'Haciendas of Distinction'

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.

Historical Haciendas

Historical Haciendas

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi Volcano rises gracefully from the beautiful high plains of its National Park. An ideal location for walking, stay here in one of the characterful haciendas with years of history to tell.

Spa with a view

Spa with a view

Hosteria Luna Runtun - Banos

In the untouched green hills surrounding the town of Banos lies the Spa Hotel Luna Runtun. Relax in luxury with spectacular views and a range of soft adventure activities if you choose.

Descend a precipitous rock face by train

Descend a precipitous rock face by train

Devil's Nose Train

An outstanding accomplishment of engineering, the Devil's Nose railway descends an impossibly steep rock face. One of the world's great railway experiences.

Romance, colonial heritage and the Panama hat

Romance, colonial heritage and the Panama hat


Cuenca is one of Ecuador's most attractive colonial cities and surprisingly home to the Panama hat. Explore the city, its museums and be sure to buy a hat before you leave!

Craft traditions, indigenous communities & beautiful scenery

Craft traditions, indigenous communities & beautiful scenery


A small market town deep in the Andes, one of Otavalo's main attractions is its Saturday market, widely reckoned to be the best for textiles and traditional handicrafts in all of South America.

Itinerary map for Ecuador & Galapagos 'Haciendas of Distinction' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Quito
  • 2 Quito
  • 3 Quito
  • 4 Cotopaxi
  • 5 Cotopaxi
  • 6 Banos
  • 7 Banos
  • 8 Riobamba
  • 9 Cuenca
  • 10 Cuenca
  • 11 Cuenca
  • 12 Otavalo
  • 13 Otavalo
  • 14 Otavalo
  • 15 Quito
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Haciendas of Distinction'



You are met on your arrival at Quito airport and driven to Hotel Patio Andaluz or Mansión del Angel. This is your base for your first 3 nights in Ecuador, allowing you to discover Quito while acclimatising to the altitudes of the Andes.


An experienced local guide meets you at your hotel to introduce you to Quito and Ecuador in the course of a leisurely morning’s walking tour of the historic quarter. The streets of the Old Quarter are closed to traffic on Sundays, and there are often colourful events in one or other of the principal plazas. In the afternoon you might like to continue exploring the city on your own (within a very short walk of Hotel Patio Andaluz are the City Museum, the delightful House of María Augusta Urrutia and La Compañía church), or relax in your hotel.


A free morning in Quito. As today is a Monday, you will be able to get a better look inside Quito’s churches to appreciate their breathtaking gold and silver altars, and perhaps to ride the cable car to the top of Mt Pichincha with its extensive views over the city and to the Avenue of the Volcanoes. In the afternoon your guide takes you to other parts of the city and its surroundings, including a visit to the Equator monument.


Cotopaxi National Park

Today you are driven south along part of the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cotopaxi National Park. You visit the beautiful Limpiopungo Lagoon at 3,800m and enjoy the high páramos vegetation, with miniature asters and crocus-like flowers nestling amid lichens and mosses. If you are responding well to the thinness of the air there is the option of walking up to the volcano’s glacier. Then continue to your choice between Hostería La Ciénega or Hacienda San Agustín de Callo for a two night stay.


Free day for walking, riding or relaxing at Hostería La Ciénega or Hacienda San Agustín del Callo.



Today you will be driven along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Baños where you stay for 2 nights at Hostería Luna Runtun.


Free day to enjoy the hotel and spa.



After a leisurely morning free at Hostería Luna Runtun you will be transferred to Riobamba where you stay for one night at Hotel Abraspungu, a comfortable country inn style hotel just outside the town, ready for an early start next morning for the Devil’s Nose Train.


Devil’s Nose Train Ingapirca Cuenca

The engineers who constructed the Trans-Andean Railway between Guayaquil on the coast and Quito in the mountains faced incredible challenges of terrain. Their most outstanding accomplishment was the section completed in 1902 known as the Devil’s Nose, where the track descends an almost perpendicular wall of rock in a tight switchback–one of the great railway journeys of the world. To make the trip even more memorable it used to be the thing to travel on the roof of the train, but in these days of health & safety precautions you will be sitting inside. At present the favoured rolling stock is the ‘Chiva Express’ – a traditional Latin American bus mounted on the chassis of a diesel powered rail coach. You leave from the small station at Riobamba. The single track journey twists and turns through Andean villages and pretty valleys, carrying you over bridges and across steep ravines as you descend to the village of Alausí. From here you descend the Devil’s Nose switchback, pause, then ascend and return to Alausí. You are met off the train to be driven by shared small coach to Cuenca, with a stop to visit the Inca ruins of Ingapirca en route. At historic Cuenca, the principal city of the southern Andes, you stay for three nights in the historic quarter at Mansión Alcázar or Hostería Santa Lucia.

