market, where indigenous people from more than 70 villages have been selling crafts and produce for hundreds of years.

Hike or ride between rural villages and learn of their rich cultural heritage and Andean way of life. Pass under the shadow of the Imbabura Volcano before descending into the fertile agricultural valley of Zuleta, where a wonderful array of activities await. The 1800-hectare property of Hacienda Zuleta offers great add-on activities like horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Archaeological tours of the Caranqui Pyramids reveal a time when the Zuleta Valley was populated by ancient civilizations. And the working farm itself offers a variety of entertaining possibilities with a trout farm, cheese factory, dairy farm and a progressive, sustainable, agricultural industry that works in harmony with its natural and cultural surroundings. Local Gallo Plaza Foundation’s projects include the women’s community embroidery project and the condor repopulation project, whose goal is to reintroduce Andean condors into the wild while educating the population about the importance of conserving Ecuador’s wildlife and natural resources.

Two haciendas offer spectacular accommodations during your journey: Hacienda Cusin, a restored 17th-century estate in San Pablo that offers colonial history with luxuriously decorated rooms, gardens and courtyards, and Hacienda Zuleta, originally built in 1690 and the only working hacienda remaining in Ecuador.

To know the country, you must meet the people. Spend 4 days touring the most intimate villages of the Andes Highlands and bring a piece of their lifestyle home with you, including textiles, art, culture, history and their harmonious balance with nature.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Ecuador tours.



Itinerary

Andes Highland Haciendas Itinerary

The 4-day Andes Highland Haciendas land tour operates round-trip from Quito, with three nights at classic Andean haciendas, a guided hike between rural villages, a stop at the equatorial monument, visits to towns known for their weaving and textiles, time at the renowned Otavalo market and optional activities on the property of the historic ranch Hacidenda Zuleta.

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Day 1
Arrive Andean Villages

Depart Quito early and visit nearby villages like Peguche with its traditional weaving and textiles and Calderon known for its bread doll art. The relaxing drive allows you to enjoy spectacular Andean scenery. In the afternoon, hike to the Cuicocha Crater Lake and visit more nearby villages. This evening drive to Hacienda Cusin, a restored 17th-century estate in the nearby village of San Pablo. The hacienda offers a luxurious taste of Ecuador’s colonial history with individually decorated rooms, gardens and courtyards.

Accommodations

Hacienda Cusin or similar

Meals

lunch, dinner

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Day 2
Otavalo Market & Imbabura Hike

For hundreds of years, indigenous people from over 70 surrounding villages have brought their crafts and produce to the world-famous market in Otavalo. Here, get involved in the excitement of bargaining and buying or merely photographing native textiles, flowers, fruits, vegetables and pottery arranged in colorful displays. Take a short drive from Otavalo to the outskirts of San Pablo Village and Lake where indigenous Ecuadorian farms adorn the hillsides. Begin a 3-hour guided hike between villages and meet local people working in the fields, see their crafts and learn about traditional Quecha Indian culture. A road connects the villages so you can hike part way or ride if you wish. Pass under the shadow of the Imbabura Volcano as you descend into a fertile agricultural valley. Conclude the hike at another traditional ranch, Hacienda Zuleta. Originally built in 1690, Hacienda Zuleta is the only working hacienda remaining in Ecuador. This evening dine with members of the Plaza-Lasso family, owners and caretakers of the hacienda for over 100 years.

Accommodations

Hacienda Zuleta

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Hacienda Zuleta

Experience the history of Hacienda Zuleta throughout the property. The ranch is a showcase of progressive sustainable agriculture, ranching and industry in harmony with its natural and cultural surroundings. While at Zuleta, enjoy a wonderful array of activities (added cost) within the private 1800-hectare property. Miles of meandering mountain roads and trails make Zuleta an oasis for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Archaeological tours of the Caranqui Pyramids take you back in time to when the Zuleta Valley was populated by ancient civilizations. The working farm itself offers a variety of entertaining possibilities with a trout farm, cheese factory, dairy farm and many other attractions and activities. Guests are invited to visit the Gallo Plaza Foundation’s projects, which include the women’s community embroidery project and the condor repopulation project.

Accommodations

Hacienda Zuleta

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Mitad del Mundo

Enjoy a final morning at Hacienda Zuleta before returning to Quito. Along the way stop at the Mitad del Mundo equatorial monument located on the equator. Arrive Quito early afternoon and transfer to your hotel.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Transportation, accommodations, local guides, entrance fees and meals as specified in itinerary.

Exclusions

Airfare to Ecuador, excess baggage charges, gratuities to naturalist staff and crew, items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $200 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days – 50% pf deposit
90 to 31 days – 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Andes Highland Haciendas adventure begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador (UIO) and requires a pre- and post-trip hotel night. Please plan flights in and out of Quito to arrive anytime the day prior to day 1 of the itinerary and depart anytime the day after your trip’s end. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities on the Andes Highland Haciendas adventure may include scenic drives, photography, bartering at markets, hiking, cultural visits, and horseback riding or mountain biking (added cost).

Room Configuration

Quad occupancy is in two double-occupancy rooms. Triple occupancy is in one triple room.

Families & Children

Child rate listed is for one child (age 5-12) sharing room with two adults. Minimum age is 5 years old.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

2020 Rates
From $1295USD
Per Person
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2021 Rates
From $1425USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Lodge
Hacienda Cusin

Hacienda Cusin is a restored 17th-century Andean estate located at 8,500 feet elevation, only 20 minutes from famous Otavalo. Terracotta tiles, winding pathways, private courtyards and perennial gardens are nestled beneath a deep blue sky in a wide lake valley.

Lodge
Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta sits in the Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9600 feet above sea level, two hours north of Quito. 15 beautiful rooms, garden, working farm, horse trails, hiking trails and Andean condor rehabilitation center nearby keep guests of all ages and abilities entertained.

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Andes Highland Haciendas

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