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Rock Climbing in the Rain at Cojitambo Ecuador (Episode 89)

When Stephen said he wanted to come visit us here in Cuenca Ecuador, his main request was to do some adventure sports. Lucky for him, our friend Pietro is a rock climber and we have a great climbing mountain not far from Cuenca called Cojitambo.

If you missed our last video showing Stephen playing like a kid at Aventuri Cuenca, you can check that out here: Aventuri Adventure Park in Cuenca.

Terminal Terrestre de Cuenca

We started our day by taking a $2 cab ride to Terminal Terrestre de Cuenca near the airport. From there, we took two buses to get to the base of Cojitambo.

Cuenca to Azogues to Cojitambo

It costs 10 cents to enter the area where the buses are located. Pietro bought the tickets for us at this kiosk, which allowed us to enter through the gate to the bus loading zone.

Pietro Terminal Terrestre Tickets

The bus ride from Cuenca to Azogues was 75 cents and the bus ride up to the base of Cojitambo was 50 cents. In total, counting the cab rides, we spent $4.70 to get to Cojitambo and another $4.50 for both of us to get back home.

Terminal Terrestre “Segundo Serrano” in Azogues

The Terminal Terrestre “Segundo Serrano” in Azogues is much smaller than Cuenca’s bus terminal, but it does have several food vendors and shops, plus a bathroom. Stephen walked into el baño de las mujeres (on the right) and was quickly ushered out by the bathroom attendant. Pietro said that Stephen must have thought he was in Scotland and the ladies bathroom sign must have represented a kilt. 😂

Terminal Terrestre Azogues

We changed buses to go from Azogues to the base of Cojitambo.

Azogues Terminal Terrestre to Cojitambo

Rock Climbing at Cojitambo Ecuador

The bus dropped us off on the main road and we walked about 1 to 2 kilometers up a dirt road to the base of Cojitambo.

Cojitambo Bus

Amelia and I visited this mountain on our exploratory trip just over 2 years ago. On the top of the mountain there are more Inca ruins and beautiful views of the surrounding area. You can even see the Biblián Church from there.

We went to the base of one climbing wall, but right when we arrived there, it started raining really hard.

Cojitambo Climbing Wall 1

Pietro said it would be too difficult to climb that wall in the rain so we walked a little further up to a wall that wasn’t as steep.

Cojitambo Climbing Wall 2

It was raining very hard but they still climbed anyway. You can see the rain in the video and this picture.

Cojitambo Climbing in the Rain

I was really impressed with Stephen’s climbing ability. He scurried up the wall like an expert! And in the rain, no less!

Stephen Top

Stephen Repelling

After Stephen repelled back down from his climb to the first pitch, he and Pietro went back up to the second pitch, which was higher and steeper.

Stephen Pietro Climbing

If not for the rain, they would have kept climbing, but we were all soaked so after two climbs, we called it a day and headed back to Cuenca. You can see how hard it was raining from the river running down the road.

Cojitambo Road River

It was so wet, this cute little bug couldn’t keep his wings dry despite his best efforts to wipe them clean with his leg.

Cojitambo Bug

Here are some stills of the flower shots I took.

On the walk back down the road to the catch the bus back to Azogues, we saw lots of chickens with dogs maintaining a watchful eye on them.

Rooftop dogs are a common sight in Ecuador. These guys were so cute!

Just as we reached the end of the dirt road, a bus going back to Azogues stopped to drop some people off and we hopped on to start our journey back to Cuenca. It was sunny for most of our walk down the mountain, but it started to rain again as we approached the main road. You can see the water on my lense.

Cojitambo Bus to Azogues

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!

Hiking in Upper Cajas National Park – Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 79)

Hiking Upper Cajas National Park just a short drive from Cuenca Ecuador is an otherworldly experience that makes it hard to believe you’re still in Ecuador. If you’re looking for things to do in Cuenca, this should be near the top of your list.

Edwin picked us up about 9:30AM and the drive took us about 45 minutes to reach the check in station.

