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Historic Ecuador Haciendas

Historic Ecuador Haciendas
by Merri Scott

In the mid 1990s, Gary and I were exploring all through Ecuador with a group of friends. There were 12 of us, all enjoying the adventures and the surprises of Ecuador.

We had finished a delightful afternoon stop at what became one of our favorites (then just a small dairy with a serving room), La Vaca. Even writing about this now, my mouth waters at the thought of high mountain chill and a hot pot of the best hot chocolate in the world…milk made fresh from the restaurant’s own dairy and chocolate, the strong kind from not too far away Ambato.

But this hot chocolate was even more than that…all of us splurged and had the “supreme” which was fresh cheese stirred into that already unbelievable concoction!

It was delicious, strong and indeed supreme…but as are many things in Ecuador certainly not decadent or the least bit sinful!

While we were there all getting warmed up and marveling how we could walk right through the dairy with the afternoon milking of the spotless black and white cows and have our milk, chocolate in the midst of this.

“Quite unheard of cleanliness,” we all gasped.

But the thought arose, not really sure now where it started, from the owner of La Vaca or our old friend, the National Guide of Ecuador…how about a late afternoon meditation in a REAL Incan Chapel?

Here is the chapel.


“Of course” was the chorus! We jumped out passed back through the languor of those fat beautiful cows and started north on the Pan American Highway back toward Quito and Cotopaxi, the second highest peak in Ecuador and listed as one of the world’s highest active volcanoes at 19,347 feet.

At more or less Marker 77, we turned off the highway not far from Cotopaxi National Park. We wound around for a few miles not seeing much and then we were in for another hacienda surprise!

Ecuador Hacienda Building

The beautiful, historic Hacienda San Agustin del Callo welcomed us not in the same way as nearby La Cieniega but in its own symmetrical charm of a colonial hacienda. Here we could see and experience its “unique architectural blend….Inca (Imperial style from the 15th century and Spanish Colonial from the 18th century and then Republican from the 19th century. San Agustin de Callo constitutes the only lived in museum of Inca Imperial and Spanish Colonial Style”.

Just as darkness set in, we were greeted by part of the family who were just visiting their ancestral home. (At that time, San Agustin was not a hosteria or open to the public.)

They opened the chapel and explained to us its Inca history as well as pointed out the original walls of the Inca palace, upon which San Agustin was built.

We asked if we would be welcome to meditate in the chapel…and the young man in charge said “Welcome and Yes”.

We sort of filed into the dark ancient chapel (nothing like any Spanish chapel I’ve ever seen since) and helpers appeared with candles. It was deep quiet there, deep and dark. We did a 20 minute meditation and some of us felt sadness and heaviness.

But then the door to the hacienda was opened and we entered the most upbeat, charming, bright and series of delightful room after rooms. The mixtures were astounding (later I recognized this as Ecuadorian style)…bathrooms with soft swirls of color and exquisite candelabras and bedrooms filled with wooden angels and unexpected delights! Roaring fireplaces in all rooms AND the bathrooms, golden washed walls and roses, roses, roses everywhere!

Here is a shot of one of their rooms.


Years later we returned and met the daughter who converted the hacienda into luxury suites. It is a beautiful venue welcoming guests and also weddings into this 17th century venue.

Then as now, it offers authentic delicious Andean cooking. And today guests can enjoy mountain biking, horseback rides with picnics as well as hiking and simply soaking up the exquisite Ecuadorian experience.

Little did we know that just driving around and exploring the Avenue of the Volcanoes that we’d be 15 years later writing about our experiences to all of you. Ecuador and its Haciendas are all about that…adventure, history, exploration, archeology and darn good food and fun!

San Agustin de Callo, a great truly historic place to overnight on your way to the Devil’s Nose Train Ride. 90 miles south of Quito on the Pan American Highway. : “In total San Agustin now has six suites of which four have adjoining drawing rooms, two suites with incorporated drawing rooms and five double rooms. Eleven rooms in all with capacity to room thirty four people full house. The two smallest rooms Montufar and Bonpland, are located in Callo Lodge. Nevertheless these are double rooms. All other rooms are spacious.”  See more on San Agustin de Callo

Or send email questions to info@incahacienda.com

Join us in Ecuador!

Sept 23-27 Ecuador Spanish Course

September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour

Sept 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See discounts for attending more than one Sept. course

Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour