Situated on a lushly landscaped 5-acre estate teeming with birdlife, this restored colonial hacienda in the heart of Ecuador's Sierra graciously welcomes guests amid the country's most dramatic scenery.
In the heart of Ecuador's Sierra at 8,500 feet, Hacienda Cusin welcomes guests seeking a gracious experience of a historic era, amid some of the country's most dramatic Andean scenery. Situated on a lushly landscaped 5-acre estate, the restored colonial hacienda is just over an hour's drive from Quito's new international airport and a short distance from the market town of Otavalo. Built in 1602, Hacienda Cusin was purchased at auction from Philip III, King of Spain, by the prominent Luna family. The estate, which was a sheep farm at the time, comprised 100,000 acres until it was divided during land reforms in the mid-20th century.
Today the hacienda offers 25 guest rooms in a variety of settings, from garden cottages to suites and salons in the main house. All have mountain or garden views. Most have log-burning fireplaces and beamed ceilings, and each is individually furnished with antiques and regional Andean arts and crafts. All rooms have armchairs, writing desks and en suite bathrooms. The hacienda's dining room features fine international and Ecuadorian cuisine, while drinks are offered at the adjacent coffee bar in front of a roaring fire.
As warm and inviting as the interiors are, the grounds are an even bigger draw. Perennial gardens, ponds, tropical plants, several hundred stately trees and more than 60 different kinds of flowers beckon guests onto the cobblestone paths that wind among the verdant grounds. A multitude of birds including peacocks, and even llamas on occasion, are found in the gardens. Guided horseback rides from the hacienda stables, mountain biking and nearby hiking are among the available options for guests who choose to arrive early.
Built exclusively for Galapagos exploration, the classic Letty accommodates just 20 guests, offering the intimacy of small-group nature discovery via a private chartered yacht.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The optimal way to travel the Galapagos is aboard our first-class, 20-passenger private chartered expedition yacht designed and built exclusively for Galapagos exploration. The M/Y Letty, built in 1990, is 83 feet long with a 24-foot beam. The small ship has just 10 cabins, ensuring the intimacy of small-group discovery—a Natural Habitat Adventures trademark. As we explore the islands, we have the added advantage of venturing out in even smaller groups: our team of two NHA Galapagos-certified naturalist guides leads sub-groups of no more than 10 travelers as we snorkel and explore island trails. In our estimation, this is the only way to truly immerse yourself in the Galapagos and observe wildlife at close range.
The interior of our ship is furnished in polished teak wood. Picture windows surround the top two decks, offering panoramic views of sea, sky and islands. Enjoy ocean breezes from the topside sun deck lounge chairs, strategically positioned for observation. Snorkeling equipment, wet suits, sea kayaks (two double and one single) and beach towels are provided at no additional charge. Accommodations are located on three decks, each cabin featuring a large private bathroom and hot-and-cold freshwater showers. Cabins have either two twin lower beds or one double bed, a roomy closet, drawers, overhead storage, separate climate controls, intercom system, bottled water, hair dryer, toiletries and fresh towels. The Letty is also one of the few ships in the islands that can accommodate triples for families who wish to stay together.
Exclusively for our Galapagos guests! Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, our deluxe forest camp features elevated safari-style tents and treehouses set amid native habitat for wild tortoises.
Natural Habitat's Tortoise Camp
Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands
In our constant quest to offer exclusive immersions in nature, we are pleased to include a unique one-night deluxe camping excursion on all scheduled Galapagos adventures. Ascending from the sea into the highlands of Santa Cruz, we reach Natural Habitat's exclusive Tortoise Camp, perched high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here amid lush mountains, scalesia forest and volcanic caves—native habitat for wild tortoises—guests enjoy an intimate encounter with nature found nowhere else in the Galapagos. The environs around our campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen at the campsite from June through February. During the months of March through June, the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes stay at the campsite.
All gear is provided, including two-person permanent platform tents or tree houses, real beds, bedding, pillows and towels. The four treehouses have en suite flush toilets as well as a small sink. The six platform tents have en suite showers, flush toilets and a small sink. There are showers available for those staying in treehouses in a shared bathhouse located a short distance away (about 100 yards). Our chef will prepare dinner and breakfast for you at the campsite, and a bus will pick you up in the morning to rejoin the group. If you choose to participate in the camping option, you will not miss any of the activities on your daily itinerary.
Please Note: While there are beds and toilets in all accommodations, there is an element of "roughing it." Some challenges may include uneven terrain and critters (particularly the wonderful variety of insects and arachnids that inhabit the island). Also, should it be rainy, the experience can become even more challenging. Our guests have the choice to participate in this evening in the highlands or to stay on our ship. Camping on Santa Cruz is most certainly an amazing opportunity, though only you can determine if it is an opportunity you will truly enjoy. The camping option is weather permitting.