MY VISIT AT THE HACIENDA SAN AUGUSTIN DE CALLO IN ECUADOR

The Andes, the longest mountain chain in the world, was raised through primal power when the Nazca and South American tectonic plates collided. Today, this mountain range extends over 4,300 miles through South America. Many of the peaks that form this range are active or dormant volcanoes. The term Avenue of the Volcanoes was coined by the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt — “the greatest scientific traveler who ever lived,” according to Charles Darwin — who journeyed through Ecuador in 1802

The Hacienda San Augustin De Callo is located about 1,5 South of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. You find this magical hospitality experience, between Machachi and Latacunga, only a view km away from the Cotopaxi national park.

San Agustin de Callo has served as an Inca fortress and Augustinian monastery in the 15th century. This Inca Palace or temple was built by Tupac-Yupanqui (Inca Emperor) or Huayna-Capac. In 1536 the famous chronicler Cieza de Leon wrote about the Hacienda.

San Agustín de Callo is the only lived-in museum of Inca Imperial and Spanish Colonial style. By far the most impressive sights are the perfectly carved volcanic stone walls of two of the Inca rooms which have survived the centuries and now serve as chapel and dining room. Surrounded by the smoke/blackened Inca walls of the dining room, one can marvel at the infinite precision of the stonemasonry, a monument to the unrivaled craftsmanship of the Incas, and admire the stunning view of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world.

In 1742, it was the home of the French Geodesic Mission whose scientific results helped to determine the true shape of the planet. Other famous visitors include the brilliant German scientist Alexander von Humboldt and English mountain climber Edward Whymper, among other illustrious visitors.

The Hacienda was purchased by General Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez in 1921, who was the leader of the Liberal Revolution. Plaza went on to become President of Ecuador in 1901 and again in 1912, a position which was to be held by his son Galo Plaza Lasso in 1948. After that, the Hacienda has remained in the family to this day and is currently owned by the General’s granddaughter, Mignon Plaza, whose father, the distinguished congressman and legendary amateur bullfighter, Jose María Plaza Lasso, played a pivotal role in politics throughout his life. One of the most romantic spots.

The influential inhabitants of San Agustín de Callo have contributed to the unique blend of architecture which creates the individual character of the house. In the main courtyard, it is possible to see three distinct styles, Inca (Imperial style 15th century, construction style which the Incas used for their temples and palaces), Spanish Colonial (18th century) and Republican (19th century).

The hacienda has an Inca Chapel, with a 17th-century ceiling and perfectly carved Inca volcanic stone walls – a monument to long-ago forgotten craftsmanship. The chapel accommodates up to eighteen people. Many more fit in the courtyard and corridors. 150 people or more can be sat comfortably in the courtyard area and people can be accommodated in the surrounding gardens. Be sure this hotel is not only a fantastic spot for weddings but for any kind of event.

The Inca House is the main house and has five rooms, two suites with absolutely fantastic living rooms and three standard double rooms. All the rooms have king-size beds, ensuite bathrooms, and fireplaces in all the bedrooms and in several of the bathrooms. The Callo lodge is a really charming house and only a couple of meters apart from the Inca House. It has a cozy sitting room, fireplace, and kitchen. Music, books and cable TV available. A short distance away from the Inca House is the Cotopaxi House. It includes 2 suites which offer independent sitting rooms with sofa beds, music, books, cable TV and views of the Cotopaxi and surrounding mountain ranges. These suites have jacuzzis with showers. Cotopaxi suite has a social bathroom with a shower, this suite has two bathrooms. You are provided with good internet and free parking on the property,

You will be eating in two dining rooms, one unique Inca Imperial dining room, and one breakfast room which also has an Inca wall.

The breakfasts, English style, are varied and abundant with excellent cheeses, homemade products, cream, granola and butter, yogurt, different kind of bread, exotic juices, variety of eggs with bacon and sausages, marmalades, variety of fresh fruit and exotic fruit on the table. Believe us, you can really enjoy nearly everything imaginable.

Ecuadorian dishes and Mediterranean food are offered. All dishes are cooked with fresh products from their own vegetable garden or the local markets near the hotel. Many different dishes are served with various vegetables, quinoa, barley wheat, and other products from the region. Have a look for the delicious mixed special salads or vegetarian options. Choose between different kinds of picnics, with a variety of sandwiches, soups, and salads. You really don’t want to miss out on the desserts. From the Inca Imperial dining room, you might get a magnificent view of Cotopaxi volcano, also wonderful see at night time.

The hacienda offers horse riding for beginners and advanced riders through the beautiful surroundings. One of the favorite horse rides takes you towards the Cotopaxi through a pine forest to plains just below the volcano with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. For special occasions, you might want to order an exquisite treat with canopy, table, hors-d’oeuvres, champagne or wine.

The hacienda also offers excursions to visit different natural parks and ecological reserves where you can enjoy the Andean vegetation, rare birds and exceptional views. You can explore the Cotopaxi National Park or endeavor the hike up to the Cotopaxi refuge at 15.744 ft (4.800m.) above sea level and even cycle down the volcano from the parking. You can also visit the viewpoint Llanganates which is within the Llanganates Ecological Reserve about an hour from the hotel. Another highly recommended excursion will take you to the crater lake of Quilotoa where you can hike down to the lagoon and climb up by donkey or mule or take a five-hour hike around the rim of the crater. You can also visit the Ilinizas hot springs. It’s a wonderful trek, through a unique Polylepis forest and lovely vegetation. You walk for about 45 minutes, that is when you reach a pond with thermal waters where you can take a soothing dip. Closer trips will take you to marketplaces such as Saquisili (Thursdays), Pujili (Wednesdays and Sundays), as well as other surrounding local villages. Baños is located in a subtropical region next to the jungle and close to the Tungurahua volcano which has been erupting for several years. On your one day trip, you can enjoy trekking among the waterfalls in the lush tropical vegetation or take your bikes through beautiful routes, tea plantations and then even advance into the jungle.

Many well-known and influential visitors such as Mr. Luciano Benetton and the Queen of Spain probably think the same of this hotel: Wow, beautiful!!

The service, charm, and quality of this establishment are outstanding!

Hacienda San Agustin de Calllo

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