Hacienda Cusin is a restored 17th-century Andean estate located at 8,500 feet elevation, close to the equatorial line. It is 70 minutes north of Quito and the airport and 20 minutes south from the famous Otavalo markets. With terracotta tiles, winding cobblestone pathways, fountain courtyards, towers and perennial gardens all nestled beneath a deep blue sky in a wide lake valley, Hacienda Cusin is a paradise you won’t want to leave.
Hacienda Cusin Review
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Hacienda Cusin review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our adventure travel experts can help compare the Hacienda Cusin with other historic lodging and Ecuador land tours.
Choose the Hacienda Cusin to feel history come alive: This restored, early 19th-century country home of a successful farming family quickly became an informal hotel when visiting family and friends traveled more than two days by horse from Quito and were often encouraged to extend their stay. The feeling of being a guest at someone’s home remains as one of the finest features of this welcoming lodge estate.
History of Hacienda Cusin
Hacienda Cusin was purchased at an auction from Philip III, King of Spain, by the prominent Luna family in 1602. The purchased estate, an abraje or sheep farm that was comprised of two valleys of Gualaví and La Rinconada and all the land between the valleys and the lake, approximately 100,000 acres, held until Land Reforms in 1945 and 1964. Hacienda Cusin was named for the mountain at the head of the valley of La Rinconada.
The mountain’s name is uncertain, although the most believed possibilities are either Cusin was the name of an indigenous chief who fought against the Incas in the early 16th century just before the Spaniards’ arrival; a type of white beetle, a cuzo (pronounced cut-zo) a delicacy that appears briefly in November; or a family named Cusin, established in 1524 from Brazil and Alsace Lorriane, married into the Hacienda Cusin family. Throughout the 1990s many of the garden cottages, stables, reception and private homes were built on the premises. Since then, the grounds have been beautified with additional front and side patios and extended gardens.
Amenities at Hacienda Cusin
Hacienda Cusin is full of possibilities with the onsite Salon Bolivar, Salon Cotacachi, dining room, café, bar, business center, library, reading room, conference room, game room, gift shop, private massage area and extensive gardens. The film library has over 300 DVDs and videos available at the reception area. The game room includes billiards, darts, ping-pong, chess, backgammon and more, plus outside games like basketball, volleyball and squash.
Five acres of landscaped perennial gardens, ancient trees, cobblestone paths, ponds and patios make Hacienda Cusin a natural sanctuary, where rich soil, cool nights and equatorial sun conspire to create several acres of ever-blooming gardens. The flower and bush garden has over sixty species, including belladonna, bougainvillea, foxgloves, roses, poppy, cosmos, daisies, cala lily, orchids, hydrangea, jasmine vines, succulents and more. Several hundred varieties of trees, including avocado, banana, palm, eucalyptus, magnolia, walnut, laurel, Brazilian pepper, grapefruit, lemon and more provide shade and solitude for those seeking it. The vegetable gardens produce spices and fruits used in Hacienda Cusin’s menus.
Dining at Hacienda Cusin
In the main dining area, eat by candlelight near a log fire while waiters serve organic, homemade meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is plated and includes traditional items like fresh fruit juice, cereal, eggs and Cusin-made toast and jam. Lunch and dinner are plated, Ecuadorian and international-style, three-course menus that change daily. Choices include soup, salad, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes followed by desert choices and coffee. A wine list is available. The smaller Café Cusin menu is available and slightly less expensive, offering sandwiches, salad, soup, omelets, etc. Drinks are available at the coffee bar, near the dining room and a roaring fireplace.
Activities at Hacienda Cusin
Optional activities within Hacienda Cusin grounds include getting to know the onsite animals like llamas, horses, peacocks, rabbits, pigs, guinea pigs, turkeys, chickens, geese, three species of frogs and over 50 species of birds. Go horseback riding over six mountain and valley trails with a guide, or even opt for an overnight ride. Mountain bike or hike the nearby recommended trails, or for an additional cost, enroll in a cooking class. Be sure to pick up a copy of the fascinating and detailed Hacienda Cusin self-guided tour book plus a bird watching checklist. Get a full dose of art, culture, nature, food and entertainment while following along Hacienda Cusin’s suggested daily itineraries, designed to guide guests through all possible activities, available upon booking or at the front desk.
Nearby Attractions to Hacienda Cusin
Offsite activities and attractions include the Andean Train ride, descending many ecosystems and tunnels to the Chota desert and through Ibarra; Paramo of Angel, an exploration of Paramo with a picnic lunch; exploring Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve with hiking trails along the 8 mile rim above the caldera lake, Cuicocha Lake; shopping at the antique shops of the famous Otavalo market; visiting craft villages of San Antonio, famous for wood carving, leather and weaving; exploring archaeological digs that date back to 800 A.D.; going mountain climbing or ice climbing; visiting the Condor Reserve Espejo; miniature golfing; touring museums, restaurants and going on casual walks in nearby towns. Taxis and local buses stop near Hacienda Cusin and are frequent and inexpensive.
Guides at Hacienda Cusin
English-speaking guides are available for walks and tours. The staff at Hacienda Cusin is ready to answer questions and ensure guests experience as much as possible during their stay.
Accommodations at Hacienda Cusin
Guest rooms are individually furnished with antiques and select Andean craft, most with log-burning fireplaces and beamed ceilings. Rooms overlook several acres of landscaped perennial gardens, ancient trees and often-snow-capped mountains. Rooms include various bed configurations, an armchair, writing desk, wi-fi access areas, optional log-fire and hot-water bottle, use of squash court, basketball and volleyball courts and waiter-served breakfast. Hacienda Cusin offers three room categories: Garden Cottages, Suites and Sierra Rooms. Each room is uniquely different and most accommodation requirements can be met. Suites for families with adjoining private lounge rooms are available. Children who are 5 years and younger receive a complimentary stay.