Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)
Begin your privately-guided journey along the Avenue of the Volcanoes (a series of 11 peaks that frame the Latacunga-Ambato valley in the center of Ecuador). Drive through the scenic Andean countryside to reach the foot of Cotopaxi Volcano, the 19,340-foot peak that dominates the area. Cotopaxi National Park is an ecological sanctuary of 36,000 hectares surrounding the volcano. You’ll have time to explore the National Park, home to unique wildlife and otherworldly landscapes.
After your visit to the park, you will be taken to your lodging for the night, Hacienda San Agustin de Callo. Built in the 18th century on the site of an important Incan Palace and containing the finest and largest set of Incan ruins in central Ecuador, this working hacienda subsequently became an Augustinian convent with a textile workshop and later the home of the French Geodesic Mission. The house is built directly on top of what was the Incan palace, and many rooms have original Incan walls with extraordinary masonry work. The dining room is a fully-intact original Incan palace room, an experience you can’t have anywhere else.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo (L,D)
Visit a local indigenous market with your private guide. Ceramics and other crafts are considered a very fine folk art in this area, and different towns have markets on different days. These markets are less frequently visited and very traditional. You will have lunch at a local hacienda before returning to San Agustin de Callo, where you have the rest of the day to relax or explore the area on your own.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo (B,L,D)
Set out for your drive north along the Pan American Highway through beautiful mountain scenery. Stop en route at “El Guachala,” a monument to the equator, and the town of Cayambe, known for its locally-made “biscochos” (biscuits) and fresh cheese. Enjoy a typical lunch at one of the haciendas near Otavalo before arriving to Hacienda Zuleta in the afternoon, where you can relax or explore the area.
Hacienda Zuleta (B,L,D)
Enjoy the excursions at Hacienda Zuleta, a functioning farm with a great variety of activities and places to visit. The hacienda is known for high-quality horseback riding excursions, and has a stable housing over 20 well cared-for Zuleteño horses, a beautiful and unique Andean breed with an ideal disposition for trail riding. The hacienda also offers mountain bikes and a horse drawn carriage for trips to observe the milking and agricultural processes, stunning mountain views, and the tranquil life of the community. Guests can also visit the Condor Huasi Project, a program working to protect and rehabilitate the majestic Andean Condor.
In the morning you will be picked up from your hacienda to explore more of the surrounding area as you leisurely make your return to Quito. En route to Quito you will stop at the small town of Calderon, famous for their bread-dough figures and ornaments.