Hiking in Lower Cajas National Park – Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 72)

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We went on another hiking adventure just 40 minutes west of Cuenca to Lower Cajas, which is part of Cajas National Park.

Lower Cajas National Park Map

It took about 10 to 15 minutes to drive from highway 582 to the trailhead parking lot. It was free to enter, but we had to show our cedulas (or passports would work). There are no food services so bring your own snacks.

Lower Cajas Sign

After a short 5 minute walk from the parking lot, the covered jungle trail opens up to Lake Llaviucu (pronounced ya-vē-oo-koo), a picturesque glacial mountain valley lake nestled between two high mountain ridges. Llaviucu is a Quechua name, which is the native language spoken by Ecuador’s first people.

Cajas Lake Llaviucu

Lower Cajas Lake Llaviucu

Lower Cajas Lake Llaviucu

The valley is dotted with boulders left by ancient glaciers.

Lower Cajas Glacial Rock

The mountain views in Lower Cajas are simply amazing. Indescribable. My camera and video skills did NOT do it justice. You really have to see it for yourself, if you’re able.

Lower Cajas Mountain

Lower Cajas Valley

Sometimes we felt like we were in the movie Avatar with the steep mountains above and clouds below the peak making them look like they were hovering over the earth.

Lower Cajas Mountain Clouds

Lower Cajas National Park is an alpine rainforest so it’s wet and humid, but a little chilly. We recommend taking multiple layers that are easy to put on and take off. The temperature varied quite a lot in the span of a few minutes from chilly to warm and from warm to chilly.

It was also quite muddy and slippery so be sure to take an extra pair of shoes and socks for the ride home (and a plastic bag to put the wet ones in), or some waterproof boots would be even better. Amelia stepped on what looked like a nice grassy area and sank up to her shins in mud. She just laughed like she always does when something like that happens. I would NOT have been happy!

Lower Cajas Muddy Boots

We also spotted lots of beautiful flowers, and if you’re an orchid lover, this is the place to find wild ones. They were growing all over the trees!

Lower Cajas Orchids

Lower Cajas Orchid

We also saw this ancient Polylepis Tree. Edwin said it’s probably over 200 years old. They’re normally very small shrub-like trees.

Lower Cajas Polylepis Tree

Lower Cajas is home to wild llamas who were slightly curious about us, but mostly indifferent. We were able to get very close to them and they didn’t seem scared of us at all. Is it just me or do they remind you of French aristocrats from the 1800’s? Hopefully that doesn’t offend anyone 😬

Lower Cajas Llamas

The park is incredibly well-maintained. The trails are well travelled so they’re easy see, the docks on the lake and the walking bridges are in great condition, and we saw virtually no litter. I did pick up a button that could choke a llama, as well as some fishing line that could strangle a bird, but other than that, the park was very pristine.

Please, leave no trace fellow hikers.

Lower Cajas Button

Edwin has been in several of our videos now and he was elated to share Cajas with us. Ecuadorians are very proud of their country, as they should be.

Edwin is our friend and driver. In fact, he picked us up at the airport in Guayaquil when we first arrived in Ecuador. And he’s been driving us ever since. He’s super safe, extremely nice and very reliable. He also speaks fluent English. If you need a driver here in Cuenca and the surrounding areas, let us know and we’ll connect you with Edwin.

Lower Cajas Edwin

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Ecuagenera Orchid Farm Tour + La Casa de Macanas & Paute Ecuador (Episode 66)

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Ecuagenera Orchid Farm

We stopped at the Ecuagenera Orchid Farm in a previous video, but the farm tour was closed that day. Going back for the tour has been on our list for almost a year so we were happy Edwin was available to take us.

Ecuagenera Pink Orchid

Our video doesn’t do the orchid farm justice. To get the full effect of being surrounded by the vibrant colors and immersed in their strong fragrance, you really need to visit yourself. While the tour was in Spanish, we were able to understand most of what our guide said and Edwin helped us fill in the missing pieces.

We didn’t realize how much effort goes into raising orchids! Our guide told us it takes 5 years for an orchid to grow large enough to be sold, and they cost $100! They truly are an amazing flower!

Casa Museo de la Makana

After we left Ecuagenera, we went back to Casa Museo de la Makana to get the official tour from the owner, José Jiménez. He is somewhat of a celebrity in Ecuador because his picture is on billboards throughout the country advertising his business. Edwin was very excited to meet him!

José Jiménez Casa Museo de la Makana

When we visited last time, it was also closed but one of los hijos de José gave us an impromptu tour. This time, we got to see the whole operation in full motion. Everyone was working!

Casa Museo de la Makana Billboard

El Centro y El Mercado en Paute, Ecuador

After we left Casa Museo de la Makana, we asked Edwin to show us the pueblita where he lives, Paute, Ecuador. A billboard on the way into town advertising dish soap has (I think) inadvertently given the town a motto: Tierra de Buenos Esposos. This translates to Land of Good Husbands, implying the husbands help out around the house by washing dishes. We all got a good laugh about that, especially after my comment in our Cost of Living in Cuenca Ecuador video!

Paute Tierra de Buenos Esposos

We enjoy visiting the small towns in Ecuador because it’s like stepping back in time. Lots of people can be seen walking around the city centers, conducting their daily business, relaxing in the parks, or just living their lives.

The mercados are always a favorite attraction, too. They’re full of indigenous people selling the most beautiful looking fruits and vegetables!

Pauto Mercado

Amelia even bought a bag of weeds to make some traditional Horchata Tea. In fact, I’m drinking a cup right now and it’s delicious!

Horchata Tea

We’ve known about Horchata Tea for a while and drank some in a previous video when we went to San Bartolomé Ecuador, but we were kind of afraid to make it. Edwin helped us out by asking for 50 cents (cincuenta centavos) of the plants and told us we just need to take a little bit of each and steep it in hot water like we would any other tea. It was super easy to make and we’ll be having it often now.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Girón Ecuador Waterfall + Hiking at Laguna de Busa (Episode 57)

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This is a SUPER relaxing video…es MUY relajado con muy tranquilo senderismo (it is very relaxing with very calm hiking).

NOTE: In the beginning of the video, Amelia said we went to visit Girón and asked if I enjoyed the natural beauty. However, we didn’t conjugate the verb “to enjoy” correctly. The past tense conjugation of “enjoy” in Spanish is “disfrutó” not “disfrutió”. Lo siento 🙁

We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Edwin driving through the picturesque Ecuadorian countryside, hiking around Laguna de Busa, doing a little scary rock climbing and hiking up to a waterfall outside of Girón, Ecuador.

