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The One Where We Learn to Make Cheese Empanadas and Ride a Horse: A Magical Night at El Porvenir

Instead of immediately returning to Quito, we decided to spend the night at a hacienda up in the mountains. If you have a day or two to spare around Quito, I highly recommend El Porvenir. Set in the middle of farmlands and mountains, this lodge is an oasis for all things.
Hacienda El Porvenir
Hacienda El Porvenir (Helen Thomson)

When we arrived, we were greeted with warm cheese empanadas and a warm cocktail made with naranjillas. Little did we know we would be making another round of these for ourselves in the cooking class they had arranged for us. The cooking class was an unexpected fun experience! It was just my mom, me and the chef Segundo. Segundo spoke little to no English but somehow managed to teach my mom and me how to form the edges of the empanadas, make the hot chili sauce and the cocktail we became very fond of. Another unexpected delight at El Porvenir was the spa. They have hot tubs and a cool plunge pool, an herbal steam house and massages available. This was a perfect way to end our day of volcano trekking!
Cooking Class at El Porvenir
Cooking Class at El Porvenir (Helen Thomson)

The next morning, we were dressed in traditional Chagra garb and each given a horse. We got to ride up with mountainside, through fields of grass and cows milling about. The views from the ride were incredible and we even spotted the top of Cotopaxi while drinking a traditional hot tea in the rushing wind.

Horseback riding at El Porvenir
Horseback riding at El Porvenir (Helen Thomson)
Dressing as the Chagras Do
Dressing as the Chagras Do (Helen Thomson)

The horseback riding in this beautiful landscape, the hospitality of the staff, the candlelit dinner made by chef Segundo and our cozy room with our own fireplace made me want to stay in this unique and special place for much longer. 

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