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Travel Blogs from Otavalo
Otavalo is an uplands city surrounded by volcanoes, most of which are active. The northern region is known for its woven alpaca sweaters, shawls, carpets, wall hangings ... you name it. Saturday is market day when artisans from miles around bring their wares to Otavalo to sell. Gonzalo tells us that market day is as much about socializing as it is …
... crafted out of dough. We bought a few refrigerator magnet masapans and moved on to our next stop, Cayambe. This town is famous for its baked dough snacks, biscoche. These come straight from the oven, sold in paper bags all over the town, and were surprisingly delicious. Then we drove through the Guayllabamba valley, which was spectacular. Much of Ecuador is lined with volcanos, and this makes the mountains, valleys, and lakes so beautiful. We stopped at ...
Woke up very early to head to Otavalo market which is the largest in Ecuador. Took about 3 hrs by bus to get there. The scenery was gorgeous but I was so exhausted that I fell asleep leaning against the window! The market was bustling with people buying and selling all manner of things: chickens, coconut water, sweaters, artwork, musical instruments, belts, fruits and vegetables, ...
... listing as a hostel.
The common areas (the restuarant and miniscule "library") are the only places to hang out with other travellers and get wifi, yet they are always locked and there is never a staff member at hand to open them for you; when there is, they are almost invariably passive aggressive and unwelcoming (in particular Rosa, the owner). The filtered water that was initially offered was taken away, and when more was requested (firmly) by ...
... meal was followed by a wonderful night at La Juliana, a really classy latin club full of locals and complete with live band. We enjoyed another great evening of crossover and danced until closing. Marcel very kindly offered to be our guide for the next day, and showed us round the historical centre. Thanks to him, we'll always have fond memories of Quito that go beyond just visiting a city.
After an eventful night ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hacienda Cusin Otavalo
Hacienda Cusin has fantastic potential but we felt it was being run on a shoestring. The gardens are extensive and full of beautiful plants - and weeds! We only saw one gardener working during our three night stay. Plenty of garden furniture but too dirty and rickety to use. Patio furniture also needed a good brush down before use, there just did not appear to be enough to keep the properyt clean. Food was very disappointing after other hotels we had stayed in Ecuador and no staff to man the bar, on one night the receptionist came in to serve us but another night nobody appeared so we had to go straight into dinner. Food was very mediocre and one couple paid for a taxi to take them elsewhere for dinner. Such a shame as the surroundings were so peaceful - apart from 2 a.m. each night when a car/burglar alarm went off for approx. 20 mins. We were advised to gather in the reading room at 5 p.m. each day to meet other guests and enjoy tea and `gorgeous cookies` - the second day of our stay when we went along to the kitchen to ask for these cookies, one of the staff finally appeared with a plate with 7 Ritz crackers! Did not see anyone in a managerial position during our stay - maybe that was part of the problem!
Excellent, quiet Hacienda
On the website, Hacienda Cusin is described as "nestled deep in the blue sky," in a beautiful valley. It was amazing, calm, well run and fun. I was looking for something romantic and quiet and this place didn't disappoint. The rooms were beautiful and well-maintained. I loved that the rooms had real Andean art and not that kitschy stuff you see at other Haciendas.
The food was great and the staff was very helpful. One day, my girlfriend and I wanted to play basketball and they couldn't find the pump. An employee got on his bike and rode to his own home and brought one back. Not a big deal, but very nice effort.
I ended up staying at Hacienda Cusin for seven days. Lots to do in the neighboring towns and great hikes all over. Highly recommended.
Skip the Hacienda
I'll take the charm, but why can't the rooms and bathrooms be clean? For the money, mold in the shower, no hot water, and skimpy towels just don't cut it. And the front desk, dining room and maid staff? Unhelpful and rude. All done under the noses of the aloof, on-premises owners...........What are they thinking? A good marketing job that just doesn't deliver what it promises...
Would have liked to stay much longer
We stayed at the Hacienda Cusin in Dec 2006 for 2 nights and spent New Year's Eve there. I wished I had only stayed here rather than Quito. The place is out of this world - the gardens are fabulous and as a gardener I couldn't get enough of looking at the varying species and garden design. I noticed even children admiring the gardens, not a usual sight.
