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Hacienda Cusin or San Augustinor or Cuenca

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Jun 24th, 2008, 07:18 AM
  #1
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Hacienda Cusin or San Augustinor or Cuenca

Hi,
We're planning a trip to the Galapagos and the mainland...and I'm torn between the Otovalo area staying at Hacienda Cusin (altho we won't be there for the Sat market) or seeing Cotopaxi and staying at Hacienda San Augustin or visiting Cuenca....I'm leaning toward Cuenca and one of the haciendas..two nights at each place and also two nights in Quito....4 night cruise on Coral II. Does anyone feel that one area would be more scenic, interesting than the other? Thanks for the info!
barefootbeach is offline  
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Jun 25th, 2008, 06:02 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Hi

My vote goes to Cotopaxi area, then Cuenca and then Otavalo. Of course this is just a personal preference.

I really like the Cotopaxi area. Cotopaxi itself is magnificent - a classic symmetrical snow-capped mountain (the world's tallest active volcano). I have gone horseback riding in this area a number of times and everytime, when the clouds clear and I see Cotopaxi in the sunlight, it takes my breathe away.

I have never been to the Hacienda San Agustin, but it is on my list of places I would like to stay. In that same area I have ridden out of the Hacienda Porvenir (also had a wonderful lunch there) and have had lunch at the Hacienda La Cienega (also excellent)

Weather is an issue in this area - the top of the volcano is often covered in clouds - it is usually clearer in the morning, but my some of my most memorable views were in the afternoon.

Cotopaxi is in a national park. You can drive up to the parking lot and hike up to the Refugio. This is where the climbers wait prior to attempting the summit (they leave the Refugio generally around midnight) It is also possible to mountain bike down the volcano - one very long ride without the need to peddle.

The countryside in this area is beautiful, very scenic.

Cotapaxi is south of Quito, further south is the Chimborazo (Ecuador's highest peak - an old volcano). It too is magnificent in the sunlight - not symmetrical like Cotapaxi, but with a very impressive snow cap.

Also south of Quito is the Saquisilli market every Thursday. It is not as touristy as Otavalo (but there would still be shopping opportunities) but it is a true working marketplace.

Cuenca is a nice historic colonial city. We went to see how Panama hats were made, went to a marvelous orchid greenhouse which was a multitude of green houses with an amazing collection of orchids.

In nearby Gualaceo, we went to the workshops of some ikat weavers. We also went to nearby Chordeleg, noted for it's jewelry but I was not that impressed.

Also nearby is the Cajas National Park. When we were there it was cold, cloudy, misty, windy (generally foul) but it was beautiful - it is one place to which I definitely want to return hopefully on a day that we can walk some of the trails.

Well this is all for now. If you search under my name, you will come up with other postings about mainland Ecuador.

Pamela
eveningcrane is offline  
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Jun 27th, 2008, 08:51 AM
  #3
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Thanks Pamela,
Cotopaxi sounds wonderful...we'll be sure to go there. I'm now debating on eliminating Cuenca to simplify the flights. Thanks for the helpful information.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 12:15 PM
  #4
 
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Several people mentioned Hans Moser as a driver. Does anyone know how to contact him directly? I am looking for a driver to go from Quito to Hacienda Zuleta and from there to the Mindo cloud forest. I want to avoid a stayover in Quito as I'll be there the latter part of my trip. thanks!
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Aug 5th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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www.haciendapinsaqui.com best in Otovalo Bolivar Stayed

there locally owned amazing great price for me with

www.guanguiltagua.com from $90/nt Cusin will be lots more

foreign expat owned... Market Days every day in Otovalo

[email protected] was an great driver/guide for me

spoke PERFECT english and knew

all the biology and ecology which

was most impressive for me... Cuenca too far consider instead

www.nuhousehotels.com Cotopaxi from there with Dennis and/or

www.bellavistacoudforest.com Richard Parson's place best

birder in Ecuador/Galapagos take a tour with David Pinto

there hundreds of species of hummingbirds less than 1 hour

from Quito.

When there in fall lodging were around $90 driver/guide

from $50/half day...

Just a heads up the Coral is a basic ship u can do lots better

might shop around if u are not locked in yet

Happy Travels!
qwovadis is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2011, 08:17 PM
  #6
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dianejgs,
We used Hans Moser as our guide, but I contacted Hacienda Cusin directly to book him. I'm sure Zuleta would know how to contact him. If not, contact Cusin and ask them how to contact him. If you want to read details about our experience with him, refer to my earlier trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...mainland.cfm?6

Good travels!
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Aug 15th, 2011, 12:36 PM
  #7
 
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Thanks for the info!! Helpful!
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