Hacienda Zuleta | Owner, Fernando Polanco

February 28, 2021

Our guest today is Fernando Polanco, the Managing Director and Co-Owner of Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean highlands of Ecuador.

Fernando is someone I’ve wanted to have on the show for a long time. He is a storm of energy, and one of the most passionate hoteliers I’ve ever met. He comes from a long line of Ecuadorian patriots and Spanish explorers before that. His home, Hacienda Zuleta, was a sacred place for the Caranqui indigenous tribes for hundreds of years, the building itself was initially constructed on orders of the Spanish King, Charles the II, and THEN Fernando’s great grandfather and grandfather, both past Presidents of Ecuador, made the hacienda into their home and a working farm.

If you are lucky enough to visit this slice of heaven and living history, you’ll likely meet Fernando or his Aunt Margarita. During the days you’ll horseback ride, explore the Caranqui ruins, hike, tour the cheese factory, or even visit the equator line. Then after exploring you’ll tuck into the most amazing food, enjoy a night cap by the fireplace with your friends and maybe Fernando’s dog, and enjoy a cozy night of relaxation.

Fernando and I discuss why mainland Ecuador should be on everyone’s travel wishlist, the unbelievable diversity the country has to offer, and the deep history of his land, family, and how they’ve given back over the years.


Listen to hear:

  • 02:52 – What Fernando’s favorite spot on the property is

  • 04:34 – About the special endangered condors and bears on the land

  • 08:09 – What makes Ecuador so distinct and diverse

  • 09:18 – Why Fernando has a long connection with soup

  • 13:26 – How the pre-Columbian civilization history is incorporated in the property

  • 19:13 – About Fernando’s father and grandfather era of managing the property

  • 23:51 – How they turned family home into destination for tourists

  • 26:26 – About the essence of always doing the right thing at the right time 

  • 36:39 – Why the equator is a source of energy

  • 40:31 – About The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation and its mission

  • 42:58 – What you may learn about the world after visiting Ecuador

Listener Exclusive Amenities

A personal tour of the hacienda or a cocktail chat by Fernando or Margarita

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