We had 2 adjoining rooms with a large closed in porch area, very private, as well as a walled in garden. More than adequate for our family of 4. The bathrooms were adequately luxurious and each room had a fireplace which they light for you while you are having dinner.
The Food was excellent. There were few choices but all the food was very good and the dining rooms (both in Hacienda and Monestary) were beautiful. We enjoyed the bar which had a roaring fire and great ambiance. There was also a library where you could get tea anytime and a reading room with a TV where you could rent movies. They had an interesting collection of books to peruse as well. The kids loved the secret passage (although the secret has stayed with them) and the playground as well as the wandering llamas. Lots for the kids to do.
There are plenty of things to do there: we enjoyed the market and the condor farm as well as the leather town nearby but there was more that could keep you busy for days.
On New Year's we had a beautiful meal in the Monastery (which is spectacular) and they had fireworks and the burning of the effigies which made it special for us - unfortunately we had to leave early the next morning but they had prepared a takeout breakfast for us. There's no starving in Ecuador!
I consider Hacienda Cusin heaven on earth and will likely go back. It is very reasonable and the owners have done an outstanding job in preserving and making a historic house a welcoming home for tourists.
Incredible experience visiting Hacienda Cusin built in the 1600īs. Great effort has been made at this historic retreat. Do secure a room with a fireplace. The accomodations are comfortable, dining good, and overall ambiance, excellent. The Saturday animal, produce and plaza market are exceptional. Leave your valuables with reception as no safety boxes are available in the rooms. Lots of options during your stay and the horseback riding was exceptionally pleasant with veteran employee, Vincente. Donīt miss this opportunity.
Unique, old-world setting.
We stayed in one of the haciendaīs cottages that was situated in a beautiful garden with a pond outside the door, and a fireplace inside. The fireplace was lit each night by a staff member while we dined. This was most welcoming due to the cool, evening temperatures. The dining room has original tapestries hanging on the walls, a fireplace, candle light and classical music playing in the background. The menu changes daily. Many of the dishes are prepared with vegetables that are grown at the hacienda. Chlorinated water is used for cleaning the produce. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. We had our own vehicle, and drove to the magnificent, Laguna Cuicocha, which is a spectacular volcanic lake, situated approximately 45 minutes away. For those who wish to shop for leather goods, the town of Cotacachi is on route to Laguna Cuicocha. Otavalo, the famous market place, is a short driving distance away from the hacienda.
What a magical place. Fabulous rooms, great food, wonderful staff. You can get lost in the amazing gardens, or wandering through the maze of common rooms, all filled with remarkable antiques and artwork. We stayed three nights and wish we had been there twice as long. So much to do in the area. Guides available to take you into indigenous villages and atop the volcanoes.
What a wonderful lace to stay. Help was extremley accomodating and the rooms were lovely. Very near many interesing towns,markets and natural sights. My son is going this winter after our rave reviews. Went to Equador on our honeymoon and the owner sent a cake and musicians and drinks to our paio when he found out.
Charming Hacienda in Beautiful Countryside
We stayed at the Hacienda Cusin for 2 nights and we took advantage of all of their amenities -- horseback riding, tours of the surrounding communities, nature walks, etc.
We really enjoyed the friendly hospitality of the staff, as well as the charming rooms. We were lucky enough to stay in a cottage, which featured its own private garden.
We would definitely return to Cusin in the future!
We stayed here for 3 nights and loved it. The gardens were beautiful, with different flowers and trees and various places for you to sit, relax and enjoy the views. We were in a large king room with very high ceilings, antique-type furniture and a fireplace - each night whilst we were at dinner, the fire would be lit and it was fantastic to come back to the smell of logs burning and sit reading in from of the fire (it did get a little chilly at night). Communal areas were good including a bar, library and other rooms - if the fire wasn't lit or you wanted a drink, you could just ring for it to be organised.
The food was traditional and 'hearty' including a soup to start with (and they did have a vegetarian option each night), but it did get a little samey after 3 nights.
We took an hours ride on horseback from the hotel - this was an excellent way of seeing the scenery and was fine for people who had never ridden before. Worth also going to Otovalo market on a saturday.