If you’re near Cuenca, Ecuador and need a reliable, safe driver who speaks fluent English, please let us know. We’d be happy to connect you with Edwin!

Laguna de Basu in San Fernando, Ecuador

It takes about 1 hour to get to Girón from Cuenca, and another 3o minutes to drive up to San Fernando and Laguna de Busa.

Cuenca Ecuador to Laguna de Basu Ecuador

Normally, the entrance fee to the park is $5 each, but it was a slow day and the attendant let us in for $1 each since we had our cedulas. She would have charged us $2 if we were foreigners (extranjeros).

Laguna de Busa Boardwalk

The hike around the lake is idyllic with the boardwalk hovering above the marshes and views of the lake dotted with several different species of waterfowl. We even had a complimentary companion dog to escort us on our walk/hike. He was so adorable!

Laguna de Busa Ecuador

Ecuador is known for its beautiful flowers, which you can see on full display around Laguna de Busa.

Laguna de Busa Flower

At the far back corner of the lake, the trail divides and goes in two different directions. One direction heads back around the lake and the other heads up to the top of the mountain behind the lake.

Laguna de Busa Ecuador Amelia Rock

The hike through the jungle behind the lake was beautiful, but very difficult. It was simply too steep for us, with too many rocks to climb. My hiking boots wouldn’t grip anything and I slipped and nearly fell several times. Edwin said it was pretty much like that on the entire hike, so we decided to turn around rather than risk injury. If you’re not very fit or lack hiking experience, stick to the boardwalk around the lake.

Laguna de Busa Rock Climbing

Girón Ecuador Waterfall

After we hiked around Laguna de Busa, we drove back down the mountain toward Girón to visit one of the many waterfalls in the area.

Laguna de Basu Ecuador to El Chorro Ecuador

You’ll notice in the picture below, there are cows in the foreground with clouds in the background…both above and BELOW the cows! Ecuadorian clouds seem to defy the laws of nature, often appearing below and above us a the same time.

Girón Ecuador Clouds

The waterfall outside Girón that we visited was in El Chorro. It was a short hike from the parking lot up well-maintained stairs. The entry fee was $1 each ($2 if you don’t have an Ecuadorian cedula).

Girón Ecuador Waterfall

Amelia really enjoyed this part of our tour. She found the waterfall and the 5 meter deep pool at the bottom of it very fascinating.

Girón Ecuador Waterfall Amelia

This rope bridge crossed the river, which was about 3 meters below. Amelia joked with me about walking across it “for the amazing video opportunity,” but thankfully the tiny gate had a lock on it. I could have easily stepped over the gate, but let’s not tell her that!

Girón Waterfall Bridge

If you’re an orchid connoisseur, you’ll appreciate the abundance of orchids in Ecuador, and on this hike. They really do seem like alien plants, and they grow in the weirdest places.

Girón Waterfall Orchid

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

>> Amelia: Hola veggie lovers.

Fuimos a visitar Girón y

JP, ¿disfruta la belleza natural?

>> JP: Sí.

>> JP: I don’t think that’s right.
>> A: I don’t think that’s right.

>> A: Cuz I don’t know how to say,
“did you enjoy.”

>> JP: Disfrutio.

>> A: Disfrutio.

>> JP: Yeah. Disfrutio.

>> A: Well, we went to Girón,
and we enjoyed the natural beauty.

>> JP: Yeah. We’re going to show you
all the beautiful scenery in this video,

including a waterfall and a really cool..

..scary, scrambling hike that we had to
turn around because I couldn’t..

I kept falling. [Laughing]
>> A: Yes.

It was more like bouldering.

Is that what they would call bouldering?
>> JP: Yeah, bouldering.

>> JP: Yeah.
>> A: Yeah.

We weren’t quite prepared for that.

>> JP: Nope.

And please remember to subscribe to our
YouTube Channel.

We have a lot of really exciting
adventures coming up

that are in the works,
in the planning phase.

And we’re not ready to talk about em yet

but they’re really cool!

>> A: Yes they are!
>> JP: Once in a lifetime..

>> A: I know I’m so excited.
>> JP: We have a once in a lifetime

opportunity and we’re
really excited about it.

>> A: Yes. Right Licia?
>> JP: Yeah, and Licia is too.


>> JP: Alright, please remember to
subscribe to our YouTube Channel

and ring that little bell so you get
notified when we upload our newest videos.

And we’ll see you after we show you the
footage from our hike today.

>> A: Yep. See you in a few.

[Upbeat Music]

>> JP: Bye Bye sweetheart. Bye Bye.

We are on our way with Edwin our driver.

He’s also going to be our
tour guide today.

We’re gonna go to Girón and hike and
>> A: Busa Lake.

>> JP: What’s it called?
>> A: It’s called Busa Lake.

>> JP: Busa Lake in Girón

and hopefully see some waterfalls, too.

And we’re hoping that the weather
is conducive

because right now it’s a little rainy
here in Cuenca.

But Girón is quite a ways away from here.

Should be different weather.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

[Welcome to Girón]

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> A: We’re getting ready to go explore
Laguna de Busa or Busa Lake.

It was about an hour and a half to
get here from Cuenca

so not bad at all and the drive was
really beautiful.

[Bird Singing]

>> JP: Hey puppy.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> JP: It’s like the jungle.
>> A: I know.

>> JP: Welcome to the jungle, baby!
>> A: It’s cool.

So I was reading.. they normally
charge $5.

I think a person.

>> JP: Where?

>> A: If you’re a tourist.
If you’re an extranjero.

We got the Ecuador rate, a dollar.

>> JP: We have a complimentary hiking dog.

He’s showing us the way around the lake.

>> A: I’m standing on the bridge

that takes us either around, back all
the way around to the cars.

There’s a nice easy walking trail
around the lake.

Or there’s a hike to my left here,
to your right,

that takes us up to the top so we’re
gonna go head in that direction.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> JP: You made it. Yay!
>> A: [Laughing]

>> A: I’m not sure how to get
through here.

Ahh! Ahh! [Laughing]

>> JP: Don’t fall over!
>> A: I’m a little top heavy.

>> JP: [Laughing]

>> A: [Laughing]

>> A: I did it.

>> A: That is a big rock.
>> JP: Give us the Rockie..

>> A: Oh.
>> JP: Rockie.


>> JP: Well mountain climbing is not
in the deck of cards for today.

My boots are very very slippery on
these rocks for some reason.

I’ve got really nice hikers but they’re
not good on these rocks.

