The best of Puyo, typical food and activities

The best of Puyo, city Canela, also known as “Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Pompeya de Puyo”, is the capital and most populated city of the province of Pastaza. Located in the heart of the Amazon, in the Ecuadorian East, full of magical places to visit and enjoy surrounded by nature. Puyo is in the eastern Andes at an altitude of 3051.18 ft. The city is made up of smaller towns and rural parishes and has more than 50,000 residents.

In the city of Puyo you will find a great variety of gastronomy to enjoy with new flavors and new experiences. You will discover a new world in the Amazon, with its unique and colorful parties, full of fun and its people always cheerful and quiet.

It is certainly the perfect place to spend a quiet and relaxed time away from the typical chaotic city. Moreover, the attractions you can visit and enjoy will leave you with a huge desire to return. Do not miss all the cultural wealth that Puyo has to offer.

How to get to Puyo?

To get to Puyo from Quito, you can take two alternative routes. The first one is the route Quito-Baños, which in your own car takes 4 or 5 hours approximately, if you travel by bus, the travel time is 6 hours, passing the door of the Amazon, that is Baños, head towards the heart of the Amazon, to the province of Pastaza and the city of Puyo is about an hour and a half away. During this route you will enjoy the incredible landscapes of the Amazonian fauna and its magical waterfalls.

The second route is via Papallacta-Baeza-Tena, which is 164 miles.

What is the climate of Puyo?

The climate is hot and humid every day of the year, with long and cloudy summers, while winters are short and rainy. Its average temperature is 20°C (68°F), very rarely drops to 10°C (50°F) and rises to more than 30°C (86°F). It is therefore advisable to always visit the city with a rain poncho. The highest rainfall in the city of Puyo is in March with an average of 234 mm, while in September, the driest season is 84 mm, with an annual average rainfall of 4,300 mm.

History of Puyo

The city of Puyo was founded on May 12, 1899, by the explorer Fray Álvaro Valladares, a Dominican Hispanic explorer who was on a mission there in 1671. The name Puyo comes from the kichwa Puyu, which means cloudy or fog, due to its humidity and its location close to the river.

The Kichwa Indians were the first inhabitants of the Amazon to be dominated by the Catholic Church with the Dominicans and Jesuits. They were also called Canelos, hence the name of the city. The kichwas of Pastaza are currently located in the areas of the rivers Puyo, Arajuno, Curaray, Bobonaza, Pindo, Anzu. That is why there are 131 communities throughout the territory, with more than 20,000 inhabitants in the vicinity of the city of Puyo. These communities have created their own habitat and limitations. Creating amenities in contact with the surrounding Amazon rainforest and it is very difficult to see them in the city, although they are in communication with the outside world and aware of the news.

For years the city of Puyo has been growing and expanding from the place where it was founded, the Church and its surroundings. The Cathedral of Puyo was built in 1964 by religious and local residents and was blessed in 1972, its construction lasted 4 years and the stained glass part stands out for being very detailed and built by an American nun.

In the best of Puyo: Mera

The Mera Canton consists of the parishes, Mera, Shell, and Mother Earth. It is located 20 minutes (approximately) from the city of Puyo. In this small canton is the viewpoint overlooking the forest and the river Pastaza. It is considered one of the cleanest places and a small quiet village throughout Pastaza, also where tourists enjoy the Mera dam on sunny days.

Shell Parish in the best of Puyo

15 minutes from the city of Puyo is the parish of Shell, where the first inhabitants were two foreign families. Farms were established and the foreign company Shell occupied the lands of the Orient for government-sponsored oil exploration. There is also the small Amazon airport for small planes, which serve the workers and soldiers of the area and to be able to move in the jungle without problems.

The best typical Puyo food

The best of Puyo comes with the unique cuisine in the country, with its privileged Amazonian ingredients and special flavors that have never been tried before.


Is a famous ceviche, known by an urban legend in the city since the construction of the Barrio Obrero, when the drivers of the dump truck arrived and asked for fast food with ingredients that were easy to prepare in order to continue their work.

Volquetero in Puyo has since been the typical and preferred dish for visitors, as well as the fact that since 2011 the largest dumplings in the world have been prepared, both to serve more than 3000 people. He has won several national and international awards for this reason.

How to prepare Volquetero?

In the best of Puyo, we tell you how to prepare the famous Volquetero de Puyo. You will need some ingredients, which are: corn, toast, chifles, tomato and onion and finally can tuna. The arrangement of the ingredients is as follows: “tostado y chochos” as a base, successively the “chifles” overlap, the tan is sprinkled on top and especially the tuna goes over the plate, all this can be accompanied by a delicious chili.

Maitos of Tilapia

Are other typical dishes of Puyo, made with banana leaves. These are prepared roasted so that the meat is cooked inside.


