Bullfighting in San Agustin — Ecuador Hacienda
Is after several glasses of wine in the Inca Room at Hacienda San Agustin that the conversation drifted towards bull fighting. First Amber shared her fantasy of Ossy dressed in a bull fighters outfit and then conversation drifted to the elegance of movement and tight pants — dare I say, “girl talk.” At this point I wondered when Ossy would join our group and I would have some good old boy talk about climbing and all the other things I had to catch up with Ossy about. Of course Ossy was nowhere even in the vicinity and was far away in the jungles of Ecuador assisting with the transition of the eco-lodge Kapawi to be operated by the local Achuar people.
But, I have to say the conversation about bull fighting was more than apropos. San Agustin has a long heritage of bullfighting and an amazing history, not the least of which is the current owner Mignon Plaza. To this day she remains perhaps the premier female bullfighters in all of Ecuador, which lends an extraordinary twist to this interesting place. As she explained the roots of her passion for bull fighting the whole family history revealed itself to us. This is a family with a rich history, one that includes among other things, two presidents of the country, Mignon’s grandfather and cousin.
As Mignon explained, there are three parts to the hacienda’s background, the first as an Inca settlement, the second as her family acquiring the property in the early 1900’s, and the third Mignon’s time now to share the rich history of this important hacienda for tourists and the people of Ecuador. To the latter she has done a remarkable job as visitors enjoy the family atmosphere and the magic Mignon strives to create.
As new rooms were created for visitors out of the existing structures Inca walls were revealed and now many of the rooms have exposed Inca walls, and ours had an extra touch of Mignon with two roaring fireplaces, one even in the bathroom! Perhaps the most unique room is the dining room known as the Inca Room. Upon entering the room it’s dark walls made of large, finely cut stones, the hallmark of Inca stone masonry, first give a foreboding feeling that soon changes to intrigue as conversations of the rooms purpose remind us of the times of the Inca people. It is as unique as any dining room you can imagine. Add to this the Spanish style courtyard that includes Inca walls and you have an ambiance difficult to match in Ecuador.
For the kids up close and personal fun with the resident llamas is a highlight for all. Whistled in from the fields by the groundskeeper these odd creatures get ushered into the courtyard for all to feed with a handful of carrots. Llama kisses and licks aside, the hacienda cats provided hours of entertainment for kids and a mountain bike ride for the rest, rounds out a great time at this wonderful hacienda.
From here we traveled through Cotopaxi National Park along the paramo, an ecosystem likened to the Scottish moors complete with wild horses we saw galloping across the lunar landscape. A short lakeside hike gave the girls a chance to search for tadpoles and spy the birds nesting amongst the tall reeds. Along the way we stopped at one of our favorite mountain lodges that Mountain Madness groups enjoy on the Cotopaxi Climb and enjoyed a beer as we sat and watched through picture windows the kids play hide-n-seek in the tall paramo grass, all while the clouds peel back to reveal the glacier clad slopes of the Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world.
What a day! We arrived back at home base of Rumiloma, welcomed by a glowing fire started by the friendly staff. Sleep came easy for all in the comforts of our cozy rooms.