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Highlands & Haciendas

Itinerary in Brief:  4 Nights Exploring the Ecuadorian Andes From Two Historic Haciendas

  • Stay in historic country estates
  • Spectacular Cotopaxi National Park
  • Hacienda built in ruins of Incan palace 
  • Famous Otavalo market 
  • Off the beaten path excursions
  • A great introduction to the highlands
  • See below for day by day details
  • Phone or email us with any questions

Day by Day Itinerary

Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)

Day 1      Cotopaxi National Park/Inca Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

Your private guide will pick you up from your hotel to begin your journey driving through the Avenue of the Volcanoes (a series of 11 peaks that frame the Latacunga-Ambato valley in the center of Ecuador). You will 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 full intact original Incan palace room, an experience you can’t have anywhere else.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, Suite Room (L,D)

Day 2        Local Indigenous Market/San Agustin de Callo

This morning you will make a visit to a local indigenous market with your 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, Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 3      El Guachala/Cayambe/Hacienda Cusin

After breakfast, you depart for a 3-4 hour drive north along the Pan American Highway through mountain scenery. You will 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. You will then have a typical lunch at one of the haciendas near Otavalo before arriving to Hacienda Cusin in the afternoon, where you can relax or explore the area on your own or with your guide.
Hacienda Cusin, Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 4       Otavalo/Hacienda Cusin

This morning you arrive early to the Otavalo market, one of the finest and most well-known street markets in South America. The Otavalenos wear distinctive blue ponchos and white pants and have long braided hair, and the women often wear gold-colored beads around their necks. At the central plaza and along side streets, you will find weavings, sweaters, belts, blankets and rugs. After visiting the market, you will accompany your guide and make visits to neighboring towns such as Cotacachi, Peguche, and San Antonio de Ibarra, each dedicated to its own handicraft.
Hacienda Cusin, Suite Room (B,L,D)

Day 5        Return to Quito/Calderon

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.