Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life at the OK corral -- or in Ecuador, life at the hacienda

Last week, we visited the Hosteria Uzhupud (formerly a hacienda) in Paute, Ecuador, about 40 minutes out of Cuenca.  Uzhupud means “Hot Chili Pepper Valley" -- a word that combines two native languages: Uzhu in Quichua means "hot chili pepper," and Pud in Cañari means "plain, flat, and ample place."

Since the end of the colonial times, the hacienda has belonged to the Muñoz-Cárdenas family (around the 1850s), and in 1870, relatives of Vintimilla-Muñoz bought Uzhupud from the Muñoz-Cárdenas family.
The current majority owners of Hostería Uzhupud are the descendants of don Cornelio Vintimilla Muñoz and his wife doña Esther Muñoz Dávila: their grandchildren Crespo-Vintimilla and Vintimilla-Vinueza.  One of the family members was our guide for the day.

When the hacienda was built, one can imagine how the indigenous peoples might have been amazed and/or upset at the immense and lavish “home,” compared to their living conditions. 

But for today’s standards, this place is magnificent. There are guest rooms, restaurants, a bar, a pool, an orquideario, squares, fountains, pool tables, foos ball tables, saunas, steam rooms, massages, fish ponds, beautiful grounds – about as beautiful and secluded spot as you could ever imagine.

If you are heading to Ecuador in the Cuenca area, I would encourage you to spend a night (or more) at this place, and to entice you even more, here are some pictures of the Hosteria Uzhupud.

the front entrance

We were offered a traditional Ecuadorian drink at the entrance

the back, with steps leading down to the gardens and the pool area (or into the building, if going the other way-- duh!)

the side gardens, complete with places to sit and enjoy the ambiance

a view toward the rooms and the outside dining area
our group having lunch in the outdoor dining room

the pool, with the sauna, steam rooms, etc. over on the right 

the orquideario -- not much blooming at the moment
the back gardens, complete with a remnant of the past (not Harold -- well, maybe!)

the interior fireplace in the sitting room