Dating from the late XVI century, Hacienda Zuleta is a traditional, working farm of 4,000 acres that has belonged to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. Located two and a half hours north of Quito and surrounded by the spectacular Ecuadorian Andes at 2,800 metres above sea level, Zuleta was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine and named as one of the country’s best hotels by National Geographic Traveler.
The hacienda has 21 beautifully decorated bedrooms (3 Standard, 7 Junior Suites and 11 Deluxe), all with their own fire place. The cosy living and reading rooms, as well as the beautiful gardens, add to the peaceful atmosphere. Delicious home Ecuadorian cuisine is prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda.
Zuleta is still very much a working farm, with 300 cattle, 200 sheep and over 2000 hectares of pasture land and protected areas of native primary forest – much of the milk is used in Zuleta’s own cheese factory.
Hacienda Zuleta offers a great variety of activities for its guests, including horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and horse drawn carriage. Guests can visit the Andean Condor Huasi Project rehabilitation program, visit the local village of Zuleta, the embroidery workshop, or even search for spectacled bears.
The Plaza family and local team, with their natural warmth and hospitality, welcome guests to this beautiful country house and invite them to share their life at an authentic hacienda in the Andes of Ecuador.
Jan 2020 - New Baby Condor
The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, the NGO created by the owners of Hacienda Zuleta, finished the year 2019 with good news: the birth of an Andean condor chick in its installations. The GPLF is member of the Ecuadorian Working Group for the Andean Condor, a gathering of institutions that work for the conservation of the species. The Andean condor is considered Critically Endangered in Ecuador, with an estimated population of about 150 individuals, and is still facing many threats including illegal hunting and poisoning. This young male will be part of the future backup and breeding population held under human care and, hopefully, is just the start of future success in the conservation of the species.
August 2019 - New "Cheese House" & "Magic Box"!
We will soon open our new Cheese Interpretation Center, which we will call ¨La Casa del Queso¨ (the Cheese House), located beside our cheese production area. With this new experience, we honor this beautiful tradition of turning milk into cheese, and the visit will be enjoyable even if the factory is not in production.
We are also close to finishing a new adventure in our Condor Interpretation Center ¨La Choza del Condor¨, the Magic Box , this is an educational tool that will wake up the senses of our visitors, especially the young ones, and it will be a call to discovery and game, another tool to teach our visitors about this incredible area.
See here Zuleta co-owner Fernando's reminiscences about sharing the dining table there as a small boy with his grandfather, the ex-President of Ecuador, Sr Galo Plaza Lasso.
January 2019. Naomi’s Ode to Zuleta Cheese
If like me you have a passion for cheese, then visiting Hacienda Zuleta is like going to cheese heaven! The farm has its own cheese factory onsite and guests can take a tour and learn all about the cheese making process. It’s an impressive business, employing local people and using the rich creamy milk produced by Zuleta’s 300 prized Holsteins cows. Astoundingly fourteen different cheeses are made at the hacienda! Ecuadorians prefer soft, fresh cheeses, but Zuleta is best known for hard, cured cheeses that offer more flavour and have a familiar European look. Many of them are decorated in brightly coloured waxes, which also serve to preserve the life of the cheese. The most famous is the multi award winning Don Galo, named after the General Manager’s grandfather, a past and well-regarded President of Ecuador. Cheeses produced and served at Hacienda Zuleta have won national and international awards for their unique flavour, aroma and appearance. The newest of these are gouda, danbo & wild herb varieties. This year the cheese factory will be getting a make-over to improve the guest experience. Visitors will be treated to a much more hands-on tour, complete with cheesey smells and flavours!
Hacienda Zuleta regularly update and enhance their excursions, including half and full day riding programmes in the surrounding forests, hills and mountains. Also introducing atmospheric Bonfire evenings - held in their historic courtyard - designed to create a true Andean experience with local music, drinks and delicacies.
Cheeses produced and served at Hacienda Zuleta have won national and international awards for their unique flavour, aroma and appearance. Zuleta's guests can now enjoy new gouda, danbo & wild herb varieties.
See Zuleta's new dining room in our Media Centre.
FD Excursion from Quito to Hacienda Zuleta
Zuleta is offering daily visits from Quito to the farm with lunch and optional horseback riding or biking for this low season 2017/18. Please ask your DMC for details.
New Dining Room
Hacienda Zuleta's team of restorers are adding the final touches and antique pieces to the spacious new dining room, which will open later this month.
Certificate of Excellence for Hacienda Zuleta
Zuleta has received Tripadvisor's 2017 Certificate of Excellence for its consistently excellent reviews!
Staff Musical Chairs at Zuleta
The dedicated, delightful and efficient Maria Fernanda Sánchez, previously Host Leader, has been promoted to Sales Manager, while Sofía Borja, ever popular with Zuleta's guests, has taken over her role as Host Leader, and Amable - a former host and former President of the Zuleta Community - has returned to the fold as a host.
Fiesta de San Juan at Hacienda Zuleta
San Juan, the fabulously raucous, colourful fiesta returned for another year as hundreds of locals and tourists took over the Hacienda's main plaza in late June to celebrate St John the Baptist, the Harvest and Community ties. Processions, dance groups and tipsy partygoers circled the plaza, some engaging in the traditional giving of roosters to the Hacienda family in return for money and patronage. This ritual, started from the time of the former President Galo Plaza Lasso, represents the strong bonds between the Hacienda and the community and is a must see occasion. See photos here from this year's colourful San Juan fiesta at Hacienda Zuleta.
Churi the Condor
Sadly, Hacienda Zuleta announces its groundbreaking condor release programme has suffered a setback. Churi, 'son of Zuleta', the first condor bred and released by the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, died on the 5th of January from what has been diagnosed as pneumonia. The FGPL team are distraught, but determined to learn from this first experience and keep working to try to save condors in Ecuador. They warmly thank everyone who supported the fund to buy tracking devices, and assure them the equipment will be used in their next conservation efforts. Two other condors were released with Churi. One is missing and the other is back at the rescue center and is doing well.
Hacienda Zuleta reports the first sightings of a new spectacled bear cub. It is estimated that the cub was born to mum Negra, around August 2016. The sex of the bear cub isn't known yet. There are now 37 spectacled bears living wild at Hacienda Zuleta. These bears, made famous by the Paddington stories, are an endangered species in all of South America.