“Awesome family vacation!” Ecuador is a great family destination and our stay at San Juan de la Vega was fantastic! We were two families (4 adults 5 kids) and had ample space in the house. We made great use of the well stocked kitchen, and made awesome meals with the fresh vegetables from the garden and Otavalo Market! The grounds were an amazing place for the kids and the adults, we had a lot of fun walking in the stream up to the waterfalls. The kids enjoyed their first horseback rides and discovered the beauty of a fresh garden. Janine was a pleasure to deal with when planning our trip and meeting her and her husband was extremely pleasant. Their staff is first rate. Veronica and Darwin made sure we lacked for nothing by keeping the house and grounds impeccably clean, arranging horseback rides, hike on Imbabura (we saw condors!) and even babysitting. Be sure to enjoy a meal cooked by Veronica, she is an excellent cook. Janine set us up with a driver for the week (Wilmer) who was friendly and reliable. As an added bonus, he is a natural guide and would even help keep an eye on our kids at the market. Ask him to take you to eat cuy! The only warning I could mention is to not expect too much comprehension of English. That being said, none of us spoke spanish, but we still got by very well with the basic spanish we learned in preparation for this vacation due the kind and patient nature of the ecuadorian people. Lastly, we were impressed to by the speed of the Wifi, it was as fast our Wifi in Montreal (very useful for google translate!) We have rented many great vacation homes, but San Juan de la Vega really stands in a class of its own because it is a destination in itself!
“Owners make this a perfect vacation” We stayed at Maria and Ken’s quinta near La Merced, and it was wonderful. The house was gorgeous, filled with touches from their travels, and had all of the amenities we needed. We were only 30 minutes from Quito with a shopping mall just 20 minutes away, so although you were in the countryside, it was close to city life too. The gardens were beautiful for taking walks, especially when we saw hummingbirds in the yard, and when we picked lemons and made homemade lemonade right from the yard. The jacuzzi was a beautiful place to sit at night surrounded by flowers and bright stars. Luis, the caretaker on site has a wonderful family and is helpful when needed.
Ken took us on 3 day tours and he was an excellent guide, not only due to his knowledge of the land, but also because he tailored the trips to our family, including a 6-year old. We toured Quito, saw antisana, and visited Mindo, all very different climates and trips. He added personal touches such as bringing homemade hot chocolate, and he gave us many additional tips for our visit. On the last day, ken made us a reservation at a wonderful restaurant in El Tingo, and it could not have been more delicious.
The quinta, La Solana, is truly a place of beauty, and Maria and Ken are wonderfully helpful owners. It all made the trip perfect.