Hacienda Cusin ~ Ecuador

“Flowers and plants are silent presences; they nourish every sense except the ear.”    ~  May Sarton

While in Ecuador in 2006 and 2007, we traveled with friends who once lived in the country for four years and were returning to visit old friends and favorite places. As travel companions, we got to experience this beautiful country through their eyes.

One such place on the itinerary was Hacienda Cusin near San Pablos del Lago and south of Otavalo. After spending a night in Quito we drove our rental car north on the Pan American Highway for the two hour scenic drive.

At 8500 feet, Hacienda Cusin is a restored 400 year old estate. At one time, the property comprised of over 100,000 acres and was purchased through an auction from Phillip II, King of Spain, by the Luna family, in 1602. Since then it has passed through several owners, fell into disrepair and much of its acreage sold. Its present owner of two decades bought acreage back and restored the buildings to its Andean heritage and added on extensively. It is a five star place to stay at and the grounds and friendly staff make sure it remains that way.Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin

I felt I had stepped back in time.

White washed walls, Spanish tile roofs, earthen ware pots, randomly placed, looked like it had been that way for centuries, belying the improvements and additions.

The main reception room was warm and inviting. Its owner’s taste for icons, art and handmade tapestries intermingled with cozy seating areas made it feel like home away from home. The adjacent dining room with its heavy wooden tables and chairs reflected the heritage and nobility that once lived here. Aromas coming from the kitchen area reminded me that I was looking forward to dinner.

Hacinienda Cusin

Flowers danced along the walls and fence rows in a haphazard manner, colors and species intermingled as an informal garden should be. The rich lakebed soil makes a fertile ground for the garden’s restoration.

Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin

The beauty of this place is the serenity and peace it exudes as one walks down its paths meandering around the guest houses, some with their own water garden.

Hacinienda Cusin

Hacinienda Cusin

Hacinienda Cusin

There is a library and monasterio (conference center) adorned with hand painted murals as well as dried ears of corn.

Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin Hacinienda Cusin

Arched windows with colorful hand painted designs add artistic interest to this walkway.

Hacinienda Cusin

A stable with horses, llamas and even turkeys is worth a walk to just to be outside and notice how close we are to the 15,000 foot snow capped mountains of Imbabura and Cotacachi. Quite the back drop.

Hacinienda Cusin

This lovely private dwelling was home to our expat friends for several years. It now belongs to another couple from the US who graciously entertained us with a wonderful dinner, Ecuadoran style. Hacienda Cusin granted several expat families property to build on while they lived in Ecuador.  We stayed in another private home on the estate that was vacant at the time.

Hacinienda Cusin

True to the local custom, Valencia, who used to cook for our expat friends, Robert and Paula, prepared and delivered cuy (roasted guinea pig) for Robert…his breakfast. He was in his glory.


Of course, we had to stage it, add the beautiful hacienda grown roses and take pictures.

We watched as Robert ate his cuy.

I believe the rest of us had eggs.

Photography by Ron Mayhew

About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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38 Responses to Hacienda Cusin ~ Ecuador

  1. Letizia says:

    What a wonderful trip – I especially love the guest house; I could see myself there easily!

  2. This was a beautiful place and like you, I liked the guest house with the water garden. I could indulge myself in solitude and good books.

  3. What a beautiful place. I love Ecuador. Here is the story of my travels. Enjoy.

  4. Gigi Galore says:

    What a beautiful place! Your descriptions are so colourful and vivid, to go with the fabulous pictures! …. But I am still reeling from the last picture! 😦 hehehe 🙂

    • Hi Gigi. This was a gorgeous place to visit and I’m grateful that a dwelling was offered to the four of us for those few days which really kept the trip expenses down. I agree! Cuy doesn’t look appetizing but now I wish I had tasted it. I don’t think it is bad as it is made out to be. 🙂

  5. how nice of you to transport me from the coast to the sierra! my favorite is the photo of the callas, but that last one, staged or not,, is probably the loveliest photo of cuy ever taken!

  6. Great trip!! I especially love the mossy walls that give a very soothing feeling… Thank you for sharing these wonderful photographs! 🙂

  7. Wow! What beautiful photos… Who wouldn’t love to live in a place like that?

  8. vbholmes says:

    Your blog always provides a brief respite as I escape to a beautiful and interesting spot. Ron’s photos are, as usual, gorgeous (cuy included), and the hacienda is a fabulous subject. Thanks, Lynne.

  9. adinparadise says:

    What a delightful place, Lynne. The photos are beautiful. That poor guinea pig really went out in style, didn’t he? Red roses and gorgeous backdrop too. I think I would also have had the eggs.:D

  10. Yahobahne says:

    Very interesting and I enjoyed every one of your photos. Absolutely beautiful and captivating.

  11. randy says:

    Great place! Everywhere one travels there are treasures to be found.

  12. Dianne says:

    I would love to stay at that hotel. I am always looking to stay at a place with character and charm. What an opportunity to see how the ex pats live. Great experience

  13. shutterwild says:

    Great story. It looks like a very good place to relax and enjoy some fun with friends!

  14. This was a great trip, especially experiencing Ecuador through our expat friends’ eyes. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  15. restlessjo says:

    What a place to live, Lynne! Isn’t it fabulous? Those arched windows with the stencilled rims and the turquoise doorway! It’s all curves. I love it.

  16. I agree, Jo. The whole place was artistic. They even bring fresh bouquets of flowers to the cottages every morning for each room and lay a fire in the fireplace each evening. Lot’s of attention.Lovely place to live or visit.

  17. Our Adventure in Croatia says:

    what a great place and trip!

  18. Madhu says:

    Stunningly beautiful hacienda! Must be worth the splurge to stay there. Love every single shot Lynne, right down to the last still life 🙂

    • I’m just grateful we didn’t have to splurge to stay here. The 2 bedroom house we stayed in was loaned to us, so all we had was meals. Otherwise, I probably would have been elsewhere and just come for lunch in the dining room. But, it was a beautiful place and the owners have restored it handsomely.

  19. Lynne, what a beautiful getaway! The attention to detail and cuisine make it sound as though it’s a must visit. I really like Ron’s capture of the ears of dried corn hanging over the blue/white tiles.

  20. We felt really fortunate to be traveling with friends who wanted to stay here (in a borrowed friend’s house) which enabled us to inexpensively sight see the area as well as enjoy the beauty of the hacienda. The corn does make an interesting picture. I agree. Thanks for you comment, Tricia.

  21. Wendy says:

    Amazing Photo’s Lynne!

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