My wish was to spend one night near Cotopaxi, my first stop on the way down from Quito to Cuenca.
I investigated several Haciendas on line, and El Porvenir looked so unique, I had to try it. I contacted them through the web site, and I was given instructions as to how to get there.
The Machai rooms are very reasonable at $20. The horseback riding was also $20 for four hours.
The Hacienda is an old working hacienda with 11,000 acres of grounds, next to the National Park Cotopaxi. I chose a Habitacion Machai room, which looked so intriguing on line: a tiny windowless room under the thatched roof. And it was just that: tiny, windowless, under the thatch, with a loose curtain for a door, and, most conspicuously, only a vertical bamboo mat between you and the person "next door."
If the Hacienda had been less than full, it might have been comfortable. But it was very busy that night, and it felt basically like camping with strangers. With the elevation and the allergens (the thatch, the thick blankets against the cold, and a lot of wood smoke), I just could not sleep. And I didn't dare turn on my light and wake everyone up. The lack of privacy was a bit much, and I only brushed my teeth that day.
As can be the case in places that cater to independent travelers and to groups, I felt a bit lost in the shuffle when it came to activities. Hacienda El Porvenir was unique, and interesting, but I'm glad I spent only one night there.
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