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Hacienda Uzhupud: A Cultural Ecuador Experience (Video)

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Living in Ecuador
Update (January 1, 2018): Hacienda Uzhupud closed a few months ago. Although there is a listing on Airbnb to stay there, it doesn’t appear to be open. And while the major booking engines continue to show availability, their site is offline. Many of our readers have stated that the Hacienda is permanently closed.

Earlier this month we were invited to stay at Hacienda Uzhupud in Paute. Our family stayed for two nights and three days.

Hacienda Uzhupud Hacienda Uzhupud reception

It is located just outside of Cuenca, Ecuador. Check out the trip from Cuenca to Paute.

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. A 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 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 cuisine. 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.

wood-fired-pizza higos-con-queso

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.


For Expats And Travelers

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 family. 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 large balcony area. This might be good for larger families or people looking to stay for more than a few days.

Have you stayed at Uzhupud? What did you think of your stay? Please let us know by commenting on this post.


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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

22 comments… add one
  • Edward Nov 9, 2014, 9:13 pm

    Greetings Dena,
    Great article. I live in Cuenca with my adopted Cuencana family. We have been to Uzhupud several times. It’s one of our favorite day trip. Never stayed there, or eaten there, but had coffee once. We just go there and enjoy the grounds, and usually take the other grand paw who is in a wheelchair. They are great to let us do that. Our girls, 9 and 8, always want to go swimming, but have not gotten to do so yet. (to expensive for our family). It’s a great place.

  • A. Gee Jan 9, 2014, 9:30 am

    Unfortunately, we won’t be able to stay at the Hacienda, but yesterday we discovered their Restaurant here in Cuenca near downtown at the point where Gran Colombia turns into a 2-way street. Lovely ambience. They have a selection of cheeses, breads, cookies, quiche, & desserts. We bought a loaf of round, whole grain bread & Pecorino, sheep cheese, made in Ecuador. Both delicious. Prices are a bit high. Cheese was $5.30 for 100 grams, no more than a thick slice. A Greek salad was $6, but the bread loaf for $2.80 was very reasonable for the quality. Complete Almuerzo or Lunch was $16.50! – maybe it was for 2???

  • Patricia Emmett Aug 13, 2013, 10:07 am

    Good Morning Bryan,

    I enjoyed this article very much but I have another question for you! I am recently retired from 43 years of teaching, directing and training people in the arts of musical theatre, acting, stage design, costume design. I am am hoping that there are some opportunities to enjoy live theatre and performances there in Cuenca? I have found there are several art galleries and also there seems to be concerts in the area BUT my question is for an old retired Musical theatre directors desire to get involved in the performances and possible productions of some local theatre there? My entire existence has centered around live theatre and I know regardless of the many many beautiful opportunities of living in Cuenca I would be feeling that much of my passion for living a full life would be missing without the “stage” to give me a purpose. I know you are an incredible writer and artist yourself, so I am hoping you might know if there are any theatre company’s or groups there in your beautiful city? Thank you again for the incredible website!

    • Stewart Aug 25, 2013, 6:58 am

      Hello Patricia,
      I posed your question to my sister-in-law who is an actress and works at the Universidad de Cuenca ( as a professor of theatre. Here’s her response:
      There are 2 “espacios estateles” (maybe meaning government run agencies) of theatre with many projects.
      The are called “Teatro Sucre” and “Sala Alfonso Carrasco”.
      Also Patricia if you have a masters degree or license get it apostulated in your country before coming to Ecuador. Once here go to the government agency, SENESCYT (Secretaria Nacional de Educacion Superior, Ciencia, Tecnologia, e Innovacion) to get it recognized nationally. If you can do this she tells me there is a lot of work for someone cualified at the Cuenca University. The Art department (Facultad de Arte) has Theatre, Dance and Music and is looking to integrate the different disciplines. With all your experience maybe making your contacts at the university you can be the one to direct or be a art of this process. You have to come to Cuenca to find out.
      Apart from the university there are also actors who have come to Cuenca because of the culture and are also working there who may have projects where you can get involved.

      Good Luck and best regards,

      • Jakub Aug 25, 2013, 10:15 am

        Since the above reply is leaning towards academic circles I should add that if you want to get a teaching contract at a university you need at least a Master’s degree after Correa’s educational reforms. To be “profesor titular” you need a PhD. Maybe there are other ways to get involved.