I just keep slipping every time
I take a step.

So we’re gonna head back and
go find a waterfall.

>> Edwin: Like this.
>> A: Ok.

>> JP: You got that Amelia?
>> A: No, but I’ll do my best.

>> E: Just put your hand here.

But, turn around. Ok. That’s it.

Put one hand there. Your left.

That’s it.

Yeah. You got it. You’re there.

You’re there.
>> A: Oh yeah.

>> E: You’re there. Yeah.
>> A: [Laughing]

>> E: You’re there. That’s it.

>> A: So you basically do slide down.

>> A: [Laughing]

>> A: Alright JP.

>> JP: You made it.

>> A: But now you gotta do it.

It’s definitely a lot slipperier
than we expected,

however, this is a rainforest so I
don’t know what we were thinking.

I did see JP fall down twice..

..slide down those rocks so that’s
kinda scary.

So I think we made the right decision to
turn around.

And I guess we need to get some different
shoes for next time.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> A: It is so picturesque up here.

It is.. muy tranquilo.

Actually this is, “laguna?”

>> JP: Lagunda Busa.
>> A: Busa.

So, it’s muy tranquila. [Laughing]

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> JP: We’re gonna head back down

the road that we drove up

and go hike up to a waterfall that’s..

it’s down closer to Girón.

We’re actually in San Fernando here
in this park, Laguna de Busa.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

>> A: Look behind you JP.

There’s a big waterfall!

>> JP: Where?!
>> A: Acá!

[Waterfall Sounds]

>> A: The waterfall is amazing and

this little bridge over here
is terrifying.

I told JP he should walk across it

cuz it would make really good video
but he said no. [Laughing]

[Waterfall Sounds]

>> A: The waterfall is beautiful.

This whole area is beautiful.

There’s a.. I guess, I guess you’d call
it a lagoon.

I’m not sure what you would call that
right underneath..

>> JP: [Inaudible]
>> A: A what?

>> JP: A pool.
>> A: A pool.

Ok. A pool underneath the waterfall
that’s 5 meters deep.

It’s very deceiving cuz it looks like it
would be really shallow.

Now I’m enjoying some delicious Canelazo

that came with our entry into
the Girón falls

which cost us a dollar. It’s a dollar if
you have your cedula

it’s 2 dollars if you do not.

>> JP: We had a really nice time today
with Edwin our driver and..

coming to Girón and San Fernando.

And now we’re gonna head back to Cuenca.

It’s about 1:30 in the afternoon.

We’ve had our Canelazo and I’m
super relaxed now. [Chuckling]

Alright, we’ll see you when we get home.

>> JP: We’re home!

We’re home!

Are you glad we’re home?

Wow! Someone’s all excited!

>> A: Que bonito, ¿verdad?

>> JP: ¡Sí! ¡Muy bonito!
>> A: Sí.


>> A: Y muy relajado.
>> JP: Muy relajado.

Yeah. The countryside.. on..

driving between Cuenca and Girón was

just a beautiful drive.

>> A: It is very peaceful.

>> JP: And it’s really cool to come over

the top of the mountain over.. on the..

south side of Cuenca and..

with the view of Girón below and clouds

like below.. in between..
>> A: I know. It’s so cool.

>> JP: It’s so cool to see that.

>> A: Yeah. That never gets old.

>> JP: It doesn’t get old.

The clouds are in the weirdest spots here.

>> A: Yeah. [Laughing]
>> JP: They’re often below you.

>> A: Yeah, it’s quite fascinating.
>> JP: It is.

>> A: It is really interesting.
>> JP: It is really cool.

>> JP: So we uh.. the hike was pretty

>> A: JP developed a new
sliding technique.

>> JP: Yeah! [Laughing]

>> A: Which he actually intending to develop.
>> JP: [Laughing]

>> JP: Yep. It wasn’t fun for me.
>> A: No. So we turned back.

>> JP: Yeah. It was the best thing to do,

unfortunately, it was a really
cool looking hike

and it was the first time I’ve ever been
in a rainforest before

and it really felt like a jungle.

And I was disappointed that we had to
turn around, but..

>> A: It was very wet.

>> JP: It was wet and my boots were..

they have these hard rubber soles and

they were just slipping on those rocks.

Like a slippery bathroom floor.

>> A: Yes. [Laughing]

>> JP: And it was.. yeah.. I was not..

not feeling it.. feelin it today.

>> A: That’s ok because..

there’s another hike so we are going to
go back and do that one..

maybe in a couple weeks.

There’s a hike to a bigger waterfall

that’s still part of Girón.

And Edwin said that that’s about a 2 hour
hike and he said it’s moderate.

So in between the really super crazy steep
bouldering hike that we attempted to do,

and the walk up to the first waterfalls..
>> JP: The waterfalls.

>> A: which was basically
just a staircase.

>> JP: Yep. So he said it’s a little bit
harder than that

but not as hard as the other one.
>> A: Yeah.

>> A: Not those big rocks.
>> JP: So we’ll do that

in some future video. We’ll go back and

and hike up that trail.
>> A: Yeah. I’m pretty excited about it.

>> JP: Yeah. But we’ll probably
go to Cajas first.

The Cajas hike
has been on our list forever.

>> A: It has.

There’s so much to do here.
>> JP: I know.

>> JP: Or the Orchid Farm.
>> A: Yes.

>> JP: We want to go back to the
Orchid Farm, too.

>> A: I know and well we wanna
go out to Quito.

But we gotta go and stay there for weeks

to get everything checked off our list.
>> JP: I know.

>> A: This tiny country
has SO much to offer.

>> JP: It does.
>> A: It’s incredible.

>> JP: It’s so diverse within just a

few miles you could be between a jungle

and a desert.
>> A: Yes. I know.

>> JP: Or mountains and ocean.

It’s got everything. Volcanoes.

You can go skiing, I guess,
or hiking in the snow.

>> A: I don’t know about skiing.

>> JP: Our driver was telling us that
they hiked up the volcano

the highest volcano and they were almost
to 19,000 feet and it was a blizzard

came in.. and there was a team Russia

and a team from France and they were all

really mad cuz everybody
had to turn around.

>> A: Yeah. Well that would be

>> JP: I guess they were.. he said it was
white-out conditions.

You couldn’t see anything.

Which is weird to think
that’s on the equator.

>> A: I know. It is weird.

>> A: But 19,000 feet.
>> JP: Yeah. 19,000 feet is really high.

Alright, well we hope you enjoyed our
tranquilo video

of Girón and the waterfalls and

Laguna de Busa.
>> A: de Busa.

