A Region of Superlatives: Casa Mojanda is located at the heart of Ecuador's north-central Andes. At 3000 meters (9800 feet) it lies in the dramatic shadows of Mount Fuya Fuya at 4200 meters (13,800 feet), and Mount Cotacachi & Mount Imbabura, both nearly 5000 meters (16,400 feet). This confluence of soaring peaks and lush valleys sets a dramatic natural resource stage.
The peaks are the remains of formerly active volcanoes that shaped the entire Andean ecological region. The resulting fertile lands have drawn people to the area for thousands of years and the area contains remains of Pre-Incan Pyramids, burial mounds, and Incan roads. Today, the region is made famous by the industrious and friendly Otavalan Indians. They draw visitors from around the world with their skilled weaving and handcrafts, haunting Andean folk music, and the famous Saturday crafts market.
Ecuador is known the world over for nature oriented tourism and in this respect the province of Imbabura, of which Otavalo is a part, is a superlative destination. The Mojanda Lakes, just outside of Otavalo, lie at 12,000 feet at the base of Fuya Fuya, in the remains of an extinct crater. The crystal clear water reaches a depth of more than 100 meters. Nearby, as part of the heavily visited Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, one finds Lake Cuicocha, another deep crater lake and the large and populated San Pablo Lake can be easily seen from the Panamerican Highway next to Mt. Imbabura. The more adventurous hiker can hike or backpack to numerous other high mountain lakes. A significant part of the local economy depends directly upon ecologically oriented tourism.
All of the buildings on the grounds of Casa Mojanda utilize traditional methods of construction. Structural walls of rammed earth provide cooling during the day and retain and slowly release their solar gain throughout the evening. Enormous hand molded terra cotta bricks link structural details while complementing the brilliant adobe walls. Hand formed roof tiles, of native red clay, and red tile floors provide the perfect counterpoint to the massive white walls.
Within each structure, open eucalyptus roof beams contribute textural warmth and a sense of quiet structural strength. White ceramic tile is selectively used to visual and practical advantage throughout the enormous country style kitchen and within each cottage bath. Diego and Betti designed the many tables and chairs of Ecuadorian cedar which were made in the shops of local craftsmen and provide a wonderful complement to the structural materials. Selective use of native wooden flooring, antique furnishings, hand carved Ecuadorian masks, and an outstanding collection of lithographs & drawings reinforce the quiet architectural strength of Casa Mojanda.