‘I came here
to write a fairy tale
so imagine my surprise when
I found myself in such a story
complete with stone towers,
and guinea-pig sandwiches.
Who knew that
running a hotel
was a high art?
Barbara Ensor, author.
Maps are available in Reception upon request. English–speaking Guides are available for walks & tours. Taxis : from $7 p.hr. Local buses, from a stop near Cusin, or from San Pablo’s main plaza, are frequent and inexpensive.
Cusin’s suggested 7 day itinerary
A Self-Guided Tour (90 mins.), history, area maps are at Reception Guides are available for walks, rides & tours. Taxis: from $7 p.hr.
Explore the art & antiques in Salon Bolivar, bar, dining room & upstairs corridor; several acres of gardens, library & reading-room, squash court, games room, Casa Cusin craft store. El Monasterio de Cusin, towers (find the secret door), parapet views, salón Cotacachi, dining room murals, stables: guinea-pigs, guineahens, odd-looking hens, turkeys, rabbits, geese, etc. Try one of many walks: Rinconada, left from Cusin’s main gate, follow the road.
At 5 p.m., tea on the main garden patio in the sunset’s often unusual glow, or a fireside cocktail. After a candlelight dinner by logfire, see the night sky or a video film with popcorn and logfire. Bienvenidos!
Chess, checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly, darts, ping-pong, pool, squash, volley-ball. In-room massage. Spanish language classes (students receive a 20% room discount)
Visit Otavalo’s domestic market & tourist market Poncho Plaza, Monday-Friday, largest & busiest on Saturday, 8a.m.-4p.m. & animal market, 7-8 a.m.
Visit Condor reserve, Espejo, 15 minutes from Cusin, on the way to or from the Otavalo markets. Antique stores: Casa Cusin, Otavalo & San Antonio de Ibarra. Check opening days with Reception. Wear sun-protection
Markets: Robbery is uncommon HOWEVER do not wear jewels, watches and leave your wallets in backpocket, leave passport (take a copy) & airline tickets at Reception. Wear backpacks on front. Lunch, Las Palmeras Inn, Casa Mojanda, Posada del Quinde are recommended. 14
Gualavi valley, by horse and guide, mountain-bike or foot: from Cusin’s front gate, right. After El Monasterio, right (walker: follow the usually dry Quebrada to a cement bridge*, climb out & go right) at fork, go either right, onto the higher road to the valley rim walk or take the middle road to the valley floor, Picnic or Lunch at Sacha Ji.
There are lanes and short cuts to return on. OR , *continue in the Quebrada, toward Imbabura mountain. Later, climb onto the road, go left & return to Cusin via San Pablo . Request an in-room massage. OR , the 15,000′ Imbabura climb, 8 hrs: with guide, Picnic . Wear sun-protection and sweaters for the summit
Request a taxi (& picnic) to Cuicocha crater lake, with prolific flora and panoramic views. Inside the park entrance, park right. A sometimes difficult, 5+ hour walk – it can be cold – a guide is important. A lake ( cocha ), boat trip to an island resembling a guineapig ( cui ). Return via Cotacachi’s leather stores.
Lunch: La Mirage ($$$) or 18th cent. Hacienda Pinsaqui ($$).
From Cusin, beyond the rose plantation, is the mountain range of Mojanda and, to the right, is the ancient volcanic plug, Fuyafuya . 9 a.m. warm clothes & picnic to Mojanda’s lakes (taxi, 30 mins.). Then, a stiff uphill climb to Fuyafuya for spectacular views.
Lunch: Casa Mojanda. Las Palmeras Inn. Hacienda Pinsaqui. OR 6:15 a.m , depart for Ibarra for an adventurous Andean train journey. Request a picnic OR 2 hrs. north to the spectacular paramo of El Angel.
OR…visit the fine, partially excavated IXth century earth pyramids of Cochasqui, (40 mins one-way). Museum, medicinal gardens & guineapig house. Spectacular views on a clear day. Spanish speaking guide. And don’t forget an in-room massage. 15
Lunch: Haciendas La Compañía $$ & rose plantation tour, or La Molino$$, Cayambe – both open on Sundays
A spectacular walk to Zuleta valley (5.5 hrs). Picnic within sight of snowcapped Cayambe. Hacienda Zuleta does not welcome non-guests on its property.
Arrange return transportation with Cusin’s Reception. Caraqui, near Ibarra, has an Inca bathing house (ruins) and on Sundays, pan de leche Or, horseback, halfway & return (3hrs) for a Cusin lunch Or, walk Cubilche, via Imbabura’s saddle. Picnic. Return to Cusin (6 hrs.). Or , on a clear day, by taxi for San. Marco lake, near snowcapped Cayambe. Picnic . (+5 hrs.). Request an in-room massage.
Walk to Mt Lechero (90 mins.): turn right after Cusin’s main gate. Continue across a main road and into San Pablo’s main plaza. Walk to the far right corner and on for half a mile, turn right before a modern church & left, right and up steep gravel road, then on to the top of the hill for a magnificent lake & area view. Take a taxi to Agato (Tiahuantinsuyo) famous Manuel Anrango’s weaving workshop). $ Cabañas del Lago.