        Regarding the SENESCYT there are two ways to get your university degree convalidated in Ecuador. One is a simple inscription which happens with the original foreign degree name. This nationally serves as proof that you indeed graduated from that foreign university. The other is “equiparacion” in which your degree gets assessed for equivalency to Ecuadorian education. The latter is naturally a more complex process. The SENESCYT publishes a list of recognized foreign academic institutions. It helps if your institution is on the list. If it is not, more ample proof of the nature of your education will be required.

        I am planning to teach at a university in Ecuador once I retire.

  • sarah Jul 31, 2013, 1:52 pm

    this looks like a beautiful place. i might have to check it out when we’re in cuenca this fall.

  • Stewart Jul 22, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Awesome, gorgeous hacienda. Nothing more to add except we visited another hacienda
    called “El Porvenir” close to the snow-capped volcano, Cotopaxi and really enjoyed it.

    One day I´ll get the blog going and add all the sites we´ve seen in Ecuador.

  • LyndaS Jul 17, 2013, 8:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience. (I would love to feature your food pictures on my site for a Foreign Food Friday post.) I hope to make it to Ecuador someday. Some. Day. SOON?

  • charlie Jul 17, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Friends of the blog,
    My name is Charlie Castro, host and coordinator of activities at the ranch.
    I would like to congratulate publicly by the beautiful and professional work of Dena and Bryan.
    On behalf of the entire team of Hacienda (ranch) Uzhupud invite you to visit us and give us the opportunity to share the essence of this magical land. Our legacy is to let you know our stories, customs, gastronomy, among other experiences that I leave as surprise.

    Best regards,

  • Gary Wilson Jul 17, 2013, 12:49 pm

    We are planning a trip to Cuenca aug 16- 28 hope to meet up with you and family…have been following you since Canada and house hunters….. and all your adventures in cuenca… very informative. ..thanking you. ..great blog.

  • Terry Andrews Jul 16, 2013, 9:01 pm

    What a great presentation you’ve done with Uzhupud! I appreciate that you mentioned that they also shuttle from Cuenca. You’ve put it on my to do list when we come over!

    • Dena Haines Jul 16, 2013, 9:56 pm

      Thanks Terry,

      We really enjoyed our stay! I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Eric Jul 16, 2013, 8:55 pm

    Hay folks sounds like you had a special time at Uzhupud I like the surroundings. very rich looking. we are having a spell of very warm weather here in NS. no need for Cuenca. 33c on Monday 31c to day 27c tomorrow. Much needed rain on Thursday .have a nice day folks, Eric & Rae

  • Allyson Jul 16, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I can see why Drew would love the experience having had our own farm in Canada for many years. We’re about 3 hours from Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, so we’ll keep our spidey senses open to this possibility when we are there this Winter. Warmly, Allyson

    • Bryan Haines Jul 16, 2013, 6:30 pm

      Nice. They have outside grills and a couple of wood ovens. Make sure you ask about them when you book – it is lots of fun!

    • Dena Haines Jul 16, 2013, 10:00 pm

      Hi Allyson,

      I love P.E.I! We spent our honeymoon and family vacations there. We hope to go back for a visit next time we are in Canada.

      Have a good trip this Winter.

  • Jakob Jul 16, 2013, 5:19 pm

    On my bucket list next to Mindo, Zamora, Yasuni… Thanks. Have you tried Baños (not Baños in Cuenca, but the other Baños)? It is another place that will have you coming back every few months. Luna Runtun is exquisite if you like a touch of elegance combined with what the land is already offering you for free.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 16, 2013, 5:21 pm

      No, we haven’t been to the other Baños … yet. Looks beautiful.

      I’m going to look up Luna Runtun. Sounds very nice.

      • Jakob Jul 16, 2013, 6:58 pm

        They are right below volcano Tungurahua. When the volcano is active you can hear it from there. You can also begin the hike to the volcano from there (up until where the volcano shooting rock at you stops you). You also have to try jumping from a waterfall after which James Bond movies will seem boring.

  • Gerry Jul 16, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Do i need an invitation or is open to the public what are the prices

    • Bryan Haines Jul 16, 2013, 5:17 pm

      Hi Gerry,

      It is open to the public – both for dining and accommodation. The prices can be found on their site

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