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So far John Montgomery has created 237 blog entries.

Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta: The Best in South America?

Hacienda Zuleta is the family estate of the Plaza Lasso family, whose family line includes two revered presidents of Ecuador.

The eight-square-mile working ranch is nestled in a fertile Andean valley, surrounded by pine and eucalyptus groves.

This area was home to the Caranquis civilization from 800 to 1400AD—more than 130 mounds and step pyramids have been found on hacienda’s lands.

Rich History and World-Class-Hospitality

The Jesuits constructed the courtyard and principal buildings in 1691. Since 1898, the Plaza Lasso family has made the hacienda home.

Today, Fernando Polanco Plaza often personally receives guests.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

Hacienda Zueleta produces timber, quinoa, barley, vegetables, herbs, trout, lamb, and fine cheeses.

Their stables house more than 100 horses, including the gentle Zulateno breed—a mix of Andalusian, thoroughbred, and quarter horse.

Row of horses in front of a stable at Hacienda Zuleta, ready for horseback riding tour of the property in Ecuador

Wildlife Watching, Birding, Hiking, and Bike Tours

The hacienda’s hills and forests are home to Andean condors, spectacled bears, pumas, and other endangered wildlife.

These animals are protected here; a condor rehabilitation and breeding program is operated on site. Guests can enjoy riding, hiking, and biking on the hacienda’s trails.

Cultural visits to nearby communities and workshops, waterfall hikes, and visits to crater lakes are also possible.


Hacienda Zuleta Guestrooms

The hacienda house consists of family-style dining room, living room, lounge, fireplaces, kitchens, a presidential library, and 17 guestrooms including:

  • (4) Hacienda Junior Suites —322 square feet, king bed, fireplace, cupboard, two luggage racks. All have private bathrooms with bathtub.
  • (9) Hacienda Deluxe Rooms—215 square feet, king or queen bed, fireplace, cupboard, luggage rack. All have private bathrooms with bathtub.
  • (4) Hacienda Standard Rooms —129 to 161 square feet, queen bed or two twins, fireplace, cupboard, luggage rack. All have private bathrooms with bathtub.

Nearby, you’ll find a chapel, stables, organic garden, and a shop featuring local embroidery.

Lush green hills surrounding Hacienda Zuleta, luxury ranch in Ecuador

Farm-to-Table Dining Family-Style

Food is a highlight at Hacienda Zuleta, with farm-to-table meals served family style.

In-room amenities include fireplaces, hot water bottles, turn-down service, bathtubs, bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer, security box.

Air conditioning is not available (or necessary) here.

Group of guests at Private Ranch Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador on a horseback tour through the mountains

Hacienda Zuleta by the Numbers

Hacienda Zuleta encompasses 8 square miles of countryside. Most of the land is used for mixed use agriculture—only 10% is reserved for tourism.

This is a working ranch. Hacienda Zuleta is home to 300 cows, 3000 sheep, over 100 horses, a trout farm, potatoes, quinoa, barley, wheat, pine, cypress, and a cheese factory (14 kinds).

This hacienda produces 6000 liters of milk every day. They also produce cream, trout, wool, lamb, horses, wood, and earthworms.

Rich South American History

This area was home to the Caranquis (800-1400AD; 1260 approximately), a pre-Inca civilization. There are 130 pre-Columbian mounds/step pyramids on the Hacienda Zuleta land.

The Cañari war with the Incas was fought on this ground in 1534. Hacienda Zulesta’s courtyard dates to the Jesuits Era, 1691.

The ranch has been owned by private families since 1713 (the Plaza family since 1898).


Are you thinking about a stay at Hacienda Zuleta? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

Nomads of the Seas

Atmosphere Motor Yacht

Established in 2006, Nomads of the Seas offers luxury adventure cruises along Chile’s lush Patagonian Coast.

The company’s flagship is Atmosphere, an elegant 150-foot motor yacht with only 14 guest cabins (maximum of 28 passengers).

