Experience the Timeless Charm of Hacienda Zuleta

Imagine stepping into the rich tapestry of history, surrounded by the timeless beauty of a 17th-century Andean hacienda. Nestled in the picturesque Imbabura province of Ecuador lies Hacienda Zuleta, a cherished retreat home to the late Ecuadorian President Galo Plaza Lasso and his family.

Join Valentina and the Original Ecuador team as they delve into a day spent amidst the rustic elegance and authentic charm of this luxury estate.


Departing from Quito, our adventure begins with a scenic two-hour drive northward, winding through verdant landscapes until we arrive at Hacienda Zuleta. Welcomed with genuine warmth and hospitality, we are enveloped in the embrace of our gracious hosts, setting the tone for an unforgettable experience.

Our visit begins in the illustrious Presidents Room of the old hacienda, where we are treated to a delicious spread of Zuleta cheeses, locally sourced delicacies, and refreshing fruit juices. Here, amidst the crackling embers of a cozy fireplace, Margarita, the daughter of former President Lasso, sits down with us to tell us about her family, the Hacienda, and her life over the years.

Next our guide, David, gives us a detailed briefing about our activities for today. We begin our adventure with a tour to get to know every corner of the Hacienda. David guides us to a room where cooking classes are held, showcasing ingredients harvested from the estate's organic garden. Then we pass through the spacious suites, some with private gardens, bathtubs, and fireplaces.

Venturing into the garden we head towards the newly inaugurated spa area, a sanctuary of serenity replete with massage rooms and inviting pools. What most caught our attention was the ornamental decoration, giving a warm, chic touch to the place.

Continuing our exploration, we are afforded a glimpse into the famous Zuleta cheese factory. Nationally recognized, we can observe the arduous elaboration from a balcony designed for this purpose. These cheeses can be purchased directly from the Hacienda, or in select supermarkets across Ecuador.

Excited to show us the new artisanal offerings, we head towards the Hacienda's onsite handicraft store. There we browse the handmade Ecuadorian products from beautiful weavings and jewellery to colourful ceramics and culinary utensils.

There are several options for exploring the outside areas of the Hacienda: by bicycle, by foot, by horseback or horse-drawn carriage.

Whilst Malé, Verónica and Emma decide to hike through the surrounding area, Nena and I have gone for the horse-riding option.

With our helmets ready, we get on our horses and start the adventure! The goal is to get to "Condor Huasi", a project focused on the rescue and protection of the emblematic & endangered Andean Condor in Ecuador.

After a 40 minute ride, we tie up our horses, and walk to the "Condor Huasi", a small house located on the hill of the surrounding mountains. Here, we are welcomed by Jean, an international biologist who has lived for several years in Zuleta, and who cares for and studies the small number of captive Andean Condors who have been rescued and are now housed in the hacienda’s grounds.

Immersing ourselves in Jean's enlightening discourse, we gain invaluable insights into the plight of the condor and the urgent need for conservation efforts. Witnessing these magnificent birds in their natural habitat serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between human intervention and ecological preservation.

Returning to the hacienda, we gather for a delicious lunch which showcases the culinary heritage of Ecuador, from hearty quinoa soup to succulent meat dishes and decadent desserts.

As our day draws to a close, we pay a visit to a nearby museum steeped in local lore, where we are welcomed by the passionate owner, Amable. Here, amidst artifacts and exhibits illuminating Ecuador's cultural heritage, we gain a deeper appreciation for the customs and traditions that have shaped this region's identity. A place that is taking its first steps as a tourist attraction, but that will undoubtedly help everyone to understand how the lives of the locals were and are.

Thus ends our day, with our hearts full of emotion for having learned so much. We say goodbye to all those who made this incredible visit possible.

Discover the magic of Hacienda Zuleta—an experience that transcends time and leaves an indelible imprint on the soul.

Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador
Original Ecuador Team in the President's Room, Hacienda Zuleta
Junior Suite - Hacienda Zuleta
New Spa Area, Hacienda Zuleta
Hiking from the Condor Project, Hacienda Zuleta
Nena & Valentina enjoy a horse riding activity, Hacienda Zuleta
Jean explains the Condor Project to us, Hacienda Zuleta
Lunchtime at Hacienda Zuleta
Amable's Cultural Museum, Zuleta