DAY 10


You are collected from your hotel for a morning tour of Cuenca. In the afternoon you are free to relax at the hotel or perhaps to explore some more of the city by yourselves. Don’t forget to buy a Panama hat!

DAY 11

A free day in Cuenca. Though there is plenty to see in the city, you could choose to arrange an optional excursion, eg to Cajas National Park or nearby villages famous for their crafts.

DAY 12


Today you will be transferred to the airport at Cuenca for the short flight back to Quito. On arrival, you will be driven to Otavalo and your choice of one of four distinctive hotels: Hacienda La Zuleta, Hacienda Pinsaqui, Hacienda Cusín, or La Mirage.

DAY 13

A free day at your chosen hotel near Otavalo. Optional excursions can be arranged locally.

DAY 14

A free day at your chosen hotel near Otavalo. Optional excursions can be arranged locally.

DAY 15

Morning visit to Otavalo Market. On Saturdays all four separate markets will be in full operation–the early morning animal market, the handicrafts stalls, fruit and vegetables and the Indian market where the locals buy their unique items of dress. In the afternoon you are transferred to Quito airport for your onwards flight to the Galapagos, or home to the UK.

Guide prices for 'Haciendas of Distinction'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price (La Cienega & La Cusin) 2 people sharing £3,470
Guide price (San Agustin & La Cusin) 2 people sharing £3,695
Guide price (San Agustin & La Mirage Spa) 2 people sharing £3,855
Guide price (San Agustin & La Zuleta) 2 people sharing £4,265
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 'Haciendas of Distinction'

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.


Seasonal information for 'Haciendas of Distinction'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
2 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
3 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
4 Cotopaxi 9°C rainfall 83mm
5 Cotopaxi 9°C rainfall 83mm
6 Banos 21°C rainfall 56mm
7 Banos 21°C rainfall 56mm
8 Riobamba 20°C rainfall 37mm
9 Cuenca 18°C rainfall 67mm
10 Cuenca 18°C rainfall 67mm
11 Cuenca 18°C rainfall 67mm
12 Otavalo 19°C rainfall 90mm
13 Otavalo 19°C rainfall 90mm
14 Otavalo 19°C rainfall 90mm
15 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm

Typical weather for January


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

Hotels for 'Haciendas of Distinction'

Days 1 - 3

Patio Andaluz

Quito historic quarter

Average rating 4.5 (41 ratings)

A sensible, Upper-range hotel that has recently been sympathetically converted from a colonial mansion and is arranged around three internal courtyards. Well located just a few steps from the Plaza de la Independencia, it is extremely convenient for sightseeing among the impressive colonial buildings, museums, ornate churches and romantic plazas of the Old City. The rooms are very spacious with heavy dark wood furnishings and ecclesiastical overtones. There is a restaurant on-site, though many more options on the doorstep in the city.

Patio Andaluz
Standard room
Days 4 - 5

Hacienda La Cienega


Average rating 4.1 (16 ratings)

Hostería La Ciénega is a characterful hotel converted from one of Ecuador’s oldest haciendas, dating from 1580. Set in extensive grounds it is approached along an avenue of fragrant eucalyptus trees. Its well regarded restaurant, 34 guest rooms and suites are set around a series of attractive courtyard gardens, some of which are recent additions. La Ciénega offers rooms with colonial and 19th century furnishings and has many other reminders of its past, including a private chapel. Horse riding is usually available for guests.

Hacienda La Cienega
Day 8


nr Riobamba

Average rating 4.4 (19 ratings)

Abraspungo is a renovated and much extended hacienda just outside Riobamba and set in pretty rose filled gardens. The hotel has 38 spacious and well-appointed en suite rooms, smartly decorated with samples of Ecuadorian art and weaving. The hotel has an good restuarant run by a Peruvian chef, who cooks up Peruvian influenced cuisine as well as Ecuadorian and internatinal dishes.

Days 9 - 11

Mansion Alcazar

Cuenca centre

An elegant boutique hotel in a lavishly restored large town house dating from the turn of the last century when Cuenca was at its most well-to-do. The hotel offers a taste of the luxury of that era, with many chic touches. It is decorated grandly, with crystal chandeliers, antique furniture, sumptuous furnishings and delightful objet d’art. There is a courtyard patio fountain and a charming small garden.

Mansion Alcazar
Bar area
Days 12 - 14

Hacienda Cusin


Average rating 4.8 (17 ratings)

Hacienda Cusin is a restored 17th-century Andean hacienda. It is located close to Otavalo, next to the San Pablo Lake, and has attractive and extensive gardens. All rooms have private bathrooms some with their own fireplaces, whilst there is Wi-Fi throughout. In reception there are hot-water bottles available and there are over 20 activities, tours and expeditions available including horseriding to book locally.

Hacienda Cusin
Side wing