Hacienda San Agustin de Callo
Cotopaxi, Central Highlands, Ecuador
At a Glance
Stunning location at the foot of the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi
The Cotopaxi National Park is a short drive away, as are the colourful indigenous markets of Saquisilí, Pujilí and Zumbahua
The colonial hacienda is on the site of an important Inca palace
Tasty local cuisine and friendly hospitality
All the guest rooms and suites are individually styled and have bags of character
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
All year round destination. Due to its position on the equator and its altitude, Quito’s temperature varies greatly between night and day. Daytime temperatures average 23-25ºC, while at night temperatures drop to around 10ºC. In general, days are clear in the morning and cloud over in the afternoon, with rain common in the afternoon. The drier season runs from the end of May to the end September, with another brief summertime in early December (which coincides nicely with the city’s fiestas).
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Enveloped in the foothills of Ecuador's Cotopaxi volcano, the historic and unique Hacienda San Agustin de Callo is built on the site of an Incan fortress and the perfect base to explore the National Park and beautiful surrounding Andean villages.
Set at the foothill of the Andes, the unique family-run Hacienda de San Agustin is steeped in history. The current hacienda is set on the site of a 15th century Incan palace, which was also once an Agustin convent. Today, relics of the past still remain, with a significant part of the Incan walls preserved and carefully blended with the more recent architecture. The central courtyard itself is a fine example of different eras, with Inca, Spanish colonial and Republic styles all existing side by side.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo has a truly eclectic style; the cosy guest rooms and suites are adorned with extravagant murals, brightly painted walls, carved woods and local textiles. All have log fires and some are even found in the bathrooms.
Delicious home cooked fare, featuring high Andean specialities, is served in the cosy dining area, with original Inca stonework and impressive views of Cotopaxi. After dinner, guests may relax in the drawing room with a book or maybe chat with the hacienda's welcoming host and owner, Mignon Plaza, granddaughter of one of Ecuador's former presidents.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo is set in beautiful countryside. Hiking and riding are a great way to explore the surrounding area, with stunning views of Cotopaxi, Illizinas and Chimborazo volcanoes.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo has six suites and four rooms, set in three separate houses within the property. The rooms and suites are all uniquely designed with no two alike and are full of character, with local textiles and vibrant coloured walls, some with painted friezes. All have log fires, some even in the bathrooms and either antique bath tubs or Jacuzzi. Some have views to the volcanoes and some even have exposed Inca stonework.
Children are welcome at Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, although there are no formal children's facilities. Some of the suites feature an additional area with sofa bed or two single beds, making a great option for families.
The main house at Hacienda San Agustin, the Inca House, has a drawing room with fireplace, a bar and an Inca dining room with views of Cotopaxi volcano, serving traditional high Andean cuisine which features many fresh ingredients grown on the property.
Guests at Hacienda San Agustin de Callo can choose from many outdoor activities, including horse riding, trekking, trout fishing and mountain biking in the surrounding area and in Cotopaxi National Park. It is also possible to arrange visits to the Indian markets of Saquisili, Pujilí, Latacunga, Zumbahua and nearby villages.
If you want to throw a wild house party for a small group of friends and money is no object, the former monastery of Hacienda San Agustin de Callo should be on your list of possible locations. This extraordinary old colonial building incorporates walls that were made by the Incas for a temple that originally stood on this magical site in the shadow of Cotopaxi. Guests here live like the owner's family, and with the family, sharing the comfortable living room.
One of its walls is composed of dark, volcanic stones: the Incas carved them so precisely that, fitted together, a needle cannot be squeezed between them. On the other walls are photographs of the owner, Senor Plaza, in action in the bullring, and work by Ecuador's most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin - a lovely portrait of Senor Plaza's daughter, Mignon, who now runs the hacienda.
Eating in the elegant dining room, where all four walls are made of the Inca blocks, I felt as if I were inside a pyramid. The Ecuadorian food at San Agustin is renowned, particularly memorable being the simple but delicious locro de papa, potato soup. Sensuous murals adorned the bath- room and my bedroom, the Inca Room, which was shaped with classic Inca stonework and filled with antiques.
San Agustin is famous for its parties and fiestas. Traditional dancing, music, drinking and bullfighting mark the summer solstice in June. But any night can be party night at the house party hacienda. A crew of English filmmakers had finished filming Cotopaxi as part of a commercial for Banco Central when I arrived and were in the mood to celebrate. The high point of the night was when Mignon Plaza danced the flamenco - Olé.
Location & directions
Cotopaxi, Central Highlands, Ecuador
Hacienda San Agustin is located in Cotopaxi province, about 1.5-hour drive from Quito and close to the towns of Pujili and Saquisili.
How to get there
14-hour 45-minutes international flight to Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport, followed by a 90-minute can transfer.
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