Cuenca to Cajas Map

Entry into Upper Cajas National Park is free, but we did have to sign in at the building by the parking lot before venturing down the trail toward the lake.

Upper Cajas Lake

We followed Ruta 1 Rosada, which was an easy/intermediate trail. There was quite a bit of elevation gain and loss with a few spots that were quite difficult to traverse so I would consider it intermediate, not easy.

Upper Cajas Ruta 1 Rosada

We saw lots of mushrooms and beautiful flowers, but this lone yellow flower set against a dark backdrop was truly stunning.

Yellow Flower

These circus flowers were also visually captivating.

Circus Flowers

Edwin was nice enough to hike up the 1,000 foot incline at the end of the hike to get the van. My legs haven’t fully recovered from the nerve damage so they were very weak by that point. Edwin sent us down the hill to the lower parking lot where he picked us up. If you need a safe and reliable driver who speaks fluent English and really takes care of his clients, Contact Us for an email introduction.

Edwin

Hiking in Upper Cajas National Park is an unforgettable experience. You can keep it easy by hiking around the lake that’s a short walk from the parking lot, you can do the intermediate hike that we did, or you can climb up a mountain and scramble across boulders. There’s something for everyone, including exotic bird watching.

See More: Cuenca Parks

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!

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

We went on another hiking adventure just 40 minutes west of Cuenca Ecuador to Lower Cajas National Park. This area of the park is much different than Upper Cajas. It’s much greener with lots more trees. If you’re looking for things to do in Cuenca, this is a great activity that most people can do.

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

See More: Cuenca Parks

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!

Cuenca Ecuador Fitness: Aerial & Pole Fitness w/ Fit Alliance + Panda Cakes Cuenca & Doggie B-Day! (Episode 64)

On this Day In The Life, Fit Alliance held their open house at JungleGym so we got a firsthand look at Cuenca Ecuador Fitness. What a beautiful and fun way to exercise! We also talked to Paola from Panda Cakes Cuenca, had Thai food for lunch and went to a doggie birthday party!

Cuenca Ecuador Fitness with Fit Alliance

We were lucky enough to get special aerial and pole dance performances from two of the Fit Alliance instructors! Wow! What a fun way to burn calories!

Aerial Dance Cuenca

Of the two, aerial dance looked more difficult than pole dance. However, they cater to all levels so almost anyone can do some basic moves and work up from there.

Cuenca Ecuador Fitness Aerial Dance

Cuenca Ecuador Fitness Aerial Dance 2

Pole Dance Cuenca

Amelia did pole fitness for several years back in Denver, Colorado so she was really excited to see it here in Cuenca. She went to several classes and really enjoyed it. However, she prefers her Tribal Fusion belly dancing and there isn’t enough time in the week to do both. It was a tough decision, but she opted to stick with belly dancing for now. She may go back to pole dancing later.

Cuenca Ecuador Fitness Pole Dance

Aerial fitness and pole fitness are growing in popularity here in Cuenca. Fit Alliance offers classes for all levels so even if you’ve never done them before, you can still do this Cuenca Ecuador Fitness.

Panda Cakes Cuenca Ecuador

We also talked to Paola from Panda Cakes Cuenca who was selling delicious desserts and protein bars that she and Pietro make. Be sure to check them out if you’re in Cuenca. You can contact them on their Facebook page.

Panda Cakes Cuenca

A Pedir de Boca Cuenca Ecuador

After the Fit Alliance open house, we had a delicious lunch at A Pedir de Boca. We love their Thai Veggie Bowl with More Veggies!

A Pedir de Boca Thai Veggie Bowl

Maxi’s Doggie Birthday Party in Parque Paraíso

We started our day at a doggie birthday party for a tiny Chihuahua named Maxi who just turned 5 years old. Daisy was invited to the birthday party by Maxi’s mom, Jessica. She runs Maxi’s Pet Care and watches our girls when we’re out of town. Daisy had a BLAST at the party and slept the rest of the afternoon!

See More: Cuenca Parks

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!

