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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

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.
[Laughter]

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

Biblián

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.
Okay?

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.
[Laughter]

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.

[Laughter]

>> 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.

[Laughter]

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.
[Laughter]

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.

Gualaceo Ecuador – Orchid Farm & Textiles (Episode 17/Part 3)

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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 third town of Gualaceo, Ecuador, which is famous for its orchids and textiles.

Be sure to check out our other videos from this excursion to San Bartolomé Ecuador (Part 1) and Chordeleg Ecuador (Part 2).

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful Andean scenery, the picturesque town of Gualaceo, 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

Bridge Over the River in Gualaceo

Wood Bridge Gualaceo Ecuador

Our guide, Wilson, assured us this rickety looking one lane bridge over the river was perfectly safe. I’m pretty sure it was older than it looked, and it looked ancient. Nevertheless, we did survive the crossing that’s used by lots of cars, people and dogs on a daily basis.

Cañari Indigenous Woman in Gualaceo Ecuador

Woman in Gualaceo Ecuador

I captured this Cañari indigenous woman walking down the street with her navy blue plaid macana draped over her shoulder. They were the originators of the Panama Hat, and still wear them along with their colorful skirts and sweaters.

This woman is probably a little more than 4 feet tall. The average height of women in Ecuador is only 5 feet, but most of the indigenous women are much shorter than that. Amelia, at 5 feet tall, is a giant standing next to them!

Rosero – The Traditional Drink of Gualaceo Ecuador

Rosero Gualaceo Ecuador

Rosero is the traditional drink that’s only found in Gualaceo Ecuador. It’s made with corn flower, fruits and spices. It has a thick, creamy texture like a smoothie and it’s a little sweet, but not too sweet. We enjoyed it with a piece of bread.

Both pieces of bread and both cups of Rosero cost us a total of $1.30 and they were well worth it. Both were delicious!

Ecuagenera Orchid Farm in Gualaceo Ecuador

Ecuagenera Orchid Farm Gualaceo Ecuador

Ecuador is famous worldwide for its orchids, especially the high altitude orchids that grow in Gualaceo. Ecuagenera is an orchid farm on the edge of Gualaceo that offers tours of the farm, but the tour was closed on Sunday. We did get to enjoy the store, though.

It’s impossible to describe how wonderful the store smelled when we walked in. I didn’t realize how amazingly beautiful and aromatic orchids are. Some smelled like extremely potent flowers, some smelled like chocolate, and some smelled like rotting meat. They seemed otherworldly. Now I understand why orchids have such a huge fanbase.

Here are some pictures of the orchids we saw:

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 4

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 2

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 3

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 5

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 6

Orchid Gualaceo Ecuador 7

We’re looking forward to returning when the tour is open so we can see the whole farm and learn more about orchids. We highly recommend stopping by to experience this truly remarkable flower.

Macana Workshop Gualaceo Ecuador

Macana Workshop Gualaceo Ecuador

Entering the workshop where they make macanas, the traditional scarves of the Cañari Ecuadorian women, was like stepping back in time. The indigenous people have been making macanas in this way for over 1,000 years (more than 500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue), passing the trade down from generation to generation.

Like the guitar and ceramic artisans, this is also a dying trade. The current generation is losing interest in the family tradition and moving away in hopes of finding better opportunities in Cuenca and beyond.

Macana Color Dye Pots in Gualaceo Ecuador

Macana Color Dye Pots Gualaceo Ecuador

These ancient pots are still used to make the dyes that give each macana its unique and colorful look. In this photo, the artisan is demonstrating how they make the color indigo from indigofera plants found in abundance in tropical climates like Ecuador.

They use all sorts of native plants, rocks and even baking soda to create every color in the rainbow.

View from Macana Workshop in Gualaceo Ecuador

View from Macana Workshop Gualaceo Ecuador

Since the climate is so temperate and consistent in Ecuador (at least it used to be), many places don’t have windows or doors like this macana workshop. This is the view from the device being used in the next photo.

That may look like a river running down the valley, but those are actually greenhouses for roses. Ecuador is the world’s 3 largest exporter of cut flowers, and roses make up over 70% of those exports.

Ecuador has the perfect year round climate for growing beautiful flowers, which are very inexpensive here. We nearly always have one or two dozen roses in the house, and they cost only $5 per dozen.

Macana Weaving in Gualaceo Ecuador

Macana Weaving Gualaceo Ecuador

The men have traditionally been the weavers of macanas because it takes a lot of body weight to get the weave taught. The women do the embroidery and a finishing technique called “nailing,” which requires long fingernails to add the loosely woven decoration to the ends of the macanas.

Macana Yapa in Gualaceo Ecuador

Macana Yapa Gualaceo Ecuador

Amelia was very happy to receive this handwoven bag as a yapa with the purchase of her handwoven macana, shown below. A yapa is a little something extra that merchants give to customers as a sign of appreciation. Think of it like a baker’s dozen. We often get yapas at the mercado in the form of extra fruits and veggies from our favorite vendors.

Amelia’s Macana from Gualaceo Ecuador

Amelia's Macana from Gualaceo Ecuador

It seems like Amelia is either hot or cold these days so she was happy to get this beautiful handwoven macana for the cold times.

The indigenous women use these to keep warm, to protect their skin and heads from the hot mountain sun, to carry their babies and to tote heavy or bulky items, like fresh produce, straw, cardboard boxes, etc. I’ve even seen a woman carrying a 6 foot tall tree on her back wrapped in a macana!

It’s common to see a teenager walking down the sidewalk scrolling Facebook on their mobile phone, while passing an indigenous woman carrying her baby on her back wrapped in a macana. With the blend of modern and ancient visible on every street, Ecuador is a truly remarkable place that seems to exist outside of time.