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”

Rosalía de Castro

Guests are supported by a staff of 32 crew members, including:

  • Expert Fishing and Skiing Guides
  • Helicopter and Jet Boat Pilots
  • A Top-Notch Culinary Team

Voyages include meals, open bar, onboard activities (sauna, lectures, wine tasting, thalassotherapy) and guided adventure outings.

Limitless Active Adventure

Passengers can choose from a wide variety of leisure activities including:

  •  River and Sea Kayaking
  • Whale and Dolphin Watching
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Horseback Riding
  • Jet Boating
  • Aerial Sightseeing
  • Hiking (Including Helicopter Airlifts)

Atmosphere is equipped with two Bell 407 helicopters, zodiacs, drift boats and an assortment of other watercraft. Wine tastings, picnics, and beach barbecues can also be arranged.

Custom Patagonian Yacht Charters

Each day aboard Atmosphere is unique.

Daily tour offerings are defined 12 to 24 hours in advance so that fishing and wildlife expeditions can adapt to climatic conditions and the location of animal populations.

Each voyage is tailored to provide the best scenery and excursion options.

Available Programs

Most programs are eight days and seven nights, with Saturday departure and return.

Wildlife adventure and fly-fishing programs (Chinook salmon, as well as rainbow, brown, brook, steelhead and sea run brown trout) are available throughout the year.

Heli-skiing trips are offered from mid-September through November.

Nomads of the Seas cruises begin and end in Puerto Montt, the primary port of the Chilean Lake District. Direct flights connect Puerto Montt with Santiago daily (one hour and 40 minutes).

Weather on the Patagonian coast is cool and crisp year-round. The warmer, drier months of September to April bring highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.

During the cooler months of June through August, high temperatures average 50º F, lows hover near 40º F, and monthly precipitation rarely exceeds 6.5 inches.

LANDED arranges personalized travel in Chile and throughout South America. We organize yacht charters, helicopter tours, luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

Cayo Espanto

Cayo Espanto: Your Private Island

Cayo Espanto is an island retreat, perfect for you and your closest friends.

Choose from seven separate villas (one or two bedrooms) or reserve the entire island with exclusivity for up to eighteen guests.

“Privacy is not something that I’m merely entitled to, it’s an absolute prerequisite.”

Marlon Brando

Amenities include:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Satellite Television
  • Turkish Bath Robes
  • Yves De Lormes Luxury Linens
  • Hammocks
  • Private Docks and Verandahs

A personal butler will see to your every need, including three daily meals, snacks and beverages tailored precisely to your tastes.

Private Infinity Plunge Pools

Each villa, with the exception of the over-the-water bungalow, includes its own private infinity plunge pool.

Cayo Espanto, located three miles west of Ambergris Caye—is just seventeen minutes by air from the Belize City International Airport.

Charter flights by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft are easily arranged, with regularly scheduled flights available throughout the day.

Crystal Clear Waters and Spectacular Sea Life

Belize’s Caribbean is renowned for its clear waters, sparkling shores and spectacular sea life.

At a moment’s notice, Cayo Espanto guests can enjoy privately guided dive charters, spa services, snorkeling tours, sport fishing trips, golf outings and private picnics on uninhabited islands.

The best time to visit Cayo Espanto is from mid-December to May.

Although March can bring strong eastern winds to the Belizean coast, Cayo Espanto’s privileged location on the west side of Ambergris Caye partially shields it from the wind.

LANDED arranges personalized travel to Cayo Espanto and throughout Belize. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, domestic flights, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

Bahia Bustamante


Bahia Bustamante is a private, 200,000-acre ranch on the scenic Patagonian Coast. Located roughly 155 miles south of Trelew, these wild shores were little known to the outside world before 2005, when European travelers stumbled upon them, marveling at the abundant coastal wildlife.

“Nature is the art of God.”

Dante Alighieri

Today, Bahia Bustamante offers eleven comfortable seafront and steppe cottages. Meals are prepared fresh from the farm’s organic orchard and gardens.

Traditional asado barbecues at the ranch are accompanied by fine Argentine wine.

Large piece of Petrified wood sitting on a sandy beach in Patagonia, Southern Argentina.

