Hacienda Zuleta

Otavalo, Central Highlands, Ecuador

At a Glance

  • Hacienda Zuleta is a beautiful 17th century, working farm turned family run boutique hotel that has been in the family of the former Ecuador President Galo Plaza Lasso for over 100 years.

  • Meals are enjoyed family style, cooked by local chefs making authentic Ecuadorian cuisine from produce grown in Zuleta’s own organic farm – picture delicious, warming, homely dishes.

  • There is plenty to do within & around the Hacienda grounds – explore hidden trails by foot, bike or on the Hacienda’s own breed of horses. See and learn about endangered species at their Condor Huasi center or perhaps learn a local craft like embroidery or Ecuadorian cookery. 

  • Most rooms also have a wood burning fire - a cosy and intimate atmosphere

  • They even have their own cheese factory and each afternoon will put out a spread for guest to try. Perfect for a predinner catch up paired with a glass of wine.

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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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Insider's View

On a hike or horseback ride to the Condor Huasi rehabilitation project you may be lucky enough to see wild condors or even a bespectacled bear.

There is no spa but if you wish to have a massage or treatment let the staff know and they can call a therapist in for you.

At 6pm every evening enjoy a selection of cheeses (made at the Hacienda) in front of the fire before dinner  

Meals are family style dining to encourage people to come together but if you prefer to eat alone they can happily arrange this for you!

After a day of horseback riding or hiking, ask the staff to run you a bath to relieve tired muscles.

Call us on 858 345 1763 to start planning your vacation to Hacienda Zuleta or take a look at our itineraries to Ecuador


Dating from the late 16th century, the historic Hacienda Zuleta lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet above sea level, and only two hours north of Quito and one hour from the famous indigenous market town of Otavalo.

Hacienda Zuleta is a 4,000 acre colonial working ranch that has belonged to the family of a former Ecuadorian president for more than 100 years. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Andes Mountains and fertile farming valleys, Zuleta is a great option for lovers of horse riding or walking. Although more remote than other haciendas in the Otavalo area, the effort is worth it to see the Ecuadorian countryside in its full glory.

As the structure of the original colonial building could not be drastically changed, every room has its different shape and charm. All are individually decorated with antiques, authentic family pictures and hand embroidered linens - again transmitting the feeling of a private home.

Local farm workers are only too pleased to show guests the dairy and cheese factory, organic garden, tree nursery, trout farm, an embroidery workshop owned by the indigenous community, and the successful condor-recuperation and raising project.

Wonderful Ecuadorian cuisine is created from fresh ingredients from Zuleta's organic garden and farm, and is carefully prepared by hand. Other facilities include lovely gardens, cosy living and reading rooms, horse-riding, mountain bikes and horse drawn carriage rides.

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Hacienda Zuleta has 21 rooms and suites. Every room has a different shape and charm, which brings a unique feeling of Ecuadorean culture. Individually decorated with antiques, authentic family pictures and hand embroidered linens, the guest rooms give the feeling of a private home. Rooms have beautiful garden and mountain views and some provide access to private gardens, terraces or a courtyard where hummingbirds feed. Suites are available for families and adjoining rooms are also available.


Children are very welcome at Hacienda Zuleta. Babysitting can be arranged upon request, and suites for families and adjoining rooms are available.


Satellite TV, movies and games are available at any time in one of the living rooms, as well as coffee, soft drinks and a bar service. WiFi is available in some parts of the farm house and a computer with 24/7 internet service is also available for guests.


Miles of meandering trails through lush pastureland, pine trees and a eucalyptus forest make the valley of Zuleta a paradise for outdoor activities, such as hiking and trekking in Ecuador. Zuleta has twenty Zuleteño bred horses, mountain bikes and a horse drawn carriage upon which you can explore the area.



Danielle Diaz-Myers (Staff)

Hacienda Zuleta is the perfect place to relax during your whirlwind trip to Quito. Arriving at the hacienda is like being transported to a world of peace and tranquility. Take advantage of the property by stopping by the cheese factory, exploring the condor reserve or fishing at the trout pond. The best way to see the property is by horse - saddle up and trot around the valley. All levels are welcome to experience horseback riding.