Laguna de Busa Girón Ecuador + WATERFALLS!!! (Episode 57)

We hope you enjoy our Laguna de Busa Girón Ecuador Hiking and Waterfalls as much as we did! This is a SUPER relaxing video from our very enjoyable hike with Edwin.

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 trip from Cuenca 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 Busa Girón Ecuador

It takes about 1 hour to get to from Cuenca to Girón, 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 Laguna de Busa Girón Ecuador 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 Girón Ecuador 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 Girón Ecuador Lake

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

Laguna de Busa Girón Ecuador 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 Girón Ecuador Hike

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 Girón Ecuador 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

You might also enjoy our hikes in Cajas National Park:

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?

[Laughter]
>> 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.

[Laughter]

>> 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.
[Laughter]

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

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

[Laughter]

>> 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.

[Laughter]

>> 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
treacherous.

>> 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
disappointing.

>> 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.

[Laughter]

>> 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.

Hiking in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Marietta GA (Episode 37)

When we’re with Amelia’s family in Atlanta, hiking in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is our favorite cardio activity. The scenery is breathtaking and the Civil War history is interesting, but it’s sad to think how many Americans died on this mountain fighting over the right to own another human being.

Some canons still remain, along with the trenches and embankments dug out by soldiers on both sides. It may be beautiful now and full of wildlife, it must have been hell on earth back in 1865.

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

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Cuenca Ecuador River Walk: Tarqui, Yanuncay, Tomebamba, Milchichig & Machángara (Episode 25)

Today, we decided to do a Cuenca Ecuador River Walk along the 5 rivers that run through the city: Tarqui, Yanuncay, Tomebamba, Milchichig & Machángara.

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Map

The Tarqui meets the Yanuncay not too far from our house so we started there. Then we walked along the Yanuncay to the point where it meets the Tomebamba, which is the main river that runs through the center of Cuenca.

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Agave Plant

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Yellow Tree

Then we ventured down to the Milchichig where it joins the Tomebamba. The Milchichig river is actually more of a stream and most people don’t refer to it as a river. However, on the day of this walk, we had had a lot of rain so it was unusually full.

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk New Bridge

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Graffiti

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Bridge

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Trees

After the Milchichig, we wandered down to where the Machangara river joins the Tomebamba, which is where we ate our lunch sitting on a log with the river behind us. It was cloudy for the entire walk and started to rain on our walk back home, but it was pretty warm.

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Flowering Bush

Our Cuenca Ecuador River Walk was a lot longer walk than we expected and we were exhausted by the time we got back home.

Cuenca Ecuador River Walk Health Stats

See More: Cuenca Parks

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A Hike Up the 439 Turi Church Steps + Mall Del Río & Feria Mascotas in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 5)

Today, we decided to hike up the 439 stairs to the Turi Church again here in Cuenca Ecuador, just for exercise (yes, I also think Amelia is trying to kill me!).

Then we circled around to Mall del Río where we went shopping for a new pair of shoes for me, but we bought Amelia new shoes and shirts, instead. Then we went to Parque El Paraíso for the Feria Mascotas (Pet Fair).

People & Places (and Animals)

Turi Church Steps Cuenca Ecuador

Turi Church Steps Cuenca Ecuador

We like to hike up the 439 Turi Church steps mainly for exercise, but the views are also incredible. Check out our other Turi Church Hike in Cuenca Ecuador for more info on Turi and more beautiful scenery.

Recoja el Excremento De Su Mascota

Recoja el Excremento Cuenca Ecuador

This sign reads “recoja el excremento de su mascota” which literally translates to “pick up your pet’s excrement” but a more accurate translation would be “pick up your dog’s poop.”

These signs instructing people to pick up after their pets are in most parks, but they don’t provide poo bags, so remember to bring your own.

Río Yanuncay – Cuenca Ecuador

Yanuncay River Cuenca Ecuador

There are 5 (yes, I was right) ríos or rivers that run through Cuenca: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Tarqui, Milchichig and Machangara. The Tarqui runs into the Yanuncay. Then the Yanuncay, Milchichig and Machangara all feed the Tomebamba river. The Tomebamba river joins other rivers in Ecuador, and eventually feeds the Amazon River that leads to the Atlantic Ocean over a course that’s nearly 4,000 miles long.