Patagonia Austral National Park: Penguin Watching and More

From October to March, an estimated 100,000 Magellanic penguins nest on the coast of Bahia Bustamante and its nearby islands. Another island supports a colony of over 3,000 sea lions, whose ranks swell to more than 4,000 during the breeding season.

From February to April, orcas cruise these waters in search of unwary sea lion pups or flightless steamer ducks. Other islands and coves are home to petrels, terns, flamingoes, cormorants and Orlog gulls. Since December 2009, Bahia Bustamante has been protected as the Patagonia Austral National Park.

Visitors can sail the coast with naturalist guides, or ride horses to natural pools and white-sand beaches. Other Bahia Bustamante day trip destinations include the Aristizabal lighthouse, a sheep shearing station, the seaweed harvesting plant, and a 100-year old shipwreck. Sea kayaks (experience required) and mountain bikes are available for independent explorations.


Las Mercedes

At Las Mercedes ranch, 19 miles from the coast, you can examine the petrified remains of a 65-million-year-old forest. The surrounding desert landscape is rich in fossils and unusual rock formations. Guanacos, rheas, and foxes can be seen crossing the dry hills and dunes.

During the summer months—December to February—temperatures range from 82°F to 53°F. Winter months are much chillier, with highs near 60°F and lows near freezing. Strong winds occur year-round.

Vacations in Bahia Bustamante are easily combined with extensions to the Valdes Peninsula, Bariloche, or El Calafate. Flights from Buenos Aires to Trelew take about two hours.

Are you ready to visit Bahia Bustamante? LANDED delivers the finest in custom travel to Central America, South America, and Antarctica. These regions are our passion; we know them first-hand and by heart. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100. We’ll create the most exceptional trip of your life.

Pousada Picinguaba & Fazenda Catucaba

Pousada Picinguaba: One of Our Favorites

West of Rio de Janeiro, the BR-101 highway divides forested mountains from steep coastal cliffs. This is the Costa Verde—the Green Coast—admired for its tranquil bays, isolated beaches, sparkling islands such as Ilha Grande, and the historic port of Paraty.

Continuing southwest, the coast curls in emerald arcs and secret coves. Inland, green hills and fertile farmland roll toward Sao Paulo.

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

Eleonora Duse

Just 45 minutes south of Paraty, a small hotel overlooks the traditional caiçara fishing village of Picinguaba.

This hotel predates the state park that now surrounds and protects it. Park regulations limit further development and expansion.


The Pousada Picinguaba hotel consists of ten simple rooms, cozy living and dining areas, swimming pool, sauna, and gardens. This is one of our favorite seaside locations in South America.

Luxury in Tranquility

At Picinguaba, luxury is found in tranquility, authenticity, and perfect sunsets.

While guests visit for as few as three nights, four are recommended. Each day brings new pleasures—guests of Picinguaba can enjoy:

  • Visits to Paraty
  • Kayak Explorations
  • Schooner Cruises
  • Waterfall Hikes
  • Heavenly Hammock Naps

Picinguaba’s food is another highlight, prepared with the freshest local ingredients and loving care.

Fazenda Catucaba: Active Adventure

Guests regularly combine vacations at Pousada Picinguaba with rural relaxation and active adventure at its sister property, Fazenda Catucaba.

Set in a 1,100-acre private estate, 90 minutes southwest of Picincuaba and 2.5 hours from Sao Paulo, Fazenda Catucaba continues the tradition of fuss-free Brazilian elegance.


Here, three charming farmhouses have been converted into eight rooms and two suites.

Brazilian Holiday Adventure

Each offers views of the surrounding mountains, forested hills, and pasturelands. The main house dates to the 1850’s, serving unforgettable meals to fortuitous guests.

Guests can enjoy riding, hiking, canoeing, rafting, and exploring the onsite organic vegetable garden and coffee plantation.

As at Picinguaba, outside distractions don’t disturb the peace at Catucaba—television and internet are mercifully unavailable.

LANDED arranges personalized travel in Brazil and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.