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Cuenca Real Estate Update Part II

The Goda Restaurant at the Hotel El Dorado in Cuenca.


See how to get Cuenca hotel discounts as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

Merri and I have helped over 6,000 people visit Ecuador real estate in the past 15 or so years. We find that three areas… Cuenca, Bahia and Imbabura… are the most popular by far.  Jean Marie Butterlin conducts Ecuador real estate tours that focus on these areas.   This is part two of a 2011 Cuenca update and looks at real estate at Hosteria Uzhupud.

This is a wonderful old hacienda where Merri and I have conducted a number of seminars many years ago. Charming and rustic… this has always been a favorite with delegates.

When in the Cuenca area we stay on the Paute River at Hosteria Uzhupud. This is a small colonial village turned into a guest house, gardens, shops, all cobblestones of course. Glorious Gardens of every color are here. Orchid gardens, hibiscus, frangipani and bougainvillea fill the air with honey sweet scents. Indoor dining in a colonial setting and outdoor dining in courtyards emblazed with color.

We have a really special story to tell about this hosteria… in a minute… below.  First an update on what they are doing at there now.

This Cuenca update is provided by Stephen Milden, a retired American and his wife, who host real estate tours in Cuenca.  Here is his Cuenca update:

Cuenca Update Part II
Real estate is one of the single largest investments people make and the good news is that real estate prices are quite attractive in Cuenca.   Real estate costs are rising at a very natural rate versus the boom and bust cycles seen in other parts of the world.

Here is a property we showcased during the Cuenca Real Estate tours in the Paute Valley.


Paute Valley

About 35-40 minutes from downtown Cuenca there is a quaint town called Paute.

Paute is known as a garden spot and is where we purchase most of our plants and flowers.

In a valley about 10 minutes before reaching the town is a very special community and resort called Uzhupud.

Uzhupud means “Hot Chili Pepper Valley”. This name gracefully combines two native languages: Uzhu which in Quichua means hot chili pepper, and Pud which in Cañari means plain, flat, and wide place.


Since around the end of colonial times, the Hacienda Uzhupud belonged to the Muñoz-Cárdenas family, grandparents of Francisco Febres Cordero y Muñoz (1854-1910). He spent his childhood and young adulthood at this place. As time went by, in 1984, during the papacy of Pope Juan Pablo II, he became the Santo Hermano Miguel of the Catholic Church. In 1870 his relatives Vintimilla-Muñoz bought Uzhupud from the Muñoz-Cárdenas family. As you can see this property has a long and colorful history.

Over time some of the land was sold off, but the original hacienda has been preserved and is now one of the best resorts in the area featuring amenities like horseback riding, a swimming pool, high cuisine, open air dining areas, lush gardens and more.


Hostalria Uzhupud

Naturally locals were attracted to the area and the resort. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s homes were built by wealthy people from the surrounding areas and it became one of the best kept real estate secrets.

Today the secret has been broken and 5 homes are being released to the market in a gated community with Spanish architecture. Each home has absolutely gorgeous views of the mountains and the Paute River that flows all the way to the Amazon River. Each home features high ceilings, open areas, large bedrooms and baths, outdoor patios and more. The development will have a common swimming pool only for the 5 homes; BBQ and picnic area and a community fruit and vegetable garden.


House #1 and #2 are 1,507 square feet and are $135,000.

House #3 is 1,076 Square feet and is $145,000.

House #4 and #5 are 1,215 square feet and are $155,000.


Hosteria Uzhupud is a special place for Merri and me because about a decade and a half ago the hosteria is where one of our greatest Ecuador journeys began.

On one of our first journeys to Ecuador we had the privilege of meeting a number of Taita Yatchaks (father of fathers). These are great healers and they often travel to many countries: Bolivia , Peru , Colombia , Mexico , Central America and Venezuela to share what they know about health and living with other great healers in each country.

The Taita Yatchaks are often third or fourth generation healers.  Here we are deep in an Andean jungle with one such Taita Yatchak.

During our time with these healers one group of leaders called Abuelos (old ones) told us that they had been given a 500 year prophesy (handed down generation after generation) that a time would come when the Eagle of the North would fly together with the Condor of the South. When this happened a great new equilibrium would be given to mankind.

This was a message of how to balance the heart and the mind and these Abuelos had been given the task of fulfilling this prophesy.

Because of work we had done in Ecuador to help the poor in this country, these Abuelos asked us to help them fulfill this task. They gave Merri the Grandfather’s healing stone, one of the Taita Yatchak’s most prized possessions and gave me the special healing feather (the condor), gifts we were told were very sacred. We were pretty puzzled, amazed and honored to say the least. To be part of a prophesy which was unveiled five hundred years ago is awfully humbling! Scary is probably a better word. Yet we felt compelled to accept.

When we started helping, we did not know that the best was yet to come.

On our next trip we took a group of seminar delegates and booked the entire Hostería Uzhupud which is a charming colonial compound in a valley on the banks of the Paute River about 30 minutes from Cuenca .  The Hosteria has incredible grounds and amazing views of the countryside.  This was a glorious place where we could all stay and meet with the “old ones” there.

Our group met them on the lawn of the hacienda that sloped down to the river, under a huge willow tree.  The Taita Yatchak told us secrets about health, longevity, wealth, our past and our future. This was a man of wisdom and everyone was touched.

