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Inside EcuadorMay 30, 2012 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
|Hacienda Umbria comes with under-floor heating systems and five fireplaces.|
Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is perhaps one of the most vibrant, diverse and eclectic cities Travel Agent has ever visited in Latin America. In 2011 it reigned as the “American Capital of Culture,” and while that designation changes cities every year, Quito is no less deserving of that title in 2012.
Suggest your clients spend at least a day or two touring the city’s many delights—from its UNESCO-recognized historic city center to an array of fascinating museums to a rich and varied nightlife—before setting out to explore Ecuador’s other exciting riches that wait off-the-beaten path.
They’ll have a choice of fine properties just about anywhere they travel in Ecuador. Travel Agent gives you the skinny on a new luxury lodge as well as three intimate haciendas, all at a good distance from Quito and all—speaking of exciting—surrounded by a cluster of active volcanoes.
Mashpi Lodge: Roughly three hours northwest of Quito, Mashpi Lodge opened its luxury doors in mid-April following four years of construction and 14 years since the land was first acquired. Its impressive glass-and-steel structure is erected on a hillside with dramatic views of tumbling green hills and valleys. Its glass walls provide guests near-constant visual contact with life in the forest while keeping the forest’s creatures at a comfortable distance.
Mashpi Lodge features 22 rooms—three large suites that come with bathtubs and often excellent views and 19 standard, including three inter-connecting pairs—and a wellness space with a Jacuzzi and massage room. The hotel’s dining room delivers a culinary experience that makes the most of the lodge’s location between the Andes and the Pacific. It features the freshest Ecuadorian ingredients combined in both traditional and contemporary twists, with particular focus on exotic fruits (think papaya, passion fruit and pineapple, for starters) as well as specialties baked in palm leaves. Organic, locally produced dark Arriba chocolate also plays a prime role in the Mashpi culinary experience. Mashpi Lodge’s aerial tram will be ready to glide clients on extended explorations of the forest in September.
Contact Roberto Mora ([email protected], 888-572-0166), sales manager, for more information.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo: Another great option for clients looking for a little something off-the-beaten path in Ecuador is Hacienda San Agustin de Callo. It is roughly 90 minutes from Quito and offers incredible views of some of Ecuador’s active volcanoes.
We were told that the Mulalo Suite is among the best rooms at the hacienda. It has a king-size bed and a drawing room with sofa bed. The lounge is equipped with a stereo, library and cable TV.
|Hacienda San Agustin de Callo has incredible views of some of Ecuador’s active volcanoes.|
There are three fireplaces, one in the spacious bathroom with its antique tub, one in the bedroom, and another one in the sitting room. All the bedrooms have views of the main courtyard, Tungurahua and Chimborazo volcanoes.
The hacienda takes full advantage of its landscape by offering an array of outdoor activities from horseback riding and fishing to hiking and mountain biking. As far as horseback riding goes, tell your clients that the best route is the one that takes you toward the Cotopaxi through a pine forest to plains just below the volcano with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. For special occasions, clients can order an exquisite treat with canopy, table, hors d’oeuvres, and champagne or wine in the Andes.
Travel Agent recommends booking this for either younger, venturesome clients or older clients who have the energy for a little adventure. Again, this is a great option to couple with a stay in Quito.
Agents should direct any queries to Veronica Heredia ([email protected], 011-593-327-191-60), the property’s sales manager.
Hacienda Hato Verde: Also close to Cotopaxi and other active volcanoes, the virtually new Hacienda Hato Verde has been remodeled by the current owners in strict keeping with original materials and techniques. It has 10 luxurious rooms, each one with a private bathroom and a fireplace.
The design employed in each room includes extremely comfortable beds with goose-feather pillows and duvets. The suites’ bathrooms welcome clients with a rustic set of elements that match the rest of the classy, colonial house. The hacienda’s gardens, coupled with the spectacular countryside of the Andes, create a relaxing atmosphere for either couples or families to enjoy. For families or larger groups, the hacienda can accommodate a maximum of 18 people.
This hacienda is another option that lends itself to some incredible outdoor adventures. The land that surrounds the south face of Cotopaxi is the ideal location to enjoy natural beauty with walks, biking or horse-riding treks.
|Mashpi Lodge‘s glass walls provide guests near-constant visual contact with life in the forest.|
A variety of tours around the province can be arranged. Cesar and Maria del Rosario, the owners, are also willing to customize your clients’ trips. From the hacienda, one can take advantage of the private entrance to the volcano that the hacienda owns. Clients can embark on tours either on horseback or in a vehicle toward the volcano.
Agents should contact Maria del Rosario Mosquera ([email protected], 011-593-327-193-48), owner, if they have any questions.
Hacienda Umbria: This longtime favorite opened about four years ago. Hacienda Umbria is an exceptional place full of character. It is a gourmet boutique hotel located in the foothills of Ecuador’s Corazon volcano, a few minutes from the town of Machachi, less than an hour from Quito.
The evergreen pastures, surrounded by El Corazon, Ruminahui, Illinizas and Cotopaxi mountains, are the hacienda’s garden, and the house is situated on a little hill in the middle of this impressive location. Inside, the hacienda comes with under-floor heating systems and five fireplaces.
Umbria is an amazing place; its privileged geographical location makes it unique and ensures that a trip here will be a truly unforgettable experience. This region, with its great snow-capped mountains, provides the perfect setting for a diverse range of outdoor activities, allowing guests to take advantage of the fresh air: mountain climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, etc.
This is a perfect pitch for clients who’d prefer a quiet, relaxing experience in Ecuador. Agents should direct their inquiries to Assistant Manager David Terneus ([email protected], 011-593-089-230-143).