We took a little road trip to Paute in Ecuador last week. Paute is a small city about an hour’s bus ride from Cuenca. Traveling to the towns around Cuenca is very inexpensive and very scenic. The bus ride was only $1 each way, and the drive had us following a winding river, against a backdrop of beautiful green mountains.
Paute is a tranquil little city. It reminded me a lot of Cuenca. There is a pretty park in the center of town, cobblestone streets, Internet cafes, clothing stores, bakeries and flower shops.
One thing that makes Paute different than Cuenca (other than its size) is the climate. Although it’s only an hour away it’s at a lower elevation and is much warmer. This is a very fertile area; they grow mangoes, bananas, papaya and many other varieties of tropical fruit.
Because it’s an agricultural area, on Sundays there is a huge market in the center of the city. They also grow sugarcane, and the plant which produces Zhumir, a local alcohol.
There is a wide swift flowing river on the outskirts of the city center that supplies the hydro power 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-like area. In the park there is a look out tower, and not far away a long swaying foot bridge spans the river. Our daughter squealed as she felt the bridge bob and sway while crossing it. We were told that on Sundays the park is bustling with family fun, games and horseback riding. I have a feeling we’ll be heading back on a Sunday in the not too distant future.
An Ecuadorian friend of ours from Cuenca came with us to show us around. His parents live in Paute and are very kind, down to earth people. They rent their four-bedroom, two-bath home for just $100 a month, and they were telling us that food costs even less than it does here in Cuenca. As we walked through the city we saw many new apartments under construction.
Enjoying a relaxing day in a warm, quaint Andean town nestled between gorgeous mountains, taking in family fun at the park by the river and exploring the large local market, make for a very enjoyable day. And if you’re considering a move to Ecuador, Paute may be a city worth considering especially for those that want a warmer climate and don’t mind the slower pace of life that comes with a small city.