Paute is a small canton (county) in Azuay province – just outside of the city of Cuenca. It is just a short drive to Paute.
On our recent visit to Hacienda Uzhupud we spoke with Charlie Castro – head of entertainment. In this video, Charlie explains some of the highlights of Paute and the surrounding areas.
4 Things to Do in Paute Ecuador
- Cultural events / experiences: rodeo, wood handicrafts, town festivals, toquilla straw (Panama hats), higos con queso, and traditional dairy products
- Extreme sports: paragliding, rappelling and rock climbing
- Sightseeing: waterfalls, look-off points, lakes, power dam, and colonial houses
- Family attractions: horseback riding, hiking, fishing, biking, and trying new foods
What to Do in Paute Ecuador
5 Attractions in Paute Ecuador
In Paute, the most important tourist places are:
- Hill Head Dog and Campana Huayco: they are natural attractions suitable for alternative tourism and perform extreme sports such as paragliding, rappelling and rock climbing. Offers: Native Chaparro and reforested areas (pedagogical visits).
- Viewpoint of Plazapamba and Virgenpamba: these attractions are in the Cantonal Centre and the scenic beauty of this place can be seen.
- Linear Park: Located in the town of Paute, linear park has viewpoints, cabins, bridges, horseback riding and track for BMX, ideal to visit as a family.
- Fruit Orchards: Paute, Cachiyacu, Bulan, Tambillo.
- Nature Attractions: In Paute and Sevilla de Oro you will find landscapes, waterfalls, chorreras, lagoons, a dam, trout, and processed dairy products.
6 Parishes (Parroquias) of Paute Ecuador
- SAN CRISTOBAL: House floating viewpoint of Tuzhpo, Church, handicrafts toquilla straw, religious festivals.
- CHICAN: Viewpoint of Maras, plays of the skirmish.(escaramuza)
- BULAN: Crafts in wood, route of fruits, fishing, skirmish.
- DUG-DUG: Viewpoint of Nunurco, paragliding, fishing, rodeo, agro-tourism, horseback riding, hiking.
- TOMEBAMBA: Observation of the reservoir of Mazar, Sugarloaf Hill lookoff, walks to the cerro Yanacocha, community rural tourism, dances.
- GUARAYNAG: Viewpoint of Parrot Peak Hill, Church heritage, colonial houses, Tasqui waterfall, crafts in toquilla straw.
Once in a while, we like to go on a road trip; living in Cuenca makes that easy. There are a number of nice little towns or small cities within an hours’ drive of the city. Getting to these towns is inexpensive (the bus does not cost much) and the scenery is really beautiful.
A while ago we went to Paute. Most of the way we drove alongside a river and we could see beautiful mountain views.
Paute reminds me a lot of Cuenca. It felt almost like someone picked up a large chunk of Cuenca and plunked it down in Paute. There is a pretty park in the center of town, cobblestone streets, internet cafes, clothing stores, bakeries, and flower shops.
Getting to Paute by Bus (Via Cuenca)
Paute is Warm(er than Cuenca)
One thing that is different than Cuenca (other than its size) is the climate. Paute is at a lower elevation and is much warmer.
It is a very fertile area; they grow mangos, bananas, papaya and many other varieties of tropical fruit. They also grow sugarcane and produce Zhumir (a local alcohol made from sugarcane). It is an agricultural area, so on Sundays, there is a huge market in the center of the city.
There is a wide river on the outskirts of the city center that supplies the hydropower plant located in Paute. This plant supplies power for Cuenca and the surrounding areas.
The bus terminal is near the river, along with a large park area. In the park, there is a look-off tower, and not far away a long, swaying foot-bridge crosses the river. Drew squealed as she felt the bridge bob and sway while crossing it.
Meeting New Friends
A friend came with us to show us around the town. His parents live in Paute and invited us over to have lunch.
We had such a nice time with them, they told us that on Sundays the park is bustling with family fun, games and horseback riding. And that there is a huge market in the center of the city, I would like to go back on a Sunday to see what it’s like.
We had a nice relaxing day. We didn’t really see much in the way of attractions in the town, but it was nice just to go for a drive, walk around the town, meet new friends and see a new place.
Hacienda Uzhupud: A Cultural Ecuador Experience
Earlier this month we were invited to stay at Hacienda Uzhupud in Paute. Our family stayed for two nights and three days.
It is located just outside of Cuenca, Ecuador.
Fresh Air and Beautiful Surroundings
One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at Uzhupud was how good the air smelled. It smelled a lot like lilacs. There were flowers everywhere: large vases of fresh-cut roses, flowering plants, bushes, and trees.
I'm still not sure which flower was making that smell, but I loved it.
Three Days in Three Minutes
Experiencing The Culture
The hacienda (ranch) is over two hundred years old and many of the antiques are from the original owners. It was easy to see that maintaining the culture of the hacienda is very important at Uzhupud.
Almost everywhere we looked we saw cultural artwork and there was antique furniture in the rooms and social areas of the main building.
There are two different lodging areas at Uzhupud. The main building (which overlooks the pool) and a pueblito (little town) just up the hill. Both areas look as they would have a hundred years ago.
The pueblito is an area built like a small Andean town. It reminded me of an Andean-style Avonlea, the Anne of Green Gables town on Prince Edward Island, Canada. A picture-perfect little town.