In the season from December to February, in Puyo, you will find this fruit that is cooked and can be eaten with salt or sweet.


The best of Puyo brings to your knowledge the “Chontacuros”. They are worms that inhabit the wood of the chonta palm. They are eaten raw or roasted and is an Amazonian delicacy, rich in protein.

Sugar cane

Is used to make panela, sweets, juices and various liquors such as the brandy called Puro Puyo, the Macerado or Café Arte, mixing a combination of cigar with coffee aroma and other condiments.


Is a vegetable that comes from the tender heart of the palm. It is cooked and can be eaten in salads or ceviche.

Chinese Potato and Yucca

Are tubers that, thanks to the climate and soil of the city of Puyo, have allowed their quality cultivation. The yuca was the inspiration to create several typical dishes at a famous place called Yukis, where yuca fries are replaced in fast food.


Ucuis or also called “culonas ants”, are seen flying in September, when they go out to mate. These have an exotic dish and are required by visitors in that season, very nutritious food, they are an exotic dish and required by visitors in that season.

Puyo Market

There are several markets in the city of Puyo, where you will find exotic, quality and above all unique products. In the municipality is the Central Market and along Amazonas Street is the Mariscal Market. Additionally, you will find the agricultural center called “Banana Market”. Diagonally to the Puyo fire station is the Wholesale Market. In fact, this market has begun to sell products from the mountains. The best thing is that they are open to the public every day. You will also find a variety of Amazonian products to consume at the weekend. Also, you will find fairs every weekend in Tarqui and Veracruz.

Throughout the year you can find “oritos” (Musa acuminata), a smaller and sweeter species of banana. Also, we find guava, lemon, cocoa, orange, which with its high content of vitamin C is a hybrid cultivated in the lands of Puyo.

Fauna and Flora of Puyo

The city offers a wonderful nature to admire and discover. Pastaza has 75 species of amphibians, 35 species of reptiles. It is especially different for having exotic birds, monkeys and parrots that are usually free in nature. Among the best of Puyo, in the Amazon rivers is the Paiche (Arapaima gigas). Also known as Pirarucu, it is the second largest fish in the world.

There is also a great variety of plant species, among the most popular are orchids (Orchidaceae), bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) and heliconias (Heliconiaceae). You can observe and learn more about its history and its uses in the various tourist sites in the Puyo. In fact, the Botanical Garden “The Orchids’, houses all the species of the cloud forest in an extension of 7 hectares. Another place for information is the “Omaere Ethnobotanical Park”. In addition, you will receive information on how to handle the secrets of the medicinal plants of the Amazon, without using chemicals, shredding leaves, making them stick or boiling as infusions or teas.

Along with the tropical climate of the city is the guayusa (Ilex guayusa), used mainly for the preparation of aromatic teas. Especially, if you add lemon and panela from the region, it becomes a delight for the palate. As well as the Jamaica Flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which is grown in the eastern areas. Likewise, it is used as tea to accompany typical dishes, or as a sweet preparation.

Many of the Amazonian plants have been used for several years to cure sinusitis, allergies, increase fertility, to heal wounds, inflammations, infections.

Economy Puyo

The capital Puyo is the main city of economic income in the Amazon region Pastaza. The main activities of this city are agriculture, livestock, handicrafts, liqueur preparation and tourism. Trade, agriculture and tourism have been the main keys to make the city grow, make it more beautiful and of quality for all residents and visitors.

In recent years, the economy of the city of Puyo has been revived to the fullest thanks to popular actions and productive activities that have been organized in detail.

Festivities Puyo

Among the best of Puyo, you will find the parties in the city, in addition to the traditional ones with family gatherings, are mainly held in the month of May. Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Carnival (mid-February). Above all, they are celebrated during the weekends, for the foundation of the city on May 12. First is the civic event, then it gives way to its festivities throughout the month. These celebrations include parades with native dancers, dancers from city associations, students and residents who wish to participate. In addition, several artists from the province and guests from other regions participate in the Malecón del Río Puyo. These artists are singers, presenters, dancers, artisans, and painters. They certainly represent the fantastic nature that surrounds them by presenting themselves with painted bodies.

Also, these celebrations continue in August, the month of tourism, taking advantage of the fact that the students are on holiday and thus also promote the sport, which is very important in the life of the people, especially the youngest ones are prepared for the cycling races, the youngest ones in motocross and older ones in the 4×4 races.

These festivities are joined by the Agricultural Fair on August 10, extending its festivities throughout the month. This month is taken advantage of because the rains end and the sunniest and hottest months begin, to visit all the spas in the city and its surrounding, taking advantage, also, of the arrival of tourists from all over Ecuador.

What places to visit in Puyo?

Puyo offers many places in the city and its surroundings to visit and enjoy the sunny days in the company of your loved ones.

