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Hacienda Zuleta, Angochagua 

Tel: 593 6 2662 182
view web site ›'s insider take:

This beautiful late-17th-century hacienda is much more than a place to stay; it's a full cultural-immersion experience. If you score one of the nine rooms at the compound owned by the descendants of former president Galo Plaza Lasso, you become part of the family for the duration of your visit. This is one of only a handful of haciendas in Ecuador that are also working farms—dairy cows and sheep are tended here, and barley, quinoa, potatoes, wheat, and organic vegetables are grown on the property. This produce, plus fish from the on-site trout farm and cheeses, butter, and cream from the huge dairy, are incorporated into the food prepared by the family's genius chef, Jose Maria Pumsacho—making the dinner table here one of the best in the country. After the evening meal, you can ask whichever of the 21 Plaza Lasso cousins are available to take you round the estate to see the impressive gardens and cheese factory, or retire to your Architectural Digest–worthy room, decorated with framed, embroidered Zuleteño yokes and cuffs. Next day, arrange to take one of the hacienda's 90 horses (the Plaza Lassos have their own breed) out to the phenomenal mountainside Condor Rehabilitation Project, where the family is working to save the great Andean bird from extinction. You can also visit nearby pre-Inca archaeological sites like the Caranqui Pyramids.

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