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'Creature Comforts'

What makes this trip special?

The kingdom of Quito

The kingdom of Quito

Quito - old city

Quito's historic centre of cobbled streets and white washed colonial buildings is one of the most important in Latin America. Wander through the narrow streets, watch lively events in the plazas and visit historical landmarks.

Colonial working farm & former president's home

Colonial working farm & former president's home

Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta, home to the Plaza-Lasso family, is a working hacienda where guests can walk trails, horse back ride and view wildlife in its extensive lands. On the property there are chances to see wild Spectacled Bear and visit the hacienda's own Condor rehabilitation project.

Expert weavers, sweet scented roses & the middle of the world

Expert weavers, sweet scented roses & the middle of the world

Otavalo Region

Stay in Otavalo, well known for its famous craft markets. At a rose plantation witness one of Ecuador's largest exports being grown. Finally step into the middle of the world as you visit the Equator line.

A bit of luxury within the forest

A bit of luxury within the forest

Mashpi Lodge - near Tulipe

Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Lodge is a stylish new cloudforest lodge & spa in a prime location for birders and natural history enthusiasts.

Charismatic hacienda on the slopes of a volcano

Charismatic hacienda on the slopes of a volcano

Hacienda Rumiloma

Perched on the slopes of Pichincha volcano with commanding views over the city of Quito.

Itinerary map for Ecuador & Galapagos 'Creature Comforts' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Quito
  • 2 Quito
  • 3 Hacienda Zuleta
  • 4 Hacienda Zuleta
  • 5 Hacienda Zuleta
  • 6 Hotel El Crater
  • 7 Mashpi
  • 8 Mashpi
  • 9 Mashpi
  • 10 Hacienda Rumiloma
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Creature Comforts'

DAY 1

Quito

You are met on arrival at Quito airport and driven for a 2 night stay at an upper-range hotel in a beautifully restored grand house in Quito’s historic quarter.

DAY 2
BL

Today you are taken on a guided tour of historic Quito. On sunny days the whitewashed buildings sparkle like sugar in the clear mountain air as you wander atmospheric cobbled streets lined with monasteries, convents and mansions, many with ornate façades and richly decorated interiors. Street vendors offer sticky meringues, bunches of roses, ice creams, party balloons and piñatas (brightly painted paper sacks chock-full of sweets for children to burst). Little shops display corn, quinoa, beans, cinnamon, annatto, cumin and much more. A religious procession may pass, the faithful throwing rose petals in its path. Ornate churches, such as the magnificent baroque La Compañía de Jesús with its impressive carved and gilded altars, showcase the the ‘Quito School’. Take a moment watch the world go by in Plaza de la Independencia, overlooked by the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral–a favourite spot for the city’s well-to-do to congregate. You might choose to stop at the Casa del Alabado museum, with a fine collection of Pre-Hispanic ceramic artefacts beautifully displayed in a restored colonial mansion. The Maria Augusta Urrutia Museum is not to be missed, a mansion that offers a fascinating insight into high society life in 19th century Quito. Lunch is included at a restaurant overlooking one of the main squares. Hacienda Zuleta

DAY 3
BLD

Hacienda Zuleta

Today you are collected from your hotel for the drive north through a region where craft traditions take centre stage. You visit weaving workshops in the village of Peguche just outside Otavalo, and may call on a family of pan-pipe players and see where the pipes are made–with enthusiastic demonstrations. You also visit the beautiful crater lake of Laguna Cuicocha and Cotacachi an entire town dedicated to leather. Dozens of shops and smart boutiques offer everything from skilfully made handbags, wallets and jackets to tack for hard working horses. Stopping for a fine lunch at ‘La Mirage’ (a Relais & Chateaux member) you continue to the prestigious Hacienda Zuleta, your base for the next 3 nights– a very large working hacienda of pasture, forest and protected primary forest owned by your hosts the Plaza-Lasso family, whose illustrious ancestors include 2 presidents of Ecuador.

DAY 4
BLD

Today you can explore the trails at Hacienda Zuleta, walking or riding. Out and about over these 2 days you should have a good chance to see Spectacled Bear. You’ll also be taken to their Condor Huasi rehabilitation project, where wild condors fly high in the hills over their temporarily captive cousins. If you enjoy riding, and have the skills, the hacienda’s stables are among the most renowned in Ecuador with nearly 100 horses, 20 of which are ‘Zuleteño’, the hacienda’s own cross of Spanish, Andalusian, English and Quarters. When we were last at the hacienda we watched a horse-whisperer at work in the corral, gently bringing a nervy young stallion to accept saddle, bridle and rider.

DAY 5
BLD

Second full day at the hacienda for further hikes, rides and wildlife. The farm’s 300 Holstein-Friesian cows produce organic milk for 11 varieties of semi-aged cheeses, cream, yoghurt and cream cheese made on the premises. Guests can see the little cheese factory at work through a large observation window. There is an extensively and attractive planted kitchen garden.

DAY 6
BL

Otavalo, rose farms and the Equator

A visit to Otavalo’s justly famous crafts market, followed by lunch at a local hacienda. At a rose plantation you’ll see how Ecuador’s long-stemmed roses are grown. You travel to the Equator, passing the monument to the 1736 French line, to the true line 200m away. The small Inti-Ñan museum (rickety but fun) presents an eclectic mix of folk exhibits and ‘scientific’ demonstrations straddling the true line. Stay the night at a modernist hotel on the rim of an extinct volcano, with panoramic views in both directions.