"Barrio Obrero"

located on the edge of the Puyo River, where you will find bars, discos and above all restaurants, where you can taste the famous tilapia maito and volquetero. In this area you will find fun, safe and full of cheerful people who enjoy a quiet walk or their delicious food.

Tourist walk

Located in the Barrio Obrero, on the banks of the Puyo River, is an ecological trail in the shape of a circle of approximately 2 km (1.24 mi). It is ideal for walks during the day surrounded by a unique nature.

Omaere Ethnobotanical Park

Omaere Ethnobotanical Park is located on the Paseo Turístico, in the Barrio Obrero. It is a place where you will find reptiles, birds and medicinal plants. It was one of the first ethnobotanical parks in Latin America, with the cultivation of unique plants for the indigenous people of the East.

The Catholic Cathedral of Puyo

“Nuestra Señora de Pompeya”, in front of the Parque Central, Doce de Mayo, where there is a monument in honor of Fray Álvaro Valladares, adorned with a colorful pool. It should be emphasized that each park in the city of Puyo has its own space for the fun of the little ones.

The Ethno-Archaeological Museum

In the city center, two blocks from the Cathedral, where you will go back in time with the history of the city and its 420 ancient artifacts, as well as the fauna and culture exhibits of the Orient.

House of the Balsa

Located in the neighborhood of El Dorado, in the city of Puyo, is a shop with thousands of handicrafts made with wood of Balsa, Chonta, Clay and Amazonian seeds, you will find bracelets, earrings, necklaces, mini sculptures of fauna and flor, ornaments for your home. Ideal for the tourist to take a souvenir of the trip embodied in ornaments or jewels.

Botanical Garden “Las Orquídeas

Located in the southern part of the city of Puyo, in the Los Angeles sector. Here you will find medicinal plants, various types of orchids, even the smallest in the world, which you can see with a magnifying glass and learn how to use and care for them.

Royal Exotic Bird Park

Located 1 km (0.62 mi) from the center of Puyo city, in the neighborhood of La Unión, via Macas, is a special place for the observation of exotic birds from all over the world, through trails decorated with flora of the Orient, you will meet about 500 captive birds, of all colors and sizes.

Zoorefugio Tarqui

They are dedicated to the rescue of wild animals from the East, which have been captured by illegal trafficking, and they try to raise awareness about this problem in the country, demonstrating to visitors the importance of conservation and helping with scientific research in this field.

Parish of Veracruz

Where during the festive season the National Bodypainting Festival is held in the parish and in Puyo. These competitions have been held for several years to promote tourism in the area and to express this type of art in the body of models with representations of oriental flora and fauna.

Indichuri Viewpoint

Located at km 12 via Macas-Pomona, passing Veracruz, from the city of Puyo, where you will make a quiet walk to the highest point, you will enjoy the beautiful view of the Ecuadorian Amazon, with the imposing Pastaza River and in the distance, you will observe the Sangay Volcano, the Amazonian volcano in continuous process of eruption. In this incredible place, take the opportunity to jump safely from the swing and observe the wonders on offer; also, rest in the hammocks to observe the magnificent and exclusive sunset.

"Hola Vida" Tropical Forest Reserve

Located at km 16 of the Puyo-Macas road. This private reserve offers a magical place where you can walk on a natural path, observe flora and fauna, until you reach the Hola Vida Waterfall, with a height of about 30 m. in this space you can relax, swim and stay in the natural pool that is formed.

"Piedra Negra" Spa

Located on the Cabeceras road of Bobonaza, passing Veracruz, to the left. It is a quiet place where you can go on a sunny day with loved ones and enjoy a totally natural environment, away from the chaos and annoying noises. This spa takes its name because in the middle of the pond there is a large black stone. This Ecotourism Project has been created to preserve its Amazonian environment with the construction of cabins near the waterfall and the river that accompany this cozy place.

Piatúa Spa Puyo-Tena

Is a completely natural space, where the river passes with its warm and transparent waters, where nature stands out in its splendor and on the outskirts of this magical place, delicious tilapia maito are waiting for you in the restaurants of the area.

Lookout Miramera

Is located in the canton of Mera, it is a viewpoint where you can enjoy the scenery of the Amazon rainforest and the great Pastaza River, while you jump on the swing or sit on swing like a nest, to capture those unique moments in a photograph and remember it for your whole life.

Rafting en Puyo 

Is known as one of the greatest attractions in extreme and adventure sports, because it is practiced on the most famous rivers of Ecuador, in its white water, with inflatable boats lood proof, you can choose the level of difficulty to go rowing on the warm rivers and their turbulence. One of the main places for rafting is undoubtedly Cumandá, on the Puyo-Baños road. In these magical places, you can also practice adventure sports among the spas, waterfalls, rivers, such as rafting, kayaking on the Pastaza River, cycling and tarabita rides.