>> JP: Laguna de Busa.

I cannot get that right. I keep wanting
to say Basu.

>> A: I don’t know what that is.

>> JP: BUSA. Laguna de Busa.
>> A: Busa.

>> A: Sí.

>> JP: Anyway it was really beautiful,
>> A: It was.

we really enjoyed it.

We’re, we’re tired now.

>> A: We’re nice and chillaxed.
>> JP: Yep.

>> A: But, we do have to walk Daisy.
>> JP: Yep.

>> A: She did not get her
walk this morning.

She was not very pleased.
>> JP: No.

Alright. That’s it.


>> A: That’s it!
>> JP: That’s it!

>> JP: That’s all folks. Beedee beedee..
>> A: ¡Hasta la vista!

Is that the saying?
>> JP: Hasta la vista baby.

>> A: Hasta la.. [Laughing]

>> JP: Alright we’ll see you next time

and please remember to subscribe and
ring that bell.

>> A: Ring that bell.

>> JP: See you soon.
>> A: Thanks veggie lovers.

Ingapirca Inca Ruins + La Cara del Inca – Ingapirca Ecuador 2019 (Episode 53: Part 3)

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This is Part 3 in our 3-part series from an excursion we took with Flavio from Polylepis Tours northeast of Cuenca, Ecuador to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. Our third stop was in Ingapirca, Ecuador.

Ingapirca Ruins Map

Drive from Cañar to the Ingapirca Inca Ruins

The drive from Cuenca to Biblián, then to Cañar, then to Ingapirca and finally back to Cuenca was stunningly beautiful. The Ecuadorian countryside is lush and green with rolling mountains and blue skies with white billowy clouds. The old adobe houses with tile roofs dotting the green pastures made us feel like we stepped back in time.

The houses in the picture below are much newer and larger. Flavio told us that a lot of people who live in this area have family who immigrated to the United States 30 or 40 years ago, but still send money back to their families here in Ecuador. They use the money to build big houses.

Ecuador Countryside

Ingapirca is an important archaeological site in Ecuador. It’s considered the second largest Inca ruins in South America, second only to Machu Picchu. In reality, it’s a combination of Cañari and Inca ruins. The Cañari people have been living here for nearly 1500 years and the Inca only arrived a little over 500 years ago.

El Templo del Sol or the Temple of the Sun (shown below) was built on top of the Cañari infrastructure. You might notice in this picture and in the video that there is no safety wall or railing on the temple. One wrong step and it’s a straight drop of more than 50 feet to certain death on the rocks below. In Ecuador, you’re responsible for your own safety. The state doesn’t spend much money on railings.

Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador

El Templo del Sol or Temple of the Son Inca Ruins – Ingapirca, Ecuador

Ingapirca Temple
El Templo del Sol

After wandering around the ruins and learning all about their history from Flavio, we walked along a narrow dirt trail for about a half mile to La Cara del Inca or the Face of the Inca. This is a rock formation that the looks like a face.

La Cara del Inca - Ingapirca, Ecuador

La Cara del Inca – Ingapirca, Ecuador

It’s common for people to pose for pictures with the Inca “face” in the background.

La Cara del Inca - Ingapirca, Ecuador

La Cara del Inca – Ingapirca, Ecuador

You may have noticed this house in the video. It’s located below La Cara del Inca and from our observation, the long walk along the dirt trail is the only access to this house. There is an indigenous woman standing on the porch looking up at all the tourists and behind her house is a long drop to the river below, which is probably where she gets her water. You’ll notice there are no power lines running to her house so she likely has no electricity. This is a slice out of history.

House Below La Cara del Inca

House Below La Cara del Inca

Here’s another slice out of history. I took this photo in black and white to make it more realistic.

Ingapirca Adobe House

Ingapirca Adobe House

You may have noticed lots of llamas in the video. They roam freely around the Ingapirca ruins. In Ecuador, they’re nature’s lawnmowers.

Ingapirca Llama

We thoroughly enjoyed our full-day tour with Flavio and Christian from Polylepis Tours. Flavio even arranged for us to have a vegan lunch at one of the restaurants at Ingapirca. If you’re in Cuenca and need a great tour guide, we can’t say enough good things about Polylepis Tours.

Ingapirca Ecuador

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

JP: Hey veggie lovers I’m JP with Vegans
Abroad and this is Amelia, mi media naranja.

JP: That’s “my better half” in español. Mi media naranja.

Amelia: Which is funny because that translates to medium orange (laughing)

JP: or middle orange. A: But ok, I’ll take it. JP: Anyway.

JP: This is part 3 in our three-part series to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca.

And in this video it’s all about Ingapirca, which are the Incan ruins that are just northeast of Cuenca.

A: Yeah it was incredible.

I hope you guys really enjoy the footage and

the experience as much as we did.

JP: It was really cool.
A: Yes.

A: We post videos every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern and we do stick around for about

an hour afterwards so if you guys want
to engage with us online give us a shout out.

JP: Ask questions about veganism or
living abroad or whatever.
A: What have you.

JP: Or anything about the video.

A: Yes. That too.
JP: We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

A: Absolutely.

A: Please remember to subscribe. Ring that little bell so you get notified on our latest and greatest videos

because we also have some cooking videos coming up and we’ll see you soon.

♫ upbeat music ♫

♫ calm music ♫

Flavio: OK my friends. Firstly, welcome to Ingapirca archaeological site.

This is one of the most important
archaeological site in Ecuador.

F: It’s considered the second important in South America. You know Machu Picchu.
A: Yes.

First one more important and Ingapirca is the most important for us in Ecuador.

Okay? The first culture here was Cañari ok
the Cañari culture. They call it Hatun Cañar.

And then the Incas come to here to re-found it with the name Ingapirca.

F: The Incas Wall. Ingapirca means Incas Wall.
A: Ok.

F: Now we walk around an hour twenty minutes more or less and then come back. Ok?
A: Ok.

Here extract scopolamine. It’s a hallucinogen plant. It’s a drug. Oh it is?

F: They call it the Trompeta de Angel.
A: They’re all over the place.
F: The angel’s trumpet.

A: Oh.
F: Trompeta de Angel.

The Incas use it to connect with the motherland, the Pachamama the different gods.

Yeah? Like a spiritual.

♫ calm music ♫

It’s a Cañari tomb, yeah, all the cadavers the rest of the people probably was an

important woman, yeah, priest like this
like a 10 or 12 youngest like offers or sacrifices.

A: Oh.
F: Now all the rest stay in the museum.

