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The Galapagos Explorer II is a luxury vessel that offers great comfort while exploring the Islands and its wildlife; ideal for families, small and large groups and available for charters.

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Hacienda Cusin

Hacienda Cusin is an exquisitely restored 17th century Andean estate high in the mountains at the foot of the Cotacachi volcano about 50 miles north of Quito. Less than 10 miles from the Andean market of Otavalo and about 45 minutes from the Equatorial Line it is a pristine spot for great food, hiking and quiet reflection. This 43-room Ecuador hotel is located in the most beautiful area of the country and it is ready to offer you great comfort.

Owner Nicholas Millhouse who came from England and fell in love with Ecuador during a visit more than 30 years ago. He bought Cusin in 1990 and immediately began conserving and restoring its salas, salones, guestrooms and landscape. Many rooms are furnished with antiques.

To separate conference dynamics from the tranquility of house-guests an original looking monastery with excellent conference facilities was built nearby. His focus is on service, comfort and ambience.

Cusin's terracotta-tiles, winding cobblestone path-ways, fountain courtyards, towers and perennial gardens nestle beneath a deep blue sky in a wide lake-valley. Nearby, the often snow-capped 15,000-foot Imbabura mountain and Cotacachi volcano are reflected in Lago San Pablo.

Ancient lakebed soil, cool nights and a predictable equatorial sun have conspired with avid gardeners to create ever-blooming perennial gardens that include belladonna, bougainvillea, agapantha, acanthus, foxgloves, orchids, palms, flora, which attract over 50 species of birds.

Hacienda Cusin exudes typical Andean service you find throughout Ecuador. The staff, whom all speak English, are friendly and customer oriented. Their specialty seems to be providing no-hassle help - be it additional food portions, help in ordering wine, or a ball to use on the excellent squash, basketball or volleyball courts. Wi-Fi compliments an internet café and tea is served all day in the library.

But Hacienda Cusin is not all about the hacienda. The surrounding mountains offer great horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and birdwatching .

Within a few miles from Hacienda Cusin there is a condor preserve, 1,200-year-old pyramids, artisan villages and historic, rooftop railroad ride into the Chota desert.

And shopping. Less than 20 minutes away is Otavalo, the world-famous artisan market known for its handicrafts, carpets, jewelry and paintings. The leather-craft village of Cotacachi and wood-carving village of San Antonio de Ibarra are close by.

The Hacienda is perfect for a wedding and features great facilities for incentive travel and conferences.

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