Hacienda Cusin, 1602 a.d.; over 400 years of welcome in the Ecuadorian sierra…………………………

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‘I came here
to write a fairy tale
so imagine my surprise when
I found myself in such a story
complete with stone towers,
iridescent hummingbirds,
clerical vestments
and guinea-pig sandwiches.

Who knew that
running a hotel
was a high art?

Barbara Ensor, author.

Hacienda Cusin was purchased at an auction from Philip III, King of Spain by the prominent Luna family in 1602. The purchased estate, an abraje or sheep farm, comprised of two valleys of Gualaví and La Rinconada, and all the land between the valleys and the lake, approximately 100,000 acres/50,000 hectares, held until Land Reforms in 1945 and 1964. Hacienda Cusin was named for the mountain at the head of the valley of La Rinconada.

The mountain’s name is uncertain, although three possibilities are likely. First, that Cusin was the name of an indigenous chief who fought against the Incas in the early 16th century, just before the Spaniards’ arrival. Secondly, a type of white beetle, a cuzo, cut-zo, (Quechua), a delicacy, that appears briefly in November.

Cusin’s coat of arms, found on dishware and stationary, is a cuso’s carapace. Thirdly, a family named Cusin, established in 1524, www.cusin.org, from Brazil and Alsace Lorriane, recently joined Hacienda Cusin’s Facebook page, suggesting that a Cusin married into the Hacienda Cusin family …..  

Hacienda Cusin’s history time line

1602 – Luna family of Spain purchases 100,000 acres which is to become Cusin.
1603 – Cervantes writes Don Quixote.
1735 – 43 – Charles Marie de La Condamine explores the equatorial line.
1802 – Alexander Von Humboldt explores Ecuador, writes Voyage of the Cosmos.
1832 – Charles Darwin visits the Galapagos Islands.
1853 – 55 – Frederic Church* rides horseback sketching the Ecuadorian Sierra.
1857 – Church returns to Ecuador (see pictures in the library).
1941 – Peru invades Ecuador
1942 – The Rio Protocol signed declaring peace between Ecuador and Peru.
1945 & ‘64 – National reforms enacted; 90% of Cusin’s property redistributed.
1966 – Cusin owner Eugene Metz converts grain storehouses into main house.
1970 – Hosteria Cusin sold to the Creighton family; Pan American Highway built.
1990 – Cusin, an ambient ruin, purchased for the third time.
1991 – Stables converted into Garden Cottages #22, 23, 24.
1993 – Suite #18, garden cottages #10 and 25 (Frederic’s Church) constructed.
1995 – El Monasterio constructed (18 guests rooms and conference center).
1998 – Stables and Reception constructed.
1998  First of 12 private homes built.
1998 – Ecuador and Peru sign peace accord ending boarder dispute.
2001 November – Constitución de Ecuador signed at Cusin.
2001 December – Las Palmeras Inn, Cusin’s sister hotel opens.
2002 – Main House transformed by the construction of front and side patios.
2003 – construction of El Monasterio’s water garden completes 13 year restoration.

*Frederic Church, preeminent 19th century U.S. artist and member of Hudson River School, is inspired to visit Ecuador after reading Von Humboldt’s Voyage of the Cosmos. His paintings reflect the divinity of nature; prints can be seen in the Sala de Lectura.

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