Río Tarqui – Cuenca Ecuador

Tarqui River Cuenca Ecuador

The Tarqui River joins the Yanuncay River not far east from where Amelia is standing. Then the Yanuncay River meets the Tomebamba River on the easternmost end of Parque El Paraíso.

Tarqui River Park

Tarqui River Park Cuenca Ecuador

I’m not sure what the name of this park is, but it’s right next to the Tarqui River. Cuenca has a lot of these types of beautiful statues/art in their parks.

Shopping & Offices

Veinticuatro de Mayo Shopping & Offices Cuenca Ecuador

There are a lot of new developments around Cuenca, despite a tax law passed by the former president, Correa, that nearly killed the construction industry in Ecuador. The new president, Moreno, had a special referendum and the people overwhelmingly voted to remove the tax and now construction is expected to resume.

As a result of the decreased construction over the past few years, there is a major housing shortage in Ecuador, and especially, Cuenca. Due to the shortage of supply and increased demand, the cost of both homes for rent and for sale has increased. This has forced thousands of young people in Cuenca to continue living with their parents, even after they get married and have children. They’re hopeful that more housing construction will increase the supply and decrease the cost.

Gato Raro (Rare Cat)

Street Cat Cuenca Ecuador

There are cats in Ecuador, but they’re not nearly as common as dogs. We rarely see cats on the street, most likely because of the abundance of dogs that roam the streets looking for food. It’s reasonable to assume street cats don’t have a long life expectancy here….

Roundabouts Galore in Ecuador

Panamericana Highway Roundabout Cuenca Ecuador

Los redondeles or roundabouts are far more common here than in the states. The majority of major intersections are roundabouts, and they’re also common in the middle of highways, like this one in the Panamerican Highway.

Stop signs also seem to be completely optional here. “Pare” means stop, but very few people stopped at this one. As you can see in the video, the silver truck blew through it at about 50 mph!

Turi Church Steps Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia Turi Church Steps Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia loves to torture me with exercise, especially the Turi Church steps. There are 439 steps up to the Turi Church and I always spend most of it looking at her backside. Thankfully, it’s a nice view 😁

It’s a tough hike, but the views are amazing!

Turi Church (La Iglesia de Turi) – Cuenca Ecuador

Turi Church Cuenca Ecuador

The bells were ringing when we reached the top of the Turi Church steps, as you can hear in the video. The Turi Church can be seen from most places in the city below, but it’s even more spectacular up close.

View from the Turi Church Steps

View from Turi Church Cuenca Ecuador

This is the reward when you reach the top of the Turi Church steps. You can see the New Cathedral off in the distance, and the Cuenca airport is barely visible on the upper right of the photo. The road that runs diagonally up the middle of the photo is Avenida Solano.

Ancient Riverbed Far Above Cuenca Ecuador

Riverbed Far Above Cuenca Ecuador

Walking along Av Mirador de Turi heading west from the Turi Church, we spotted this ancient riverbed that’s about 400 feet above the main city of Cuenca. It’s fascinating to see this so far up the side of a mountain.

Laundry Day Cuenca Ecuador

Laundry Day Cuenca Ecuador

Ecuadorians love their dogs and hanging their laundry out to dry. Sunday seems to be a common laundry day here, and everything from towels to bras can be seen waving in the breeze in front, behind or on top of people’s houses.

Wonder Woman Billboard

Wonder Woman Billboard Cuenca Ecuador

Av Mirador de Turi meets back up with the Panamerican Highway, which took us to Mall del Río. There are lots of billboards along the highways in Ecuador, and many advertise American brands.

This billboard is an ad for Justice League and reads “La Mujer Maravilla Se Ve Mejor En Una Televisión TCL” which translates to “Wonder Woman looks better on a TCL television.” TCL is an electronics company that sells TVs so this appears to be a cross-promotional ad for the Justice League movie and TCL televisions.