Scarlett Richard (Staff)

Hacienda Zuleta is a must on any visit to Ecuador and probably one of my favorite places in Latin America. Set deep in the valley,  the extensive grounds are surrounded by miles of rural green pastures, primary forest and local communities. The location is breathtaking and perfect for those who love the outdoors, natural landscapes and want to experience an authentic slice of Ecuadorian hospitality. Dating back to 1691, the Hacienda is steeped in colonial charm and character. Originally owned by the Ex-president Gallo Plaza Lasso, it is now run by his 5 daughters and their children and so there is a big family presence and an incredible amount of history, which is evident around the Hacienda today.  Each of the rooms are beautifully decorated, very homely and individual in design. I really loved the exposed beams, antique furnishings and wood burners in each of the rooms. Every afternoon the wood burners are lit in your room, which offers a warm welcome after a long days exploring.  
In each of the three living rooms the fire places are constantly roaring, big displays of fresh cut roses are abundant and family photos and antiques decorate the room. Sat in front of the fire you can read a book, talk to fellow guests, or relax with a big glass of wine (or G&T) taken from the honesty bar. Every day at six they also put on a platter of cheese made from the onsite cheese factory (they make 700kgs per day) and some homemade snacks which is enjoyed in front of the fire.  A stay here is very much a home from home experience and incredibly welcoming.   
Food is very much a highlight of any stay so ensure to bring a healthy (and big) appetite!  All meals are an example of typical Ecuadorean family cuisine where much of the food comes from the grounds of Zuleta. Family style dining is offered where the idea is that everyone comes together but it is possible to dine alone if you prefer. Meals are home style dining where you are given 2-3 options per meal and the staff will bring you the dish and you can help yourself to as little or a much as you like. The food was by far the best during my stay in Ecuador and had a real home cooked feel which was nice after days of eating in restaurants.  
I stayed here for two nights which was no where near enough time to fully appreciate what the Hacienda has to offer. They live on extensive grounds so time can be spent on numerous hiking trails, mountain biking, visiting the Condor project, cheese factory, milking stations, surrounding local communities. They also have there own breed of horses and offer what I think to be the best riding in the country suitable for all abilities. With all of this, thats not even considering downtime to relax on the Hacienda grounds which is very recommended (it is a vacation after all).  



Katie Aston (Staff)

By staying at Hacienda Zuleta you can immerse yourself in the life of a working hacienda in the Andean highlands of Ecuador (the farm has milking cows and sheep and is one of Ecuador's primary producers of artisan cheese). It is also intrinsically linked to the history of Ecuador, having been the home to two of Ecuador's presidents and continues to be a family home (albeit a rather lovely country pile) and members of the Plaza family are often around to tell guests anecdotes about the house and its history as well as its interesting future as a sustainable tourism project.

There is so much on offer at Zuleta, from horseback riding through unspoiled Andean scenery on their impeccable horses, perhaps visiting the fascinating Condor Huasi rehabilitation project and if you're lucky to have a chance to see wild condors and even bespectacled bears who live in the surrounding mountains. There are self guiding hiking trails, guests can hire mountain bikes to explore the property or visit the local community and cheese factory or beautiful organic vegetable patch and look out for hummingbirds. The rooms themselves are pretty and cosy with fireplaces, the bathrooms are slowly being upgraded so some seem old fashioned, it is worth booking the deluxe rooms and junior suites for more space and privacy. Most of the beds can be twin or king so there are plenty of options for families. Food is mainly produced from the farm and is home cooked rather than gourmet with a limited menu but wholesome and delicious. Cheese lovers will enjoy the evening cheese tasting and abundant cheese at every meal. Meals tend to be a communal affair around the large dining table but if you are looking for more privacy there is a separate dining area.

One of the main aims at Zuleta is to employ as many of the local community as possible so while there is always someone who speaks English during the day, in the evening this is more limited, however the local ladies who work there are charming and will do their utmost to make your stay as special as possible. Hacienda Zuleta is definitely for the more independent traveler who wants to see a different side to Ecuador and loves the countryside and outdoors. If you like all mod cons and contemporary luxury, this is probably not the place for you.


