Vienna Bruce shares the magic of her stay at a heritage property in rural Ecuador

Hacienda La Danesa is a historic family-owned and operated working hacienda, which sits within 1200 acres of fields, forests and rivers some 60-minutes from Guayaquil, in the heart of Ecuador. Established in 1870 as a cacao farm, the charming farmhouse has been in the Olsen family for more than 50 years, a true slice of paradise now shared with guests who can appreciate its magic.

With only six rooms, you’ll are guaranteed exclusivity and the chance experience a level of personalised service achieved in very few places around the world. Each room is unique and inspired by the original stables, with signature furnishings created from the hacienda’s plantation and local artwork in traditional Ecuadorian style. These carefully crafted accommodations are dotted around the property, affording a luxury retreat-style atmosphere combined with farming traditions for an authentic insight into life in this region.

Food is a highlight at Hacienda La Danesa; almost all the dishes served are sourced from farm to table, and the hacienda prides itself on using only local, fresh and natural ingredients. Expect an organic gastronomic experience with an Ecuadorian flair – think fresh cheese, vegetables and fruit, elevated into meals of the highest standard.

An oasis for the eco-conscious, sustainability driven traveller, a whopping 98% of the staff live behind the farm and the hacienda forms their community and La Danesa is committed to improving the standard of living through tourism and creating jobs for locals. Be sure to pop in to ‘La Tienda’ the onsite shop and taste the jams, dulce de leche and handmade chocolate bars, all developed on the farm and lovingly made by in the neighbourhood.

Unique experiences abound here, from cacao plantation tours, wet tubing in lazy rivers and horse riding to cooking classes, cow-milking, bike rides and even beekeeping! If you are looking to relax, a certified yoga instructor is available, alongside in-room massage therapists should you need to unwind after a day of activities.

Located just more than an hour away from Guayaquil in Ecuador’s green coastal region, near to the Andean foothills between Naranjito and Bucay, Hacienda La Danesa is the perfect addition to an adventure further afield. What is more, if you’re not ready to go home – or need some downtime before the long flight – the farm is an easy transfer from Guayaquil airport, making this luxurious hidden treasure the perfect way to bookend a week of exploration in the Galápagos.

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Georgina Leith
Aisha Gross
Terry Moohan

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