DAY 7
BLD

Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve

Driving down the western slopes of the Andes you call at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, then continue to Mashpi Biodiversity Lodge (see opposite)–a stylish new cloudforest lodge & spa, where you stay for 2 nights. The Mashpi reserve is set in a prime location for keen birders, the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena region–a biodiversity hotspot. Less avid birders are sure to enjoy the jewelled hummingbirds, flocks of parrots, colourful toucans plus the orchids and bromeliads, iridescent morpho butterflies and amphibians of the cloud forest trails.

DAY 8
BLD

A day at Mashpi. Resident guides will accompany you on the trails. Make sure you try the lovely spa.

DAY 9
B

Hacienda Rumiloma

A leisurely start then visit the astonishing Tulipe archeological site, whose importance is only beginning to be appreciated, en route back to Quito. Your final night is at the delightful Hacienda Rumiloma perched high on the flank of the Pichincha volcano with a commanding view over the city. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the hacienda’s facilities.

DAY 10
B

When the time comes, you are collected and driven to the airport for your onward flight to Galapagos or home.

Guide prices for 'Creature Comforts'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide Price 2 people sharing £3,760
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Ecuador
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  • all excursions as described
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Creature Comforts'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 100%

rating

The Amazon and Mashpi.

rating

Seasonal information for 'Creature Comforts'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
2 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
3 Hacienda Zuleta 14°C rainfall 88mm
4 Hacienda Zuleta 14°C rainfall 88mm
5 Hacienda Zuleta 14°C rainfall 88mm
6 Hotel El Crater 21°C rainfall 100mm
7 Mashpi 25°C rainfall 348mm
8 Mashpi 25°C rainfall 348mm
9 Mashpi 25°C rainfall 348mm
10 Hacienda Rumiloma 15°C rainfall 117mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Creature Comforts'

Days 1 - 2

Hotel Mansion del Angel

A recently converted colonial mansion turned charming boutique hotel located between Quito's historic quarter and the Mariscal district. Guests are welcomed in a sumptuous living room furnished with antiques, the smell of chocolate permeates the air. The bedrooms are decorated in a romantic style—gilt cornices, cherubs, four-poster beds strewn with rose petals, and lots of lace. Afternoon tea is served daily. There is a small back garden with easy seating where the owner's friendly dog can be found lazing in the sun.

Hotel Mansion del Angel
Deluxe King suite
Days 3 - 5

Hacienda Zuleta

rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

Historic Hacienda Zuleta is a 4,000 acre working farm deep in the countryside in the Otavalo region. The hacienda is owned and run by the Plaza-Lasso family, whose ancestors include a former President. Hacienda Zuleta has 15 guest rooms, all individually decorated with antiques, embroidered linens and black and white family photographs. Rooms look over the hacienda's gardens or out to the Andean landscape all around. There is a real feeling of staying in a private home, but with all the creature comforts. Guests are served traditional Ecuadorian food well-prepared in the hacienda's kitchens, drawing on ingredients from their organic garden and farm. Bread is freshly baked, and even their cheeses are hand-made in Zuleta's small cheese factory with milk from their own herd. The hacienda itself is set at a comfortable altitude of 2,800m. The surrounding hills and valleys offer guests a good range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking and riding on the hacienda's excellent horses (On our most recent visit we were lucky enough to see a horse-whisperer at work ever-so-gently breaking-in a young stallion). Zuleta runs 'Condor Huasi', a conservation project for the Andean Condor; you are quite likely to see them soaring over the hills.

Hacienda Zuleta
Aerial view of the Hacienda
Day 6

El Crater, Pululahua

Equator line

Hotel El Crater is a modernist hotel situated on the rim of a long extinct volcano crater, close the Equator line and with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside in both directions from its picture windows. The hotel has twelve rooms equipped with king size or double beds, orthopedic mattresses covered with natural fibres, eiderdowns and natural down pillows as well as pure wool blankets. Other amenities include central heating, frigo-bar, DVD player, TV.

El Crater, Pululahua
Hotel exterior
Days 7 - 8

Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve

near Tulipe
rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

Mashpi is an award winning, upper range and modern cloudforest lodge with capacity for 36 guests in 18 spacious, glazed walled rooms which face the forest. A butterfly Vivarium Serpentarium and night hikes are all planned for guests on site and there is a jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and spa treatments including massages with local stones, herbs, mud and leaves. Electronic buggies ferry guests from the parking lot to the lodge to cut down on noise pollution, whilst there is interaction with local communities through the Casa Campesina project. A 2km aerial tram transfers guests from one part of the 1,000ha reserve to another, and is due to open next year.

Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve
Lodge exterior
Day 9

Hacienda Rumiloma

high above the city

This is a most attractive top range Hacienda, perched high above the city of Quito on the slopes of Volcano Pichincha in 100 acres of primary Andean forest. The charismatic Irish/Ecuadorian owners have exuberantly decorated the property with a luxuriously eclectic mix of cushions, candels, antiques and stylish  bric a brac. Each guest suite has a living area with woodburning stove, and a separate (colder) bedroom. Hot waterbottles are provided at night. There is an excellent restaurant with well stocked wine cellar which is open to the public and on a clear day offers stunning views down upon the city. Plus there is a very tasteful pub reflecting Amber's Irish connections in the basement. A most enjoyable place to hole up against the elements by the log fire in the evening. The hacienda backs up to thousands of acres of national park land with scores of trails, a small river, and llamas grazing peacefully yet is just 15 mins drive from the city.

Hacienda Rumiloma
Double room