On Friday, September 29, I moved from the Hosteria de Vilcabamba – the hotel I lived in for thirteen (!) months – to Hacienda San Joaquin. While the Hosteria, very comfortable, is one of the finest hotels in southern Ecuador, I was more than ready to move on.
Now, I live in a little house at the hacienda. We call it the guest house (or the little house). Formerly, it was a caretaker’s house, abandoned for many years, a total wreck.
In the attached photo, " Little House Before", you can see what the house looked like. The "Little House After" photo shows what it looks like today. It's small but very comfortable and cozy (kitchen, dining and living rooms, one bedroom, laundry, walk-in closet, granite countertops, classic ceramic tile on the floor, modern appliances and cabinets, great sky-lit tiled bathroom, etc.). We still need to landscape this house as well as the main house (also shown "before" and "after" in the attached photos).
At http://picasaweb.google.com/jrsimonetta/HousesBeforeAndAfter , a photo album, you can view the transformation of the little and main houses. The transformation is total and extensive. The interiors of the homes are even more transformed. All furniture was beautifully made by local furniture makers who can make most any style you like (for very reasonable prices).
The last photo in that album is of Rose, a new member of my family. She’s a beautiful 12-week old Labrador puppy. She’s wonderful. In Florida (Sarasota), I had no pets. Now I have seven horses, two cats, and a dog. A bit of a change! The Hacienda is a great place for animals.
Hacienda San Joaquin is a remarkable place to live. From the dining table of my little house, I can look beyond the mango and mandarin trees to the gardens (organic fruits and vegetables) and fish ponds we’ve put in, beautiful horses grazing in the fields, the Vilcabamba River, and the spectacular Andes Mountains as the backdrop.
It is so quiet and peaceful here. Everywhere there is beautiful scenery. The nights are silent. The darkness is soothing. The sky is star-filled. Pretty amazing.
We continue with the construction of many projects. We are nearing the end of the road work. The final surface is being installed now, asphalt. We will have one of the best roads in all of Ecuador. Electricity is in. Water-system one is complete, system two is almost complete, and system three is not far behind. Our internet connection is up and running (I'm writing to you from the Hacienda).
The Equestrian and Hiking Center is coming along beautifully. Besides two stables (40 stalls total), there is a very attractive and roofed horse wash area, an Information Center (hiking and horseback riding maps and community bulletin boards), and an Organic Farm Store and Café. There is also a beautiful entrance designed for this area. All these structures have traditional ceramic tile roofs. All are in various stages of completion and surround a horse corral. I’ll send photos soon, before and after ones.
Construction on our attractive entrance and gate house is ongoing as is work on well house #2 for our second water system, nearly complete. All properties are now cleared except for the trees we left intact, including a number of fruit trees. The hacienda looks like a beautiful park.
Come for a visit. See for yourself.
Hacienda San Joaquin
P.S. International Living named Ecuador "The Best Place in the World to Retire" http://www.haciendasanjoaquin.com/best_in_the_world.html