There will always be places to enjoy in the city of Puyo and its surroundings, for children, youth and adults. There are some restaurants far from the center, where you can enjoy sport fishing, which consists of fishing your own fish from the artificial pools they offer you and asking them to cook it as you prefer.

Where to stay in Puyo?

In Puyo city and its surroundings, you will find the best places to stay and relax, surrounded by nature, with unique and comfortable experiences, all away from chaos, immersed in a world of relaxation, to enjoy the facilities that are presented.

Inn: "Flor de Canela" in the Puyo

Is located across the bridge of the Puyo River, across the pier. It is one of the first hostels built in the Puyo city, to enjoy a rest and relax in the typical cabins that it offers, you will also have at your disposal swimming pool, restaurant, trails, which on many occasions have hosted important events such as the election of the queens and Miss Ecuador with the participation of beautiful young Amazonian women.

Inn: "El Pigual"

Is another option for your lodging if you want a quality ecological area. It is located on the other side of the Puyo River at one end of the pier. This is built for the comfort of all people, with facilities also, for people with different abilities. You can enjoy its services such as swimming pools, courts and its theme park, with trails and decorations of Amazonian flora, where you can hold excellent social events, seminars or photo sessions.

Inn: "Hachacaspi" in the Best Puyo

Is located via Tarqui at km 3, in Puyo city, in the neighborhood “El Paraíso”. It offers you a super relaxed space with a construction between the rustic and the modern, you will feel the most indulged, having fun in the pools and with the excursions that the staff will provide you, it also has enough space to hold social events.

Gringo Yacu Tourist Development

Is located at km 12 via Puyo-Macas, in the “Nuevo Mundo” Community. It is created for the reactivation of tourism, where you can go hiking, observe flora and fauna for the proper respect and use through experts, also offer canoe rides and the most fun is allowed to camp in the available spaces and swim in the chorrera that is offered.

Hostel Safari

Is located on the Puyo-Tena road, at km 5, which presents a fantastic infinite peace in its facilities surrounded by the Amazonian nature, its unique sounds and its warm smell of freshness, will make you forget the chaotic city, with its cozy facilities.

Guambula farm in the city of Puyo

Located in the parish of Tarqui, in the city of Puyo, it is a great property in the middle of the Amazon jungle, where you can enjoy the facilities, the patios, the swimming pools, the wonderful landscape and sunset. You can also go hiking to the riverside and enjoy fishing in the artificial pools. The best of Puyo with its magnificent facilities with a natural touch.

Curious date of Puyo

About the culture of Puyo

  • In the city of Canela you can do Community Tourism, visiting the indigenous communities, to share experiences and learn about their culture. The Amazonian region of Pastaza has seven indigenous nationalities: Waorani, Shiwiar, Achuar, Shuar, Sapara, Andwa and Kichwa. Among these nationalities are the Amazanga Community and the Iwia Community, of the Kichwa nationality, located on the Tarqui-Chinchayacu road, where you will discover how to make handicrafts, while you know the farm, the river, and the trails, you will know its gastronomy, the art of fishing and you will be enchanted by their jungle stories. Other communities you can visit are Kotokocha and Sacha Wasi, on the Puyo-Pomona Road, to enjoy the culture with their community members.

  • Throughout the city of Canela, from its entrance to the center, the spas, the parks, you will find sculptures representing the fauna, flora, and oriental culture.

About the gastronomy of Puyo

  • The Chinese potato is a tuber that is grown in the lands of the East, among the most cultivated in Pastaza in agricultural areas, to strengthen the economy and is marketed throughout the country.

  • In the city of Puyo you will find exquisite ice cream based on exotic fruits. All fruits presented are natural, not artificial at all. Its flavors are varied, with mixed chopped fruits of banana, papaya, guanabana, strawberry, and grape, so you can enjoy them on the hottest and most relaxed days.

More interesting facts about Puyo

  • Neisi Dajomes, the Olympic medalist, was born in the city of Shell, the “cradle of Ecuadorian women’s pesos,” along with her two partners who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last July. Neisi Dajomes, 23, won the gold medal by lifting a total of 263 kg, climbing the Olympic podium for the first time, Tamara Salazar was second on the Olympic podium and Angie Palacios, 20, took the Olympic title in sixth place. The Dajomes and Palacios sisters participate from a very young age in weightlifting competitions, inspired by the older brother and with the support of the whole Shell family.

  • The Pastaza River, formerly known as the Sumatara River, is a tributary of the Marañón River and reaches the countries of Ecuador and Peru. It is also one of the most important tributaries of the Amazon River, the longest and most abundant river in the world. It is located between the Sangay and Los Llanganates National Parks, with an extension of 700 km (434.96 miles) approximately.

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