Our hike through Mirador de Turi Ecuador and the Cuenca Countryside was like stepping back in time. Small farms dot the landscape and friendly people were eager to talk to us.
La Iglesia de Turi Ecuador (The Turi Church) is a beautiful white church situated in the “V” of two mountains on the south side of Cuenca Ecuador. It can be seen from most places in Cuenca, making it one of Cuenca’s most memorable landmarks.
You can get to Turi by taxi (about $5), by tour bus ($8 from Parque Calderón) or by walking up 439 steps, which is the route we took in the video.
On the day of our hike, there was a Fiesta de Parroquialización de Turi celebrating 165 years since the church was built. The party started at 9am and it was still going strong at 9pm when we went to bed (we could hear it from our house almost 2 miles away).
People & Places (and Animals)
La Iglesia de Turi (The Turi Church) – Cuenca Ecuador
The Turi Church can be seen throughout Cuenca Ecuador. It’s nestled between two mountains so the white church looks spectacular against the Ecuadorian blue sky.
On the day of our hike, the church was celebrating its 165 year birthday with a parade and fiesta. The local residents were out in force to watch and participate in the activities.
The Stairs to Turi Ecuador
There are 439 steps on the hike up to the Turi Church. At an altitude of more than 8,000 feet, these steps are not for the faint of heart. Several benches offering panoramic views of the city are there for you to use. Take water. Take breaks. Take your time.
The Turi Church – Cuenca Ecuador
The church is a beautiful sight from far away and from up close.
Inside the Turi Church
The inside of the Turi Church is pretty typical for an Ecuadorian Catholic church, at least the ones we’ve seen. Some of the older cathedrals that we visited in Quito were more ornate with lots of gold leaf, but the majority of churches look like the Turi Church. It has high ceilings, several religious statues and wooden pews.
Always remember to remove your hat as a sign of respect when visiting the inside of an Ecuadorian church. If you don’t, you’ll get lots of dirty looks and someone will probably ask you to remove it.
The View from Turi
Turi offers amazing views of the Andean valley where the city of Cuenca, Ecuador is located. People have lived in this valley for thousands of years and some of the Incan ruins can be seen from this viewpoint, if you know where to look.
Fiesta de Parroquialización de Turi
The Turi Church was built in 1853, and the residents were celebrating its birthday on the day of our hike with a Fiesta de Parroquialización de Turi. The indigenous women wore their traditional vibrant colored dresses as they marched in the parade up from the valley behind the church.
Gaps in the sidewalk are a common occurrence in Ecuador so be careful to watch where you step or you could seriously injure yourself with a 5 to 15 foot fall.
While you’re busy watching for disappearing sidewalks, remember to look up, too. Racks used to keep trash bags out of the reach of stray dogs are used on walls along the sidewalks. For those of us over 5 feet tall, they can really hurt if you walk into one.
Centros de Rehabilitación Social (CRS Turi)
This is the local prison or Social Rehabilitation Center located in the picturesque farm community behind the Turi Church. Ecuador has a very low prison population, with its prisons currently at only 38% occupancy.
Part of the reason for the low occupancy rate is culture that provides the basic needs for its population, as well as their successful inmate rehabilitation programs that help keep people from returning once released. “The rehabilitation program includes work, education, sports and other activities to keep everyone busy.”
Turi San Agustín de Punta Corral – Mirador de Turi
We ate our lunch on the steps of the San Agustín Church in Punta Corral, the heart of Mirador Turi.
Church on the Hill in Mirador de Turi
We spotted this tiny church on the hill on our way back home. The Andes mountains in Ecuador are full of amazing views and beautiful churches like this.
Luis de Ecuador
We met Luis and his family on our way back home. He was extremely gracious and offered us a cerveza (beer). He welcomed us to his country, saying “Ecuador es mi país y es su país.” (Ecuador is my country and it is your country.)
His children (niños) were adorable and eager to meet a couple of gringos out walking through their countryside. Luis told us he lived in Michigan for 10 years, which is why he could speak English.
Many Ecuadorians speak English, especially in and around Cuenca. They teach children how to speak English, starting in preschool. And adults who speak English have more job opportunities so it benefits them to learn the language.
We’re often stopped on the street by Ecuadorians asking us if we speak English. They want to practice their English as much as we want to practice our Spanish.
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Spanish Words & Phrases
Hoy es domingo – Today is Sunday
el cuenco – the bowl
La Ciudad de Cuenca – The Bowl City
la acera – the sidewalk
dos vacas – two cows
el cacto/los cactus – the cactus
Centros de Rehabilitación Social – Social Rehabilitation Center
Turi Le Da La Bienvenida – Turi Welcomes You
la tienda – the store
hola – hi/hello
¿Cómo se llama? – What’s your name?
Da la mano – shake hands
Las montañas son muy bonitas. – The mountains are very beautiful.
con gusto – with pleasure/nice to meet you
Bienvenido a Ecuador – Welcome to Ecuador
Ecuador es mi país y es su país. – Ecuador is my country and it is your country.
Con gusto conocerlos. – Glad to meet you.
¡Chao! – Bye!
la cerveza – the beer