With the recent addition of Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve in the Amazon, Boutique Hotel Mansion del Rio in Guayaquil and Yacht Fragata, Exclusive Hotels & Haciendas of Ecuador can now accommodate travelers in all four regions of the country. And the new members have been incorporated into the organization’s collection of journeys through Ecuador, linking its boutique lodgings into creative itineraries—and now even taking them cruising in the Galapagos Islands.
For 2012, Exclusive Hotels & Haciendas has expanded its unique and personalized travel itineraries, which range from day trips in and around Quito, to 3-night Ecuador Great Escapes. There are also special interest programs and Classic Tours that showcase different regions of the country (and a few including the Galapagos Islands). “Of course, we can personally customize any vacation request,” says the association’s manager, Emma Morgan, “and our haciendas—depending on location—are perfect bases for activities ranging from birdwatching and ziplining, to Spanish lessons and spa and wellness.
Consider just one Classic Tour sampling: The Northern Highlands and Haciendas Tour includes a Quito city tour, two nights in Boutique Hotel Casa Cultura, two nights in the Mindo region at El Septimo Paraiso, a visit to the Tulipe—a Yumbo archaeological site—and lots of world-class birdwatching. Guests on this tour will also spend three nights at Hacienda Pinsaqui near Otavalo, with visits to the highland markets near Otavalo and two nights at the gourmet Hacienda Umbria at Machachi—gateway to the Avenue of the Volcanoes—before returning to Quito for a final night’s stay. Focusing on diversity and cultures in the Ecuadorian Andes, this 9-night program includes private transportation with English-speaking guides, accommodations, most meals and lots of sightseeing. The cost is $2,295 pp dbl.
While full profiles of each of the members of Exclusive Hotels & Haciendas are on the association’s excellent website, here are just some thumbnail introductions:
- Hacienda Pinsaqui, a perfect, historic and elegant base from which to explore the Otavalo highlands and Indian markets. Its most famous guest: Liberator Simon Bolivar.
- El Septimo Paraiso, set in the cloud forests of the Mindo region two hours from Quito, features 22 rooms, a pool and some of the best birdwatching in Ecuador.
- Boutique Hotel Cafe Cultura, a charming urban retreat, offers a delightful mix of English tradition and contemporary comfort in Quito’s lively downtown neighborhood.
- Hacienda Umbria is beautifully appointed, scenically positioned near Machachi, and its host, Alvaro Samper, loves to cook and shares his passions of wine and cuisine with guests.
- Hacienda Hato Verde occupies a working dairy farm, and the 120-year-old main house is now the most charming of the lodgings around Cotopaxi Volcano.
- Hacienda Manteles sits outside Baños, with a stunning view of the Tunguarahua Volcano.
- Hacienda Abraspungo, the finest in Riobamba and perfectly charming inn filled with pre-Columbian antiquities, is surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Andes.
- Boutique Hotel Mansion del Rio, occupying a historic mansion, is situated in the Las Penas neighborhood of Guayaquil, with views across the River Guayas.
- Hacienda Caballo Campana, a 13-room lodging with four cabin suites, is set in acres of gardens and pastures on the edge of the Yanuncay River in Cuenca.
- Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve is one of the most remote, ecologically responsible and culturally sensitive ecolodges in the world. It sits deep in the wildlife-rich Amazon rainforest in the territory of the Achuar people.
- Yacht Fragata, a first-class motor yacht, providing scheduled and charter sailings on 7-night cruises—East and West island circuits—in the Galapagos Islands.