Visit to the Hacienda de La Compañía de Jesús


Where are the best rose plantations in the world? How many types of roses are there? When I started the visit to the Hacienda de La Compañía de Jesús I admit that I ignored data like that Ecuador is one of the countries that export more roses to the world. But not only that, I did not know that in addition to Galapagos, coasts, Andean landscapes and Amazonia, there are plantations that house the largest variety of roses on the planet.

We enter a unique and exclusive visit, totally unknown to many, a few kilometers from the Otavalo Market, which today I would dare to catalog as essential!

Visit to the Hacienda de La Compañía de Jesús

The Treasury of the Society of Jesus takes its name from its Jesuit origin until in 1767 the King of Spain expelled them from their colonies. Years later the property passed to the first generation (of six that are already going) and already in 1919 when María Gloría's grandfather built the house through which we entered.

There are already between 240 and 270 people who work here every day, mostly women (and it is that men are not very "delicate" in certain jobs)

Anyone who wants to visit the Hacienda of the Society of Jesus can only do so by contacting the owners in email protected or some important agency like Metropolitan TouringWell, as María Gloria and Francisco say, they don't want mass tourism to lose the Full personal experience of personalized attention, his own.

We are in Cayambe, a location less than 30 minutes from Otavalo, which makes it a perfect and different stop on a day from Quito

Plantation, house and chapel complete a visit to the Hacienda of the Society of Jesus that does not leave you indifferent at all, and that also allows you to adjust to your needs and schedules unlike other guided tours

The best rose in the world in quality

María Gloria and Francisco are proud, "The best rose in the world in quality is the one found on the equinoctial line, in the middle of the world, 12 hours of light and a similar climate throughout the year". But then, why doesn't it happen in Kenya or in Uganda, destinations for which we were previously? The explanation is the height and humidity reached. It is the perfect place and so we approach one of its hibernaderos

20 hectares of production, which is said soon, 10 hectares at a level and 10 hectares higher to achieve a higher stalk. Everything is studied to the last detail.

Ecuador produces 478 different types of roses, of which 70 of the colored varieties are produced in this plantation. I have to admit that they are data that surpass me. I never imagined that there was such a world in the cultivation and production of roses

New colors are not developed here, but the royalties are bought from the owners of the varieties (numerous companies are dedicated to it, even the winners of the last years to better rose). What if you study carefully are the trends of each year or time, and that It leads them to export !! 15 million stems per year (2013) !!

The transport system is very similar to that of the banana plantations, although the most curious data is that the first rose that leaves after 6 months is completely discarded. "Its stem is not perfect," Francisco tells us. Its roses are carefully taken care of throughout the process and even those that have not passed the cut are used as natural fertilizer that they prefer than the one with chemical components.

Three or four months later they already get a rose to export and it is time to separate by type of rose. Pull apart? If he American market prefers large button and short stem, to Europe long stem and small button, but nevertheless the main market of Ecuador is the Russian, which prefers large button like the United States and long stem like Europe, something that can only be achieved here, besides that Colombia and Peru no longer pay tariffs and that has hurt.

The market is extremely changing. "The star of the year 2000" (the name is put on the market) caused a furor at the time, but a year later it went out of fashion and made it necessary to remove 15,000 stems overnight. This also allows beautiful stories, such as that of the daughter of María Gloría and Francisco, who had her own exclusive rose for her non-commercial wedding day

Prepared the bonches, with the name of the variety, the number of stems and size in centimeters, these are sent to the Quito Airport every day in the afternoon. The transport is always refrigerated, preventing it from opening the flower, even on the plane

But this complete visit to the Hacienda de la Compania de Jesús does not end here ...

A house with a century of history

Entering this French neoclassical house does not leave you indifferent. Its beautiful gardens and its picturesque fountain, do not prevent us from appreciating that we are facing a house with a lot of history

The Hreception all He welcomes us with a large bouquet of red roses. As I enter I think it is a shame not to be able to stay here, although I am sure that being able to chat in some of the beautiful rooms that we go through with the owners is an enriching experience.

Its ceilings, walls, furniture or upholstery are original. It seems incredible to imagine how in their day they could come by boat, then by train and even by horse to their final location.

Possibly its great state of conservation is because has always been inhabited and it represents the best exhibition to be able to observe the multitude of roses that they produce every day in each of their corners, the same ones that house black and white photos, old plates, gramola or paintings of past times

A small lounge, a living room, the hall and a dining room make a living museum of a family passionate about a world unknown to me and that today opens my eyes. Upwards an old wooden staircase leads to the rooms

We sat next to María Gloría y Fransisco. Small buns and coffee satisfy our stomach while we listen to them. It is absolutely personal, a direct deal and far from the large crowds of organized tours. Sometimes, depending on the time of the visit, they offer some lunch.

It denotes passion in each of his words. They enjoy a family inheritance to which children and grandchildren already join, the sixth generation.

Adjacent to the house, Gregorian songs that contrast with the classical music of the house attract our attention.

Is a small chapel dated from the 17th century with a beautiful altar that shelters San Ignacio de Loloya, founder of the order of the Jesuits, and where we can continue observing invaluable pieces for which any museum in the world would bid

The closest thing to a museum could be said to be an old barn, Today used to prepare the roses of the house and as a small display of farm tools and roses of various stems and color.

White, yellow, red roses… !! here they have up to 5 different reds !!

What do roses smell like? This anecdote did not just "fit" it very well, but it seems that !! the roses do not smell!, so from now on when you hear the expression "smells like roses" everything will change context. !No! I have not become cotters. It turns out that the aroma we associate with roses is still that of the plants themselves, but not of the flower itself.

A couple of hours after our arrival, María Gloría and Francisco dismiss us as affectionately as they have received us. We leave behind a visit to the Treasury of the Society of Jesus that has opened before me a new and unknown world, the world of rose plantations, that of the different varieties, forms and type, in the best place in the world, the Republic of Ecuador, and one of them goes for my Paulita away from me these days.

Isaac, from Cayambe (Ecuador)