  • Activities for kids at Hacienda Zuleta

    Hacienda Zuleta is a wonderful destination for families, offering activities in abundance to keep little ones entertained. From bonfires to kite flying and mountain biking to kayaking there is bound to be something to capture their interest.

  • Birding at Hacienda Zuleta

    Home to an incredible diversity of birds, Ecuador is a wonderful destination for birding enthusiasts and Otavalo is no exception. Its location within the dramatic Andes means it is home to the Andean condor amongst other rare species.

  • Hiking and trekking at Hacienda Zuleta

    With trails to suit a range of interests and fitness levels, hiking at Hacienda Zuleta can be tailored to you. Head out with a guide or go it alone and discover the picturesque surroundings of the Otavalo countryside.

  • Horse riding at Hacienda Zuleta

    Notorious for its wonderful scenery and beautiful horses, Ecuador's highlands are a joy to explore by horseback. Embark on an equestrian adventure through Otavalo's beautiful countryside, surrounded by mountains, lakes and waterfalls for dramatic views.

  • Mountain biking at Hacienda Zuleta

    Descend the rugged hills of Otavalo's countryside by mountain bike for an adrenaline-fuelled afternoon. Staff at Hacienda Zuleta can drop you at one of the surrounding hilltops so you are free to follow one of the many exhilarating trails.

  • Otavalo Traditional Market & Handicraft Tour

    A tour around Otavalo market, famous for its handicrafts and for being one of the finest markets in Latin America. The region’s craft heritage is displayed in all it’s finery here, so expect woollen scarves, handbags and ponchos.

Vacation Ideas

  • Ecuador & Galapagos with Kids

    Quito, Galapagos and Otavalo

    from $5400 pp 10 nights

    • You will have a myriad of experiences to enjoy on this customized itinerary as you can partake in land and water-based activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and biking whilst observing animals such as sea lions and the blue-footed boobies.
    • Discover the cultural delights of the city of Quito, flanked by the Andes.
    • You’ll be based on the island of Santa Cruz, in the heart of the archipelago where you will have abundant wildlife sightings.
  • Ecuador Uncovered

    Otavalo, Amazon, Quito, Avenue of Volcanoes, Cuenca, Guayaquil

    from $8700 pp 14 nights

    • This all-encompassing itinerary really gets under the skin of mainland Ecuador’s staggering geographical diversity and is packed full to the brim with the country's best experiences and most spectacular sights.
    • Explore the majestic and colonially influenced cities of Quito and Cuenca, UNESCO World Heritage sites where the cobbled streets and architecture hark back to a rich historical and cultural past.
    • Get a real sense of remoteness as you paddle along winding rivers and watch the sunrise over the jungle canopy in the Amazonian rainforest, keeping your eyes peeled for monkeys swinging through the trees and colorful birds flying overhead.
  • Epic Ecuador & Galapagos

    Otavalo, Amazon, Quito, Galapagos, Guayaquil

    from $10900 pp 12 nights

    • This action-packed itinerary really gets under the skin of Ecuador’s staggering geographical diversity and is packed full to the brim with the country's best experiences and dazzling sights
    • Uncover a little of Ecuador’s colonial history and cultural influences with a backdrop of dramatic snow-capped mountains and softly billowing volcanoes
    • Experience the magic of the Galapagos from the comfort of a luxurious catamaran with your own private balcony, the perfect spot for soaking up dreamlike sunsets with a chilled glass of fizz!
  • Imagine Ecuador & Galapagos

    Quito, Mashpi Cloud Forest, Otavalo, Galapagos Islands

    from $7500 pp 11 nights

    • An enthralling introduction to the natural wonders of Ecuador, traveling from the Andes to the wildlife-rich Galapagos archipelago.
    • Wake up to emerald green rainforest covered with pockets of mist cloud whilst staying at Mashpi Lodge.
    • Venture through Otavalo, a playground for adventure seekers. Explore on foot, by bike or canter through astonishing landscapes on horseback.

Location & directions

Otavalo, Central Highlands, Ecuador

Located between 2870 and 3050 meters above sea level in the Andean mountains of Northern Ecuador and 110 kilometers north of Quito.

Speak to our specialists 858 523 9000

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Call us on 858 345 1763 to start planning your vacation to Hacienda Zuleta or take a look at our itineraries to Ecuador

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