This 217-year-old hacienda is an ideal base for visits to the legendary Otavalo market and to craft villages specializing in wood carving, weaving, and leatherwork. Adventurers can ride horses at the hacienda or hike to a nearby crater lake. Every evening, cheese empanadas and canelazo (a hot drink brewed from cinnamon and bitter oranges) are served in the cellar bar, accompanied by the melodies of an Andean panpipe band. Save space for dinner at one of the hacienda's two restaurants, which serve top-notch renditions of local dishes. Two of the best are carne colorado (beef colored red with peppery annatto) and fritada (fried pork) served with locro and avocado. The antiques-filled suites with four-poster beds are havens for weary travelers. Transportation to and from Quito's airport, 53 miles south of the hacienda, can be arranged for an additional $50.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.