San Agustin de Callo

San Agustin de Callo

San Agustín de Callo, an Inca Hacienda at the foot of Cotopaxi in the Andes.

One and a quarter hours South from Quito stands the beautiful and little known farmhouse of San Agustin de Callo. Built on the site of an important Inca Palace this working farm offers todays discerning traveler an unrivaled glimpse into Ecuador´s rich and colorful past.

Located at the foothills of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world (5897 mts), it name means "neck of the moon" in Quechua the indigenous language of the Andes. The breathtaking view of the full moon appearing above the snow clad cone is unforgettable.

We invite you to be a guest at Hacienda San Agustin de Callo and enjoy the local Inca ruins. The farmhouse was built by Augustin monks today it offers visitors Boutique hotel accommodations. The Hacienda is the family home of the Plaza family...and as such its individually styled rooms have been designed to reflect this atmosphere and that of the building's historical importance. The main house, refered to as the Inca House, with its Spanish courtyard built around Inca rooms, has a warm and romantic atmosphere with magnificent views of the surrounding hills and volcanoes...

In 1921 the Hacienda was purchased by General Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez, leader of the Liberal Revolution. Plaza went on to become President of Ecuador in 1901 and -again in 1912, a position which was to be held by his son Galo Plaza in 1948. The Hacienda remains in the family to this day and is currently owned by the General's granddaughter Mignon Plaza, whose father, the distinguished congressman and legendary amateur bullfighter José Maria Plaza, continued to play a pivotal role in politics.

The importance of the Hacienda as an archaeological site has been written about by the Spanish chronicler, Cieza de Leon (1553) and is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador. This temple or palace was built around 1440 a.d. by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna Cápac, and to this day the remaining rooms prevail as a magnificent sample of the unique style of Inca construction. The site is currently being investigated by Dr. David Brown of the University of Texas, the funding of which was provided by the National Geographic Society. Previously unknown portions of Inca walls and foundations have been discovered throughout the restoration process of the house.


Activities at the hacienda are carried through in the surroundings nestled in the foothills of Cotopaxi, the perfect setting for those wishing to enjoy this unique countryside by horse, mountain bike or foot.

  • Trekking: The high paramo with its unique abundance of flora, fauna is within easy reach of the Hacienda as is the Cotopaxi national park whose spectacular habitat is home to the elusive condors, wild horses and Andean wolves.
  • Horse riding: Trails range from a few hours in length, taking you through typical high Andean villages such as Ticatilin with its whitewashed Colonial church, to longer day trips following little used Inca trails.
  • Mountain Biking: The Hacienda is ideally situated for off road riding in and around Cotopaxi National Park or the mountain range above the Saquisili market place. For those who wish to enjoy a spectacular down hill ride, four wheel drive transport takes you to the 'Refugio', located just below Cotopaxi's snow line at 4800 mts. Riders can then make the exciting descent to the park entrance where transport will be waiting to take you back to the hacienda and to a well-earned dinner.
  • Indigenous markets: Several Indian Markets are within a twenty minute drive from the hacienda and include those of Pujilí and Saquisilí, one of the most authentic markets in Ecuador, with their colorful displays of produce, spices, fruits and hand woven ponchos.
  • Weddings: Few places can offer a more unusual and spectacular setting for a wedding than the Inca Chapel with its 17th century ceiling and perfectly carved Incan volcanic stone walls - a monument to a craftsmanship long since forgotten. The chapel sits up to 18 people. 
  • Indigenous festivities: The Hacienda has long since been the focal point for local celebrations and traditional festivals such as the 'Inti Raimi' (the equivalent to a harvest festival) with its colorful dance costumes, pagan gods and Andean flutes and drums. To keep alive the traditions of the past, the current owner Mignon Plaza promotes this time-honored festival, which is unique to the high Sierra. When requested the Hacienda plays host to Indian Festivals, which are held throughout the year.


The Hacienda is a very comfortable place to stay, with distinct and charming atmosphere.  It has been described as being like staying in the home of a friend. 


There are only a few rooms at the Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, although they are certainly large and “homey” – artwork, knick knacks, books, CD player (complete with a variety of CD’s, including Andean music), and so on. 

The rooms come with en suite bathrooms and fireplaces in the bedrooms and most bathroomsBeds are on the generous side, are very firm and extremely comfortable. We use down blankets on the beds, which are heavenly.. The beautiful wall paintings are made by Chilean artist, Manuel Araya. There are several flower arrangements in each room.

The rooms and suites are particularly elegant, and boast names like “Inca Tambo Suite” and “French Room.” Some of the rooms even feature original Inca stonework walls. Each room has a fireplace, and the staff comes around 5pm to start a fire. By each room, we mean each room. You can have a fire going in your bedroom, bathroom, living room, and living area (suites have several rooms), it is really toasty!

Each of the unique rooms comes with an equally unique bathroom. There is the fireplace, of course, as well as two sinks, a toilet, and a tub with a showerhead. You are provided with soap, bath salts, shampoo/conditioner packets, towels, etc., as well as robes.

The rooms have a mini-bar (using the honor system, you note what you take). Your room always has fresh water (purified) in pitchers. We also ad little tiny fresh sliced limes available for your drinks. 

The main house, called the Inca House, has 3 suites and 3 double rooms:

  • Mulalo Suite: Bedroom with Queen size bed; drawing room with sofa bed; stereo and direct TV; three fireplaces including one in the bathroom with antique claw foot tub
  • Inca Tambo Suite: Bedroom with Queen size bed and adjoining room with sofa or two single beds; direct TV; fireplaces in bedroom and bathroom; part of one wall is an Inca wall
  • Granary Suite: Bedroom with Queen size bed and adjoining room with sofa bed; direct TV; fireplaces in bedroom and bathroom.
  • Geodesic Room: Queen bed; fireplace in bedroom and bathroom.
  • The French Room: Queen bed; fireplace in bedroom and bathroom.
  • The "Gorditas" (Round Ladies) Room: Queen bed; fireplace warms bathtub area

The "Callo Lodge" is set outside the main house area, and is a one minute stroll away. It has a cozy living room with fireplace and a kitchenette. There are 3 bedrooms, described below:

  • Cotopaxi Suite: King size bed; large seating area; magnificent view of Cotopaxi; fireplace. 
  • VonHumboldt room: Queen size bed; fireplace.
  • Chimborazo Room: Queen size bed; fireplace; views of Tungurahua and Chimborazo volcanoes.

Several more rooms will be available once construction is complete - held up because of the discovery of more Inca walls and the efforts to preserve and incorporate them into the construction.


  • There is a lovely living room with fireplace, ample over-stuffed sofas and chairs and a good selection of CD music.
  • A cozy "honor bar" with basic liquors and mixers. 
  • The main courtyard is composed of three distinct styles: Inca (15th century), Colonial (16th century) and Republican (19th century). It has welcomed many famous visitors through the years including the father of modern geography Alexander van Humboldt and the illustrious English mountain climber Edward Whymper.
  • The Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the room prices. Note: the hacienda is not liable in any way for consequences, medical or otherwise for consumption of English breakfasts at high altitude!!!
  • The Hacienda's Inca dining room with its view of Cotopaxi, provides guests with the perfect setting to savour the excellent cuisine.
  • The Inca chapel: One of the main sights are the original Incan walls, which were made so precisely that no mortar was required. The volcanic rocks were carved beautifully and smoothly, they fit together perfectly.    
  • In the “backyard” of the Hacienda, there is a fountain, sitting areas with benches, gardens, pastures with llamas, a little pond with ducks, and other animals. They are all really photogenic and added to the allure and atmosphere of the Hacienda.



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