It’s like a ceremonial bath. Outside from here it was a meeting point for the Cañaries or the Incas.

When they have, for example, the sun festivals, June, July the solstice.

F: Temple, the people walking here and take a little bath like a purification.
A: Ok.

A: Then they go up to the temple.
F: These are ceremonial baths.

F: Construction was an important a different to Peru.
A: Right.

F: Have a big like avenues.
A: Right.
F: The Inca trails.

Recover the stones, yeah? Here is only
little portions yeah some portions in

different parts of the mountains. The
Cañaries used, the Inca, sorry, used these kind of canals.

A: Yeah.
F: To avoid the floated the water to destroy the road.

A: They were very smart.
F: Really really smart. It is an aqueduct.

A: Yes.
F: Yeah, it is an aqueduct.

We’re walking through
the ruins of Ingapirca. It is amazing.

I didn’t realize there was Cañari and
Inca architecture combined here so over

here you can see the rocks that look
like they just came right out of the

river are Cañari and the ones that are
shaped like bricks are from the Inca.

The llamas are looking very chillax today it is a perfect day to relax up here.

♫ calm music ♫

F: Both cultures here.
A: Yeah it looks like one on top like they built on top of the Cañari.

F: Uh-huh. But in the middle we have a Cañari wall. The Incas only…

A: That was smart.
F: Cover. Yeah?

In front of you we have a room of
the Incas room and here is call it aguila wasi.

Wasi is a Quichua word. Aguila mean
like a virgin or chosen, yeah, the chosen.

And wasi mean house as a chosen
house. The Incas collect young girls

young girls and prepare it here to serve
the Inca, yeah, to clean, for food, for…

It was a protocol was an important for your families the families of the girls was

an important the Incas chosen for your
daughter to offer.

F: But probably they serve is all they would yeah. Serve, cooking, cleaning and probably sexual.
A: Probably.

F: 12, 15 girls here.

♫ calm music ♫

A: We are in front of the Temple of the Sun. So the theory is is that if you can see

there’s four squares behind us and those
represent the four solstices so as the Sun

hit at different directions it would
shine on the rectangles so they used it

kind of like a calendar and then they used it for their religious ceremonies

or I don’t know if religious
is the right word they used it for ceremonies.

We’re on the other side. This
side faces west and in the summer

solstice the Sun is exactly overhead. Apparently there’s a big festival here

that’s very popular with the indigenous people and people throughout South America

will come between… What did he
say? Around June 20th? …for a long weekend

of festivals…celebrations.

♫ calm music ♫

Outside of the ruins we followed a path
down to La Cara de Inca or the Face of the Inca,

which some people say it was handmade
some people say it’s nature.

I think it’s nature personally but it does, if you look at the profile, it does look

like a nose. Got the forehead, the nose,
the moustache.

Now we are gonna eat some lunch because JP and I have definitely worked up an appetite

seeing all the sights and walking along all the ruins at this high elevation we’re feeling a

little thirsty and out of breath, but it’s
been fantastic!

JP: Wow I hope you enjoyed that footage as much as we enjoyed recording it.

A: Yeah, I loved it! I was so amazed by the ruins. I had no idea that Ingapirca was the second largest

Inca ruins in South America so it’s pretty
cool that it’s so close by that we can

go check it out and I loved the drive
through the country there and going back.

JP: Yeah, the countryside was just incredible.
A: It just doesn’t it looks like something off

of a postcard. It doesn’t seem real, but, it is.

History was really fascinating. I didn’t realize that the Inca had built

right on top of the Cañari infrastructure there.

JP: Yeah it was pretty neat how they combined, you could see the

different stones, the rounded stones were from the Cañari people

and the Incas were, they carved their
stones so they were more square.

A: Yeah and it’s just fascinating to think that this whole other civilization lived there in

the mountains in it I mean there’s still
so little we really know.

A: I think it’s really cool. I hope you guys liked it.

JP: And a big thanks too, to Flavio and…
A: Polylepis

JP: and Polylepis Tours and Christian our
driver. They were fantastic.
A: They were.

JP: And Flavio helped us he got us a vegan lunch at a restaurant that’s right there at

Ingapirca so we were pretty happy with him for that.

A: We certainly were.
JP: We were starving by the time we got to lunch.

A: We did of course have our backup PB&J’s.
JP: We did. (laughing)

A: But they were not needed.
JP: We didn’t eat them.
A: No.

A: Please remember to subscribe and ring
that bell to get notified on all our

latest and greatest. And we will see you soon for our next set of adventures.

JP: Bye.
A: Bye veggie lovers!

We feel like we’re on top of the world we are at the top of the Andes Mountains

and what’s amazing is that you can see the cloud forest in the background.

the clouds hanging below the mountaintops. So cool.

La Ciudad de Cañar Ecuador 2019 | Sunday Indigenous Market (Episode 52: Part 2)

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This is Part 2 in our 3-part series from an excursion we took with Flavio from Polylepis Tours northeast of Cuenca, Ecuador to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. You can view the video from our first stop in Biblián here: La Virgen del Rocío | The Church Built Into a Mountain in Biblián Ecuador 2019 (Episode 51: Part 1).

Our second stop was in Cañar, Ecuador.

Cañar Map

Drive from Biblián to Cañar

Cañar is the ancestral home of the indigenous Cañari people who have lived in this region of Ecuador for nearly 1500 years. Every Sunday, people come from miles around to the indigenous market in the center of Cañar.

Mercado de Cañar

Mercado de Cañar


You can find all sorts of things at the indigenous market, such as jewelry, rope, clothes, fresh fruits and veggies, beans, seeds, masks, toys, etc. The masks shown below and in the video were for the New Year’s Eve celebration. People wear these masks to act out a scene and then often burn the masks along with their monigotes.

Monigote Masks

Monigote Masks

You can learn more about this in our New Year videos: Preparing for New Years in Cuenca and New Year’s Eve Apocalypse in Cuenca Ecuador.

We thought the tire planters were really cool. They take old tires and turn them into planters or water bowls. They come in all different sizes, from small to very large. On our drive through the countryside from Ingapirca back to Cuenca we saw lots of these in people’s yards.

Tire Planter

Our next stop is Ingapirca to visit the Cañari and Inca ruins. We’ll show you that interesting experience in our next video.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

>> JP: Hi veggie lovers. I’m JP with Amelia And JP
and this is Amelia.

And there was Daisy sneezing over there.
>> Amelia: Yes. [laughing]

>> JP: This is part two in our three-part series to
Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca.

>> A: Correct.