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our trip to Gualaceo, Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

Spanish Words & Phrases

¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name?
Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
El gusto es mío – The pleasure is mine
El Jardín Del Azuay – The Garden of Azuay (Province)
el puente – the bridge
pan – bread
me gusta – I like it
el algodón – the cotton
yapa – a little something extra (think baker’s dozen)

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

San Bartolomé Ecuador – La Ruta de las Guitarras (Episode 15/Part 1)

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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 first town of San Bartolomé, Ecuador, which is famous for its handcrafted guitars.

Be sure to check out our other video from this excursion to Chordeleg Ecuador (Part 2).

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful Andean scenery, the picturesque town of San Bartolomé, 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

View of San Bartolomé Ecuador

San Bartolomé Ecuador

I have a new camera now so my pics are much better than this. iPhone’s just aren’t very good at taking long distance shots 😞

This is a scenic, breathtaking view high upon a hill that our guide Wilson stopped at on our way to San Bartolomé. It looked like we had stepped back in time as we looked down on the nearly 500 year old village below.

Amelia Taking in the View of San Bartolomé and the Andean Mountains

Amelia Enjoying the View of San Bartolomé Ecuador

San Bartolomé was founded by the Spanish in 1536, 21 years before Cuenca was founded. The Spanish found lots of gold in the rivers and mountains here, making it irresistible to them.

Our Guide Wilson from Polyepis Tours

Our Tour Guide Wilson from Polyepis Tours in Cuenca Ecuador

Wilson from Polylepis Tours studied National Tourism at The University of Cuenca and speaks 3 languages: Spanish, English and Italian. He is very knowledgeable about Ecuador, and conducts tours all over the country. We really enjoyed spending our day with him.

High Altitude Tea Garden in San Bartolomé Ecuador

Tea Garden in San Bartolomé Ecuador

The lady who owns this little medicinal tea garden grows all of her own tea leaves and flowers. She provides natural remedies to the locals and tourists, alike.

Tea Leaves and Flowers

Tea Leaves and Flowers in San Bartolomé

These were the fresh picked tea leaves and flowers used to make our tea. They were beautiful to look at, and they smelled amazing!

Pink Tea and Cornmeal Bread

Tea Time in San Bartolomé Ecuador

We squeezed a little lime in our tea, per Wilson’s suggestion. It didn’t need any sugar due to its natural sweetness and intense flavor. The bread was made with cornmeal and brown sugar, and cooked in her wood oven. Both the tea and bread were delicious.

Indoor Fútbol Played Outdoor in San Bartolomé

Indoor Fútbol in San Bartolomé Ecuador

This is a very popular sport in Ecuador. In fact, there’s an Indoor Fútbol field (also outdoors) near our house in Cuenca, and it’s constantly occupied. Wilson told us that there are several leagues that all compete for prizes.

We watched them play for about 5 minutes and it looks like a rough sport. This is a concrete “field” so no one was falling down grabbing their shins like in regular fútbol (soccer). There was a lot of contact between the players, making it look like a cross between Rugby and Soccer.

Guitar Fountains in San Bartolomé

Guitar Fountains San Bartolomé Ecuador

The fountains were off today, unfortunately. But it’s interesting to see how intrinsic guitars are in this little Andean village.

San Bartolomé Church

San Bartolomé Guitarras Uyaguari

Uyaguari Guitar Workshop in San Bartolomé Ecuador

This is the workshop of one of the most famous guitar making families in all of San Bartolomé. The Uyaguari craftsman featured in our video is one of a long line of guitar makers that stretches back 115 years.

Sadly, he may be the last guitar maker in his family. Like many other guitar making families in San Bartolomé, the next generation isn’t interested in the family tradition. They are choosing to move to Cuenca and beyond in search of better opportunities.

Handmade Guitars with Intricate Inlay

Handcrafted Guitars by Uyaguari in San Bartolomé Ecuador

These inlay pieces are made by gluing several different colored strips of wood together, and then cutting it into little shapes like these. Tiny matching holes are then painstakingly carved into the guitar wood for the inlay, giving the guitars their distinctive look.

Depending on the intricacy of the design, a guitar can take from one week to over a month to make and the price varies from $100 to $2000.

Ukulele Yapa

Ukulele Yapa from the Uyaguari Workshop in San Bartolomé Ecuador

Yapas are a special gift, or a little something extra, that vendors give to customers to show appreciation. We often get yapas in the mercados from our regular vendors, and even more from vendors we’ve never visited before. They want to encourage us to keep coming back. In the US, we call this a “baker’s dozen.”

This guitar maker gives this handmade ukulele as a yapa when someone orders two guitars. That’s quite a yapa!

View of the Andes from the Uyaguari Workshop

View from Uyaguari Guitar Workshop San Bartolomé Ecuador

This is the view from the balcony off the Uyaguari workshop. There wasn’t a door or window to the balcony…it was wide open giving an unobstructed view of the Andean mountains and the valley below. The family garden where fruits and vegetables are grown was just below the balcony.

The Craftsman Plays Guitar

Uyaguari Playing Guitar San Bartolomé Ecuador

To demonstrate the amazing sound of his guitars, Señor Uyaguari played us a short song. You can listen to his brief melody in the video.

Señor Uyaguari and Amelia And JP

JP Amelia Uyaguari San Bartolomé Ecuador

He was very kind to take a break from his guitar making to show us his workshop, play us a song, and pose for a picture. If you go to San Bartolomé, stop by the Uyaguari workshop on La Ruta de las Guitarras. You won’t be disappointed.

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our adventure to San Bartolomé Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

Spanish Words & Phrases

¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name?
Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
El gusto es mío – The pleasure is mine
el oro – the gold
el té – the tea
yapa – a little something extra to show appreciation; think “baker’s dozen”

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video