This is our first time living abroad so it’s interesting to see America from outside the states. One thing we have noticed is the abundance of American pop culture here. It seems that entertainment (and fast food) is now America’s biggest export, especially since most manufactured things come from China.

We visited Nectar, one of our favorite tiendas in El Centro, and the owner’s daughter was wearing a tiara on her head and empty toilet paper rings around both wrists. I asked who she was and her dad said she was La Mujer Maravilla or Wonder Woman. I’m not sure why, but it was surprising to see a little girl in the middle of Ecuador dressed up as Wonder Woman.

Mall del Río – Cuenca Ecuador

Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

Mall del Río is one of the major malls in Cuenca. It has everything you’d expect to see in a mall in the states: a food court, electronics stores and lots of upscale clothing stores. Since online shopping isn’t a thing here yet, malls and shopping centers are still very popular.

Eddie Bauer in Mall del Río – Cuenca Ecuador

Eddie Bauer in Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

American brands like Eddie Bauer are common here, although most of the products come from China. We’ve found the prices to be similar on most things: Some prices are higher, some are lower and some are about the same.

If you want higher quality clothing, you’ll need to go to a nicer store and you’ll spend more. But there are lots of nice and affordable products that are made in Ecuador, too.

Mall del Río Food Court

Mall del Rio Food Court Cuenca Ecuador

The food court in Mall del Río has all the American fast food joints you’d recognize, including McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. Ecuador has seen a massive increase in health related illnesses like obesity and diabetes over the past decade, and these are no doubt contributing to it. We haven’t seen anything vegan-friendly in the food court aside from salads at the fast food places.

Coral in Mall del Río

Mall del Rio Coral Cuenca Ecuador

You can barely see the store in this photo, but Coral is located on the far end of the mall. It’s the largest store in the mall, and possibly in Cuenca. It’s like a Super Walmart crossed with a Home Depot. They carry everything from food and clothing, to microwaves and bathtubs. We’ll show you the inside on a future video.

Amelia’s New Shirt from Divad Closet in Mall del Río

Amelia's New Shirt from Divad Closet in Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

We went to mall to find a new pair of walking shoes for me, but we struck out on that. However, Amelia found a pair of shoes (los zapatos) and a couple blouses (las blusas).

Since we’ve been here, both of us have lost so much weight that none of our clothes fit properly…and we didn’t have that much weight to lose! We ate a healthy plant-based diet and walked a lot back in Denver, but the food is different here and we walk even more.

They don’t allow GMO’s so they don’t have RoundUp and a lot of the produce is organic and from ancient seeds that haven’t been modified genetically.

The veggies are ugly as hell, but they taste amazing. They’re full of flavor and juiciness like the fruits and veggies we used to have as a kid back in the 70’s and 80’s before food was ruined in the states by Big Ag and government corruption.

We also walk a lot more here than we did back home, over 10,000 steps on a typical day. Some weekends, we clock over 20 miles walking around town, taking Daisy for a walk and walking up to Turi.

And we go to the gym most weekdays. I mainly go to the gym for physical therapy for my back, which I couldn’t afford in the states. Amelia goes because she loves working out and sweating her ass off.

All of this healthy eating and exercise has trimmed a few inches off our waistlines, which means we need new clothes.

C-3PO Shoes from Divad Closet in Mall del Río

C-3PO Shoes from Divad Closet in Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

Bright, shiny platform shoes, like Amelia’s new gold C-3PO shoes, are very popular here. Since the average height for a female in Ecuador is 5 feet tall, platform shoes give them a few extra inches.

Some of the platform shoes have high heels (what we call stripper shoes back in the states) adding 5 or 6 inches to their height! It’s common to see women walking down cobblestone sidewalks and streets in 5 inch stiletto platform shoes! I don’t know how they do it without falling!

Divad Closet Faux Fur in Mall del Río

Divad Closet Faux Fur in Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

We have found a lot of cruelty-free products here, from cosmetics to clothing. Veganism is growing here, and most people are at least aware of animal cruelty issues in the products they buy.