>> JP: And in this video we will show you Cañar
and the indigenous marketplace there.

>> A: We will. It was quite a change,
like I said in our previous video,

to go from Biblián, which was pretty tranquilo
to the indigenous market which they hold every Sunday

and it was packed with people and
it was massive! It was..

>> JP: It was a lot of people.
>> A: The whole downtown area was filled with

everything you can imagine.
>> JP: Lots of indigenous people.

It was really neat to see their dress.
>> A: Yes. Yeah.

>> JP: So alright. So please remember to
subscribe to our YouTube channel.

We post videos every Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time

so if you subscribe and hit that little
notification bell down below

then you’ll get notified when we post our
videos and you can hang out with us

for an hour or so and ask any questions you
might have about either the video or

just life living in Ecuador or veganism
or anything you want.

>> A: Yes.
>> JP: Alright, so we’ll see you after this video is over.

>> A: See you soon.

[Upbeat Music]

>> A: We are in the city of Cañar.
We’re walking through the Sunday indigenous market.

So they have their mercado every day
like every other city

but on Sundays they come out in full force so you can
get everything from wholesale grains, beans..

We’ve got fruits and vegetables behind us.
Clothing. They’ve got the masks for

New Year’s Eve celebrations. Some toys,
jewelry, a little bit of everything.

We’ve also observed several vendors
selling what appears to be, I don’t know,

>> JP: Snake oil.
>> Amelia: Snake oil.

Some sort of concoction that’s supposed to
cure all your ailments

and they charge a pretty penny for it.
We did see some really cool reuse of tires.

So they’ve taken the tires and made them into
planters or baskets or whatever,

which I thought was quite fascinating
and a fantastic idea.

And apparently they’re very popular for
using in your outdoor gardens

and even use the large tires to plant trees.

We’re gonna continue to tour the markets
and this city of Cañar before we

head over to Ingapirca.

>> Flavio: But you can see that the womans,
for example, look at the womans..

The little bows.. on the hat..
this is a representation for example,

the womans have bows to back are married.
They put in front, are singles.

>> A: Ah. I didn’t know that.

>> F: You find in the market all kind
of different product.

You know “trueque”? Trueque is like interchange.
They change the products.

I have a sheep.. He change with you…
>> A: Oh. Like bartering.

>> F: We call it trueque in Spanish, trueque.

Wheat, barley, faba beans, different kinda beans.
Corns. Different kind of corns.

>> A: I see that.

[Speaking Spanish]

>> F: This will be you first celebration of
the New Year?

>> A: We were here last year, but
JP was sick so we missed it.

>> F: Ok.
>> A: So this year we’ll be heading out and

observe the burning of the monigotes (effigies), fireworks.
>> F: [Laughing]

>> F: The corruptions, bad people
representing this kind of mask a lot of people.

The mayor’s, presidents..
>> A: Evil clowns. [laughing]

>> F: Yeah. Clowns or sport people
and this is one of the most traditional

representation of the end of the year.

>> A: Oh. Okay. Wow that’s really cool.
Who knew it was a cousin to the potato.

It’s a very small pear from here, from Cañar.
A type of pear.

What is that reddish plant there?
>> F: The red one, the name is ataco.

Is a traditional plant. The local people use it
to make a traditional beverage

called horchata, for example, and we use it, ataco
and another kind of plants, flowers..

This is named Agua de Frescos.
>> A: Oh. I see.

>> F: [Inaudible] and all these kind of plants.
>> A: T hat’s really really pretty just on its own.

>> F: Yeah. It’s pretty and its really healthy.
>> A: I would have never guessed you made tea

out of all that. So how do you do that?
>> F: You need to boil it.

>> A: So.. do you just.. put the whole thing
in a giant pot?

>> F: Nah. It’s possible.. with a big family..
>> A: Yeah. Oh, I see. Okay.

>> F: But only for you, only piece of the plant.
Boil it and make a tea with sugar or without sugar.

You decide. It is so good.
>> A: Wow.

>> F: Agua de Frescos.
>> A: Agua de Frescos.
>> F: Or Horchata.

[Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> JP: Hopefully you enjoyed our trip to Cañar
and the indigenous marketplace

on our way to Ingapirca.
>> A: We enjoyed it.

It was a lot of interesting people watching.
A lot of interesting things to see

meaning there was a big variety.
I was surprised how many nylon ropes I saw.

>> JP: Yeah. There were a lot of ropes.
>> A: Lot of rope for sale in the indigenous market.

>> JP: And those rubber tire things were cool.
>> A: Yeah, those were cool.

It was also interesting, there was a couple
booths set up with people selling like

lotions and potions and potions.
>> JP: Magic potions.

>> A: Yes, as JP called them snake oil salesman and
Flavio was telling us that sometimes the

police will crack down on them because
they’re making these claims

of all these great health benefits and
blah blah blah and charging like 20 bucks for

a little bottle, which is really expensive,
and I guess sometimes people

will go and complain to the police and
then they chase em out.

>> JP: Yeah, they chase them out of there.
>> A: We didn’t see anything that exciting.

It was pretty.. yeah it was I guess what I
assumed to be a normal day,

normal Sunday at the market.
>> JP: It was really neat to see

all the indigenous people and their
and their indigenous wardrobes.

>> A: Yes. I feel very tall
when I’m around them.

>> JP: Yes. [Laughing] Some of those women
especially.. they can’t be more than 4 feet tall.

>> A: No.. they’re pretty small.
>> JP: Yeah, Amelia is a head taller.

That’s a lot. That says a lot.
>> A: I know. Crazy. [Laughing]

Alright, thanks for tuning in.
Hope you enjoyed it.

>> JP: And please remember to subscribe and
hit that notification bell.

>> A: Yes please do and we will
see you for part 3.

[Blooper Beep]

>> A: We’re in the zone. Let’s do it.
>> JP: We’re in the zone?

>> A: We’re in the zone!
>> JP: Ok.

Remember to look here.

La Virgen del Rocío | The Church Built Into a Mountain in Biblián Ecuador 2019 (Episode 51: Part 1)

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This is Part 1 in our 3-part series from an excursion we took with Flavio from Polylepis Tours northeast of Cuenca, Ecuador to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. Our first stop was in Biblián, Ecuador.

Cuenca to La Virgen del Rocío

Cuenca to La Virgen del Rocío

Biblián is home to El Santuario de la Virgen del Rocío, or the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Dew. This church was built into the side of a mountain after the residents of Biblián believed a miracle happened.

