Submitted: 18 Feb 2011
If youre thinking about Ecuador, definitely stay at this place! We spent two weeks over New Years here, using it as our base and could not have been happier! The house is modern, immaculate, and spacious. Christina and Thomas (youll love them), live within the compound, but not in this house, so youre truly getting a residence that is designed exclusively for the traveler. We had five of our kids with us, so we put the house to a good stress test. It survived with flying colors. The kitchen is user-friendly and has an a good supply of utensils, etc. We used the pizza oven numerous times with great success. The jacuzzi was fun in the evenings, and the smell of eucalyptus wood fired up every evening in the living room and bedrooms by Juanita was truly special. On that note, pay the extra nothing and get Juanita to clean every day! The vast garden is a great walk at sunset, and if you have kids, there is a play area with slides and such. Make sure you visit the Presidential hacienda for a horsehide - absolutely a gorgeous place (btw - bring your fishing pole, as the hacienda has a series of fine trout ponds.) As Christina likes to say "this is horse country!". We had all of kids from just shy of 3 to 20 years old up and riding throughout our time there and they absolutely loved it! Dont be timid if you havent ridden - Christina taught all of our kids and my wife very quickly, so that youll be able to go on those gorgeous hacienda rides in no time. For hikers, Thomas is a great guide, very knowledgable and enthusiastic. My wife and oldest daughter conquered the mighty Fuya Fuya at 14,000 feet thanks to him.
A note on safety. We traveled through Ecuador fairly extensively by rental car and NEVER had any issues. Reading the U.S. State Dept summary could easily turn you off to Ecuador. Dont fall for it. Unless you want to drink yourself senseless in a seedy area of Quito, you will be absolutely safe. The Otavalo area, where the villa is located, is particularly quiet. As for driving yourself - it was fine for us, but unless youve traveled a bit, it can be challenging. The extreme ups and downs in the terrain, coupled with two-lane roads, create pretty tough conditions, as the multitude of trucks travel VERY slowly, forcing multiple passing situations. Not for the faint of heart! Signage is always a problem, so expect to ask for directions quite frequently. (I found that my IPAD was absolutely essential in the "maps" mode, and generally accurate).
Recommended for: Age 55+, Pet-friendly, Adventure Seekers, Tourists without a Car, Sightseeing, Families with Young Children, People with Disabilities, Romantic Getaway