When it comes up that we are vegan, several Ecuadorians (a cab driver, a tour guide, a business owner, a waiter, etc.) have asked us if we’re healthier now. Not one Ecuadorian has asked us where we get our protein.

In the states, we’ve been programmed through corporate junk science, overt marketing messages, and subtle plugs on the news and in entertainment, that a vegan diet is unhealthy. That you won’t get enough nutrients eating only plants. That you’ll die of an unheard of protein deficiency.

But here, in a developing country in South America, they haven’t been brainwashed and manipulated for corporate greed. And they know more about nutrition than the average American who thinks they know everything.

Our Sales Assistant at Divad Closet in Mall del Río

Divad Closet Assistant in Mall del Rio Cuenca Ecuador

This delightful young woman helped Amelia with her shopping at Divad Closet. She didn’t speak very much English, so I was able to practice my Spanish with her while Amelia was trying on clothes.

Like so many of the people we meet in Cuenca, she is from Venezuela. Another refugee from a corrupt government and a collapsing society. She has been in Cuenca for over 6 months. Ecuador is now home to thousands of Venezuelan refugees.

There is a difference between the Venezuelan accent and the Cuencano accent, which is different from other parts of Ecuador. The Venezuelan accent is closer to an accent you would hear in Spain. They speak with a bit of a lisp and pronounce some words differently than Ecuadorians.

The Cuencano accent is very melodic. Ecuadorians outside Cuenca say it sounds like they are singing, and it does. The Cuencano accent is very beautiful, and reminds me of a French accent.

People from the coast of Ecuador drop consonants from the end of words, making it very difficult to understand for gringos learning Spanish. Since Cuencanos speak more slowly and melodically than other Ecuadorians and South Americans, this is the perfect place to learn spanish.

Trail to Parque El Paraíso – Cuenca Ecuador

Trail to Parque El Paraíso Cuenca Ecuador

There are LOTS of walking trails in Cuenca. This one runs along Avenida Diez de Agosto and leads to Parque El Paraíso, our favorite park in Cuenca. The Yanuncay river is behind the trees on the right side of this photo.

Feria Mascotas at Parque El Paraíso

Feria Mascotas at Parque El Paraíso in Cuenca Ecuador

It seems like everyone has a dog in Ecuador. Multiple dogs in most cases. When we take Daisy for a walk around our neighborhood, nearly every yard and courtyard has one or more dogs that bark at us.

This pet fair was mainly for dogs, but we saw a couple of cat oriented booths, as well. It was packed with people and dogs, which made Daisy (and me) very nervous. We knew a woman that was running one of the fundraiser booths, but there were so many people we couldn’t get in to see her.

Pet Adoption at Feria Mascotas in Parque Paraíso

Feria Mascotas Adoption at Parque El Paraíso in Cuenca Ecuador

Several booths had pets available for adoption. The sign in this photo reads, “La adopción es la mejor opción” which translates to “Adoption is the best option.”

There’s a big push here to adopt pets from the numerous shelters around town, but there are still several puppy mill stores. We cringe every time we walk by one.

It was nice to see so many people supporting responsible pet companionship, but it was just too crowded for us, so we left after 10 or 15 minutes.

See More: Cuenca Parks

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We hope you enjoyed our hike up the Turi Church steps, our shopping experience at Mall del Río, and Feria Mascotas in Cuenca, Ecuador today.

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Spanish Words & Phrase

Recoja el excremento de su mascota – Pick up your pet’s excrement
el río – the river
el gato – the cat
los redondeles – the roundabouts
pare – stop
Mall del Río – Mall of the River
La Mujer Maravilla Se Ve Mejor En Una Televisión – Wonder Woman looks better on television
..en el mall siempre encuentras moda actual – ..in the mall you always find current fashion
comida rapida – fast food
la blusa – the blouse
los zapatos – the shoes
gordo – fat
la casa – the house
Feria de Mascotas – Pet Fair
la adopción es la mejor opción – adoption is the best option