La Virgen del Rocío en Biblián

La Virgen del Rocío en Biblián, Ecuador

A long drought in 1883 killed all the crops in the area so a farmer placed a statue of the Virgin Mary on the side of the mountain and prayed for rain. Within a few days, the rain came and saved the crops and the people. Soon after, construction of the church began to honor the Virgin Mary and the miracle.

La Virgen del Rocío Statue

La Virgen del Rocío Statue

The church is literally built into the side of the mountain with the altar and support structure carved into the stone. The Catholic people believe this is a very holy site so they place important pictures, plaques and other trinkets in and around the church and pray for miracles.

If you’re familiar with Catholicism, you’ll recognize the Stations of the Cross in the video on our hike up to the top of the mountain above the church. This is a steep hike and a challenging climb at such a high altitude, but at Easter we’re told this trail is packed with people of all ages and abilities performing the Stations of the Cross.

Virgen del Rocío Station of the Cross

Virgen del Rocío Station of the Cross

This informational plaque on the top of the mountain tells us a little about the Canton of Biblián. While veganism is growing rapidly here in Ecuador, many of the traditional dishes are of animal origin.

Virgen del Rocío Informational Plaque

Virgen del Rocío Informational Plaque

We’ve noticed that the Ecuadorians don’t have the same issues with meat reality as Americans. It’s common to see the entire animal, head, hooves/claws and all, served up for everyone (including children) to see.

To us, it’s utterly disgusting, but they’re exposed to it from birth so it seems normal to them. Along with several Ecuadorian vegan friends who are equally disgusted, we’re working to help people realize animals are here with us, not for us. As the rates of diet-related disease increases here, they are becoming more open to the idea of returning to their traditional mostly plant-based diet.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Flavio and Christian.

Biblián Stairs


Our next stop is la Ciudad de Cañar to visit the Sunday indigenous market. We’ll show you that interesting experience in our next video.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

>> JP: Hi veggie lovers!
I’m JP and this is Amelia.

And we’re with Amelia And JP.

This is part 1 in our three-part series from an

excursion that we took north-east of

Cuenca to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca.

>> A: Yes. Yes. Biblián was our first stop

and my favorite part was going to see

El Virgen del Rocío, which is the church that

is built right out of the mountainside.

It is incredible and I think you all

will like it as well.

>> JP: It is really incredible.

Alright so we post videos every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and

we hang out for about an hour afterwards

to answer any questions
you guys might have.

So please subscribe to our YouTube

channel and hit that little
notification bell.

Where is it? Down here somewhere?

Hit that notification bell
so you make sure

and get notified when we post new videos.

And we’ll see you after this

after we show you the sights of Biblián.

>> A: Yes, see you soon veggie lovers.

[Upbeat Music]

>> Flavio: My name is Flavio.

I am the tourist guide.

And introduce you to Christian our driver.

>> Christian: Hi.
>> JP: Hola Christian.

And now we need to drive to Ingapirca
archeological site.

One of the most important
archaeological sites in in Ecuador.

And different stops, for example,
in the..

Virgen del Rocío church,

indigenous market

and I hope you two enjoy it.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

The capital of Cañar province…

…probably in the city we have about 60

50, 60 percent of the people, the families

who have immigrants in the US.

The economy from these little

towns it moves from the immigrants.
They send money. Yeah?

>> A: That’s wonderful.

>> JP: So the people move to the states
or move to another country and

then send their money back?
>> F: Exactly.

The live in the US. Yeah?
People live in the US.

They go 30, 40 years ago, probably.

>> JP: And they still send money back

to the family.
>> F: Exactly. Yeah.

This is the reason it’s normal
in this kind of mountain

we find a beautiful houses.
Big ones.

Good constructions. These are the people
who send money.

>> A: Yeah.
>> F: Yeah.

They are like they’re rich people
in mountains. Yeah?

Indigenous people.

It’s like a competition.

>> A: Really?
>> F: Yeah.

>> JP: [Laughing]
>> A: Interesting.

>> F: This is my BIG house

and probably my family sent me
a lot of money.

And they have a BIG one, house.

The construction of the..

..Virgen del Rocío church..

Virgin of the Dew, no?

Rocío dew

>> JP: Virgin of the Dew.
>> A: Oh. Ok.

>> F: The dew.

1883.. and the temple, the construction
of the temple, was in 1924.

>> A: Oh. Ok.
>> F: Yeah.

[Calm Latin Guitar Music]

Zhalao hill the name of the mountain here.

But, around 1893,

in this part..

we have we have a big problems
with the drought.

>> A: Oh. Ok.
>> F: The drought. Yeah?

and.. the people, local people
come to here with a

little image of the Virgin.

But, it destroy everything.

The farms don’t have a more production
of the vegetables, you know?

And talk with a bishop and
come to here

the Zhalao hill..

and put the little image of the Virgin

in a little hole like a waiting

a miracle, okay?

and the next day or a few days..

>> A: It starts to rain.
>> F: Yeah.

This is the dew, okay?
>> A: Okay.

The dew and say well is a miracle
of the Virgin.

This is the name it, for example,

Virgen del Rocío

The Virgin of the Dew, yeah?

And then all the Catholic people come to here and

the different processions bring all the

materials from the mines near to here and

they construct this kind of church.

It’s like a faith. Faith of the people.
>> A: Yes.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> F: Look at this.

This is an actual mountain. Rock.
>> A: Yeah.

>> F: And the church is carved
in the middle of the rock.

>> A: It’s amazing!

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> F: In every little towns,

the towns in Ecuador.

Soccer field.
>> A: Oh, of course.


>> JP: It’s the second church.
>> F: Exactly! Yeah!

>> F: Second temple.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> A: We’re up on the top of the mountain

and right behind me is a Azogues and

Virgen del Nubio or Virgin of the Clouds

so we’re standing on the Virgin of the Dew

so Virgen del Rocío and then
over to.. my..

>> JP: In that direction.
>> A: In that direction.


My left; your right.
Is Cuenca.

So we’re not that far.

It’s absolutely beautiful.

>> JP: Where are we?
>> A: We’re in Biblián.

>> JP: Biblián?
>> A: Yes, we are in Biblián.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

It’s very peaceful up here and it’s also

good preparation for Cajas because we’re
at higher altitude.

Although I’m not really feeling it.
JP is.

>> JP: Yeah, I can’t breathe.
There’s no air.

>> A: It’s not that bad.

We’re still alive.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> JP: What are we looking at?

>> A: That giant bug!

It doesn’t even look real!

>> A: That’s a good idea.
>> F: The dimensions.

