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A Stay at Hacienda San Francisco

August 23, 2013 Travel to Ecuador No Comments

No visit to Ecuador is complete without an overnight stay at one of the many fabulous converted haciendas.

San Francisco Hacienda Room

San Francisco Hacienda Room

Haciendas are large, elegant homes, some of which are centuries old. Years ago, haciendas were country homes for the nation’s elite, and many of them have been converted into first-class lodgings.

San Francisco is one such hacienda, and it’s located in the northern province of Imbabura. The hacienda has been in the Freile family since 1640: the title was given to them directly from the King of Spain! Its owners also own and manage Hacienda Pinsaqui, just outside of Otavalo, and although Pinsaqui is larger and more well-known, San Francisco has a special charm all its own.

Upon arrival at San Francisco, the first thing that strikes you is the way that the hacienda is one with nature. There is a pathway with a trellis, grown over with vines. Several ancient trees surround a pool in the main garden. San Francisco is out of the way, so no road noise intrudes upon the chirping birds and the song of the wind through the trees. The main building is quite old, so the walls are quite thick, and the rooms are classy, tasteful and comfortable.

San Francisco is a small operation, run and staffed by a handful of people who enjoy their work. When I stayed there, while I was wandering around the grounds, they came and asked out party what we wanted for dinner two hours later: they wanted to start preparing it so it would be ready (we were the only ones staying there). This sort of thoughtfulness is often missing from larger places. (Dinner – avocado soup, roast turkey with steamed vegetables and chocolate cake – was quite good, by the way).

San Francisco Hacienda Swimming Pool

Hacienda’s Swimming Pool

After dinner, a dip in the pool turned out to be a real treat. The medium-sized pool is heated by a naturally occurring hot spring and splashing around in the warm waters was delightful.

Ecuador north of Otavalo, once a part of the country that no one ever visited, is these days considered a tourism hot spot. The Liberty Train runs from Ibarra to Salinas, a short drive from San Francisco. The Chota valley produces unique afro-Ecuadorian handicrafts. The colonial village of Pablo Arenas is nearby, and the world-famous Otavalo market is but an hour away, thanks to recent improvements in the northern highways.

Want to check out Hacienda San Francisco? Book your stay through Columbus Travel today for your overnight tour of Ecuador’s north!

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