Then something special happened.

I had arranged for a special feather from North America to be presented to the Taita Yatchak as a token of appreciation for the feather that had been given to me. When it was presented to him, the look of wonder on his face was such that I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd (and we had some tough, hard as nails business people with us).

The Taita Yatchak told us he was touched because this gift filled a prophesy which had been given to him years ago, one he believed would never happen.

He explained there was an unoccupied valley where only shamans had been allowed and no westerner or outsider had ever been. The old ones were protectors of this valley in the LLanganatis and kept it carefully guarded. But part of this prophesy was that when the time was right he would take a westerner to open this valley to the rest of the world. He said the feather we had brought was the signal that Merri and I should go into the valley. We had no idea then how special this valley was. Only later did we learn even in colonial times the Spanish had heard of this valley and believed it contained the fountain of youth. The valley is considered a spiritual center for the people in the Andes. They wanted to go to the valley but the natives would not reveal its location. Rather than disclose information on this valley, hundreds accepted enslavement, torture and even death.

This was to be the first time these protectors had ever taken an outsider into the valley. We did not know this when Merri and I arrived with six friends including two who are medical doctors studying longevity…and one of whom was a Sanksrit Scholar.

Our arrival was one almost of foreboding. I cannot explain why I felt this way rather than thrilled. Eleven villages held a special meeting of the protectors to perform a rite of permission. Only then did we discover that even the Ecuadorians themselves had never been allowed to know the location of this valley. Only a few of the healers and spiritual leaders of the Andes went there.

One of the six friends, an M.D. who was also researching longevity, traveled with us but rather than visit the valley visited another valley where there are healing thermal pools. While there he was told by the owner of the hotel after hearing where we were headed that we would never be seen again alive! The owner told our friend he had once tried sneaking into the valley many decades ago, had been caught, stripped naked, hogtied and dumped on a lonely road. The man’s effects had all been dumped in a bundle at the hotel with a note saying where to find him and a warning not to return to the valley.

Thank Goodness we didn’t know this as we headed into the valley. We started our journey at 4:30 a.m. riding up into the mountains to a hiking point with the six llamas that would carry our food, two young boys to herd the llamas, an apprentice shaman, Taita Yatchak, and his son and daughter.

Here we are about the start.

We began hiking at about 10,500 feet, tramping through deep Alpine marsh for six hours as we ascended to 14,000 feet. Above here we are drinking from the head waters of the Amazon Basin and then descended straight down (4,000′) a hidden mud animal trail for three hours into a virtually impenetrable cloud forest, ripped by thorns, cut by razor grass, soaked, and caked in mud.

By the time we arrived in the valley, it was just minutes before dark. We were fatigued by the high altitude, bone weary from our packs, every muscle aching from fighting all day with the sucking mud (which had regularly pulled off our boots).

We stayed in a floorless, leaky thatch hut, sleeping on dirt, no heat except the cooking fire, no running water, no nothing. The next morning, to our surprise we all felt wonderful! We explored the valley which is perpetually wrapped in mist and fog. We swam in small icy, deep blue lagoons and did ancient exercises while the Taita Yatchak talked with us. We were continually cold, wet, dirty and cramped-all 12 of us in this tiny hut with its earthen floor. Here we are in front of the hut.

We discovered a magical quality to this Sacred Valley and after our return found powerful emotional and physical evolutions happening to all six of us. Merri and I, along with the others, felt physically stronger, more alert, more positive, more active and yet more serene than ever before in our lives.

One of the secrets shared with us on the journey was about the importance to health of essential oils.  On that journey there were several times when some of the hikers could no longer go on. They were too exhausted.  Each time the Taita Yatchak pulled out essential oils he called “Aqua Flores” to rejuvenate us.  He had different oils for various health problems and one was for strength and stamina.  Each time the application of the oil revitalized those who were too worn out to reach the camp.

Later we learned that there were oils, for too much heat, too much cold, pain, hunger and much more.

Years later, Merri and I could not resist and introduced the Taita Yatchak to our friend Candace Newman…the greatest master of essential oils we knew and still know.

Candace spent considerable time with the Yatchak and later hiked to Machu Picchu with our daughter Francesca and the Taita Yatchak.  Part of the knowledge he shared has been incorporated into Candace’s wealth of knowledge on essential oils.

Essential oils, essential anytime, are really important at each seasonal change… like now as spring erupts.

Rejuvenation Mists

Candace Newman is offering our readers a  Spring and Rejuvenation essential oil formula (Candace’s exquisite essential oil formula of of Frankincense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Geranium and Rose otto that is in her Rejuvenation Face Gel.)  She puts this same formula in her Rejuvenation Mist and is offering the mist at  10% off to celebrate Spring time and Rejuvenation in April.  I use this formula almost every morning to start my day!


See her Rejuvination Mist in a 4 oz blue cobalt bottle at the 10% off.

We hope that these oils and these toughts will bring new life to each of you and that when you visit the Hosteria Uzupud you too will feel the vibrations and power of the ancients. 


2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

mt-dora-images tags:


mt-dora-images tags:

its annual arts festival. 


June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)


January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

Attend all seminars and courses and more FREE or at a discount as an International club member.  See details here.