>> A: Yes..

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

This church is built into the side of
the mountain.

It’s incredible. You can see the rock
right behind me.

There’s also pictures.
And those are pictures of

loved ones that they place here
to keep them safe.

Our tour guide Flavio is saying that

sometimes it’s people who are going to

the US and they won’t here for them for

months so they look at this as a form of

protection and also for people

undergoing surgeries and
things like that.

[Calm Acoustic Guitar Music]

>> JP: Hopefully you enjoyed the beautiful

scenery in Biblián and the Santuario..

El.. What is it? El Virgen del Rocío?
>> A: Sí. The Virgin of the Dew.

>> JP: The Virgin of the Dew.
>> A: Rocío means dew.

>> JP: And Amelia thought it was really cool that

they built this in the side of a mountain.

>> A: I think it’s incredible, and
they built that by hand.

It’s amazing!

>> JP: Yeah it was a 100 years ago
120 years ago

they built it by hand out of the side of..

the mountain is the inside the church.

It was really cool.

>> A: Very cool.

>> JP: And we walked up to the top

and the Stations of the Cross

if you’re Catholic you know what

that means. Amelia’s not Catholic.

>> A: JP had to explain this.
>> JP: Yeah.

So I was raised Catholic and so they had

the Stations of the Cross that lead all

the way up the mountain and I guess

people come up there and do the Stations

of the Cross around I guess..
>> A: He said Easter.

>> JP: Easter. it’s mainly at Easter time.

And they.. it’s really steep and
to go up..

>> A: Well and he said that elderly and the sick do it

everybody comes and does it in the area

comes for the Stations of the Cross.

>> JP: So if you saw all of those
white and blue crosses in the video,

that’s what those were:
the Stations of the Cross.

>> A: Yes.

>> JP: Alright so stay tuned for our next video

which is going to show you Cañar and

the indigenous indigenous marketplace.

>> A: Yeah, that was a major change
from Biblián.

>> JP: Yeah a big change from Biblián,
like going back in time.

>> A: It was fun.

>> JP: Alright. We’ll see you next time and please

remember to subscribe and hit that
little bell.

>> A: Isn’t it down here?
>> JP: I don’t know.

It’s down here somewhere.
>> A: I think it’s down here.

>> A: Alright, bye.
>> Buh bye.

[Blooper Beep]

A: They also have something else
going on in January 20th you know

there’s always celebrations happening in

and around the Cuenca-land area.

>> JP: That was irrelevant. [Laughing]
>> A: Ok. [Laughing]

>> JP: Unrelated to what we’re talking about.

>> A: Well.
>> JP: Anyway.

>> A: Anyway.
>> JP: Anyway.

Chordeleg Ecuador – Miniature Ceramics & Filigree Jewelry (Episode 16/Part 2)

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For our first tourist-y excursion since we’ve been in Cuenca, Ecuador, we took a trip east of town to three different artisan villages: San Bartolomé, Chordeleg and Gualaceo. This video covers the second town of Chordeleg, Ecuador, which is famous for its miniature ceramics and filigree jewelry.

Be sure to check out our other video from this excursion to San Bartolomé Ecuador (Part 1).

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful Andean scenery, the picturesque town of Chordeleg, and the interesting people we meet along the way. We’ve also included some Spanish language learning opportunities for you.

Please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this video, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel.

People & Places

Miniature Ceramics in Chordeleg Ecuador

Miniature Ceramics Workshop in Chordeleg Ecuador

Our first stop in Chordeleg was at a miniature ceramics workshop. This craftsman has been making these figurines and pottery for more than 26 years. He learned the trade from a well known expert in the area.

Like many family trades, this one is also in jeopardy. There used to be a lot of ceramic artisans in Chordeleg, but only a few remain. Just like in San Bartolomé where guitar craftsmanship is taking a backseat to other opportunities in Cuenca and beyond, the same thing is happening to the miniature ceramics family tradition.

Filigree Light Posts in Chordeleg Ecuador

Earring Lightpost Far Chordeleg Ecuador

Earring Lightpost Chordeleg Ecuador

These filigree-style light posts are all over the center of Chordeleg. This is their trademark style for jewelry design as you can see in the photo below.

World’s Largest Earring

World's Largest Earring Chordeleg Ecuador

This giant filigree style earring is about as tall as Amelia. It’s estimated worth is over $100,000! It was made many years ago as a competition with San Bartolomé, who had already made the world’s largest guitar.

Filigree is a style of jewelry design that uses tiny strands of metal, usually silver or gold. Most of the jewelry we saw in Chordeleg was made from silver filigree.

Amelia in Jewelry Analysis Paralysis

Amelia Jewelry Shopping Chordeleg Ecuador

There are over 70 jewelry stores in the tiny village of Chordeleg and most stores have very similar types and styles of jewelry. Our guide, Wilson, introduced us to a shop owner (probably for a cut of sales), but Amelia couldn’t decide. There were just too many things to look at and she felt overwhelmed.

The filigree jewelry and sculptures are truly beautiful. We went on a Sunday so unfortunately, none of the craftsman who make the jewelry were available for a demonstration. We want to go back during the week when the shops are less busy and hopefully a craftsman will be available to show us how they make these amazing designs.

Town Square in Chordeleg Ecuador

Town Square Chordeleg Ecuador

It was cloudy all morning during our tour of San Bartolomé and on the drive to Chordeleg, but the sun came out just when we arrived. The square in the center of town was full of beautiful trees and blooming flowers. A lot of people were sitting on benches enjoying the sun and the view.

Church Square in Chordeleg Ecuador

Church Square Chordeleg Ecuador

Church was in-service when we arrived and we could hear the people singing inside. The doors were left open, and we saw several dogs running in and out of the church.

Chordeleg is high up in the Andes Mountains at nearly 8,000 feet. The air is crisp and clean, and it feels like you could reach up and touch the clouds.

European Street Corner in Chordeleg Ecuador

Street Corner Chordeleg Ecuador

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re in South America because so many of the places we’ve visited in Ecuador have such a European feel to them. Looking at this street corner with the flower covered balcony and Spanish architecture, it felt like we were in a Spanish village…and I guess we kind of were.

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Spanish Words & Phrases

¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name?
Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
El gusto es mío – The pleasure is mine
¿Se que país viene? – From what country did you come?
Estados Unidos – United States
¿Sí le gusta Cuenca? – Do you like Cuenca?
Pequeña ciudad – Small city
Quinientos mil habitantes – 500,000 inhabitants
Tiene Cuenca – Cuenca has

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video