There are traditional activities (depending on occupancy and time of year) and traditional food.
Uzhupud Was Relaxing And Fun
We had a lot of fun at Uzhupud! They have outside games like ping-pong, tennis, and volleyball. They also have horseback riding and paddle-boats.
Drew especially loved the pool and hot tub. When we got out of the water we felt a little cool, so we spent a few minutes warming up in the sauna.
The property is large and fenced-in so we enjoyed going for walks, looking at the flowers, plants, and trees. It was also nice to walk through the large organic garden. We picked some vegetables which were made into a salad that we had with our lunch.
Milking a Cow On Vacation?!
We loved spending time with the animals. The barns are on the same grounds, just a short walk away from the main lodging area.
Drew loved feeding the chickens and holding the guinea-pigs, fuzzy baby chicks, and rabbits! She even tried milking the cow and she was a natural! The farm was one of her favorite parts of the visit – she kept asking to go back to see the animals.
Milking a Cow with a Traditional Pauteña
After that, Drew gathered some eggs in a little basket. We all watched as they were prepared and cooked in a wood-fired oven for our breakfast.
Delicious Traditional Food
The menu has a nice variety of traditional food (including higos con queso) and other cuisines. We had some of both and it was all delicious.
A highlight for our family was making our own pizza. We wore big white chef hats and everything. It was fun!
After we did our best with the dough and put on all the toppings the pizzas were cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven. We ate outside under a starry sky, it was a very special treat. More on this later on.
There are two dining areas at Uzhupud. A fancy dining room and a cafe with a more casual atmosphere. They also have beautiful outside eating areas.
The last time we wanted a taste of luxury, we traveled to the Caribbean. But now we are planning a return trip to Uzhupud instead. Luxury without the expensive international flights.
This is also a great option for travelers looking to experience the culture of Ecuador with their families. They offer a shuttle service to/from Cuenca which could make things a little more convenient.
They were working on an apartment-type lodging while we were there. It has a couple of rooms a small kitchen and a large balcony area. This might be good for larger families or people looking to stay for more than a few days.
Making Wood-Oven Pizza in Paute, Ecuador
One of the activities that they planned for us was making pizzas in the wood-fired oven. In Cuenca, there are a few pizza shops that use wood ovens and the flavor is amazing.
Pizzas for the Whole Family
Uzhupud has a pizza expert on staff that oversees (and teaches) this activity. He is from Paute (where the hacienda is located) and spent years working at a New York City pizza shop. His pizza dough tossing skills were insane.
We were taught how to mix the dough, spread it out, and to toss it. Drew loved getting up to her elbows in the dough – and spreading the sauce and ingredients.
The sauce was made beforehand with tomatoes and spices grown on Hacienda.
As you will see from the video, we were first taught how to do everything and then we did it ourselves. While our pizza was a little uglier than his, it tasted just as good. He also made a dessert pizza with a mild cheese sauce and freshly sliced pear – amazing!
Our Pizza Making Experience at Uzhupud
The whole experience was relaxed and well prepared. When we arrived for the activity the ingredients were set out and the oven was hot. The manager of the Hacienda was waiting to meet us and we were offered a glass of wine.
The climate in Paute is noticeably warmer than in nearby Cuenca. We prepared the pizzas in an outside kitchen, overlooking the open dining area.
Watch Us Make a Wood Oven Pizza From Scratch
Preparing the Pizza Dough
Out of the Wood Fired Oven
Pizza Being Served Up
The Finished Product: Scratch Pizza from a Wood Oven
Candied Walnuts and Salad
The homemade pizza wasn't the only food we enjoyed at Uzhupud. I loved the higos con queso – a traditional Ecuadorian dessert.
Safe Horseback Riding in Paute Ecuador
Are you looking for a great place to take your kids on a safe trail ride? As we have found out, all trail rides are not created equal! Some can even be dangerous…
Trail Rides Are Not All Created Equal
We've been on two trail rides in Ecuador.
The first one was not what we were expecting.
We felt we knew what we were in for because we had been on a number of trail rides in the past, in Canada and Venezuela. The horses were the kind that were specifically trained to stay calm and follow the leader.
That being said, our family does not have much experience riding horses. We all needed the typical trail riding horse, but that is not what we got.
We were given horses with “spirit” who had to be handled in just the right way or they put up a protest. Such a protest that Bryan was thrown off and I nearly followed him! Fortunately, our daughter's horse was very calm and kept all four feet on the ground.
Needless to say, I was very shaken! We got off the horses and walked back to the stable.
We were just happy that no one was hurt and that it didn't give our daughter a fear of horses. She loves horses so much!
Safe Horseback Riding in Paute, Ecuador
We enjoyed a safe, peaceful ride at Hacienda Uzhupud. This is one of many family attractions around Cuenca.
The horses were the kind of trail riding horses we were used to, calm and obedient.
I felt very safe and was not worried about the safety of our daughter at all. A couple of staff members went with us, one even walked the grounds with us to make sure everything was okay!
The trail took us through a little wooded area, past a pond, and around a field. It was a very easy trail, the land was even and fenced off, making it that much safer for kids.
Our daughter loved it!
Read more about wild horses and horse ownership in Ecuador. Have you been trail riding in Ecuador? Where did you go? Please tell us about it by commenting on this post.
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Have you been to Paute and its parroquias? What do you like to do there?