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Highlands & Haciendas: 4 Nights Exploring the Ecuadorian Andes From Two Historic Haciendas

Days: 5 | From: $2,350/per person

Discover the Ecuadorian highlands, including spectacular Cotopaxi National Park. Visit the famous Otovalo Market and stay in historic country estates.

  • Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

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At a glance

  • Cotopaxi
    2 nights: stay in a working hacienda built atop a former Incan palace, right next to magnificent Cotopaxi National Park
  • Otavalo
    2 nights: visit one of the finest and best-known street markets in South America and explore the Andean countryside

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

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Sample itinerary

Day 1

Cotopaxi National Park / Inca Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

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 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 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.

Accommodations: Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

This unique and remarkable property was the country house of one of Ecuador's most prominent families (including two former presidents). The hacienda was built in the early 18th century on top of the ruins of an Incan palace, the northernmost Incan ruins in South America. Entire Incan rooms from the original palace still exist, including what is now a chapel and the main dining room of the hacienda. There is nothing like this opportunity to spend time inside the original rooms of an Incan palace anywhere else in South America. The property is ideally located right next to Cotopaxi National Park, home to glacier-capped Mount Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.

*Includes: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Local Craft Market and Time at the Hacienda

Explore a local indigenous market with your guide. Ceramics and other crafts are considered a 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.

Accommodations: Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

El Guachala and Cayambe

Enjoy a scenic private transfer north along the Pan American Highway. 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 on your own or with your guide.

Accommodations: Hacienda Zuleta

Situated on 4,000 acres in an Andean valley and owned by the family of two former Ecuadorian presidents, Hacienda Zuleta invites guests to experience life in a restored 17th-century country estate. This working hacienda features a dairy and trout farm, a flock of sheep, a cheese factory, an embroidery shop creating exceptionally high quality textiles, and a stable of beautiful horses that you can take out around the property and into the mountains. Active in conservation and preservation, the hacienda has its own Andean condor rescue project as well as several pre-Colombian burial mounds often being worked on by visiting archeologists. Each of its nine guest rooms has a fireplace and its own unique personality. Meals feature organic vegetables, which are grown on the hacienda premises.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Otavalo Market and Artisan Villages

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, set out with your guide to discover the neighboring towns such as Cotacachi, Peguche, and San Antonio de Ibarra, each dedicated to its own handicraft.

Accommodations: Hacienda Zuleta

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Return to Quito / Calderon

Quito

Make a leisurely return to Quito, exploring the highlands as you go. Stop en route at the small town of Calderon, famous for their bread-dough figures and ornaments.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

San Agustín de CalloEcuador Highlands - Cotopaxi VolanoHacienda Cusin - exteriorOtavalo Girl

Reviews From This Trip

5 stars

  • Visited Quito, Galapagos and Otavalo. Every part was excellent and well coordinated. Hassle free. Vaya took excellent care of us, thanks!
    Jeff Tepper
  • All of our guides were very knowledgeable and personable. The quality of guides was consistently high.
    Terry Keir
  • The time in Cotopaxi NP and the hikes there were magical.
    Page W Thibodeaux

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