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

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

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

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

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

Laguna de Basu in San Fernando, Ecuador

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

Cuenca Ecuador to Laguna de Basu Ecuador

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

Laguna de Busa Boardwalk

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

Laguna de Busa Ecuador

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

Laguna de Busa Flower

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

Laguna de Busa Ecuador Amelia Rock

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

Laguna de Busa Rock Climbing

Girón Ecuador Waterfall

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

Laguna de Basu Ecuador to El Chorro Ecuador

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

Girón Ecuador Clouds

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

Girón Ecuador Waterfall

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

Girón Ecuador Waterfall Amelia

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

Girón Waterfall Bridge

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

Girón Waterfall Orchid

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

Video Transcript

>> Amelia: Hola veggie lovers.

Fuimos a visitar Girón y

JP, ¿disfruta la belleza natural?

[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.

Shoe Shopping in Cuenca Ecuador + Cervezas at Inca (Episode 12)

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Today, we went shoe shopping in Cuenca, Ecuador, and as a reward for my extreme patience, we went to Inca Lounge for cervezas on our way home. We also stumbled upon some improv dueling rappers in Parque de la Madre. You just never know what you’re going to see while walking around Cuenca, Ecuador!

We hope you enjoy following our shoe shopping experience, and the interesting sights here in Cuenca, Ecuador. 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

Graffiti Art in Cuenca Ecuador

Graffiti is a common sight here in Cuenca, Ecuador. Some of it is even commissioned, like this one on Ave. Solano. This wall had a lot of unsightly graffiti so some professional graffiti artists were hired to cover it with something more appealing. This also helps to prevent future graffiti since they seem to respect each other’s work.

Bike Lanes & Sidewalk Tiles for the Blind

Cuenca has lots of bike lanes, and more are being added all over the city. Their hope is to make the city more bicycle friendly so people ride to work and school for both improved health and environmental friendliness.

The tiles that make a line down the center of the sidewalk are for blind people. They use their walking sticks with the tiles to stay oriented on the sidewalk. These tiles are used all over the city.

The Shoe Store That Shall Not Be Named

This is one of Amelia’s favorite places to go shoe shopping in Cuenca, but as far as we know, it doesn’t have a name. It’s located on Benigno Malo a couple blocks north of Calle Larga. This was one of the first stores we stumbled upon during our first exploratory trip to Cuenca.

Amelia in Shoe Heaven

Amelia swears she doesn’t have a shoe addiction, but isn’t that what all addicts say? 🤔

Today, she was on a mission to find some tall boots. We see a lot of women wearing tall boots in Cuenca, and we like how they look, so Amelia wanted a pair of her own. This was the start of a lot of shoe trying on….

Moving On to Emily Shoes

We struck out at the unnamed shoe store, so we ventured onward to Emily Shoes a couple blocks away. After trying on what seemed like every shoe in the store, Amelia finally struck gold. She found a pair of tall boots that she liked (not these), and also a new pair of low boots (or high shoes?). The boots were $34 and the shoes were $28; both made of synthetic materials.

Victory at Emily Shoes

Shoe shopping in Cuenca was as success today. This store does have a name, but no online presence that we can link to. It’s common, especially for the older businesses in El Centro, to not have a website or even a Facebook page. Most of the new businesses outside El Centro at least have a Facebook page, but most businesses in Ecuador have not branched out to a website yet.

Folding Fans for Hot Flashes

Like her mother, Amelia is experiencing hot flashes a little younger than most women (she just turned 50). That means she’s often burning with the fiery heat of a thousand suns. Hopefully, these $2 folding fans will help.

Gringo’s Laundry in Cuenca El Centro

There are over 10,000 gringos in Cuenca, Ecuador. That means a lot of businesses, like this laundry service, target them directly.

A lot of apartments, especially in El Centro, don’t have a washer and dryer so residents must find another way to do their laundry. While we have seen laundromats, it only costs about $3 to $4 per load to pay someone to do it for you. They wash, dry and fold your laundry so you can enjoy your time doing other things. Plus, it helps the economy by supporting local businesses.

Inca Lounge & Bistro

I don’t really think of Inca as a bistro, but it certainly has the lounge vibe. It’s located on the riverwalk next to Río Tomebamba just east of Benigno Malo.

Inca is popular with the gringos during the day, but it’s mainly an Ecuadorian hangout after dark. That’s probably because Ecuadorians like to start their evening late after most of the gringos are already in bed.

Amelia Modeling a Club Verde

Club Verde is my favorite domestic light beer in Ecuador. It’s very crisp and refreshing, and cheap. This giant bottle costs $2.50 at Inca.

It’s actually called Club Premium, but most of the restaurants list it as Club Verde on their menus. The brewer also has a Club Negra (dark beer) that Amelia prefers over the Club Verde, and a Club Roja that we’ve never tried.

Our good friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan wrote the the company and confirmed that all of the Club beers are vegan. They don’t use any animal products in their brewing process. Yay!

Dave at Inca

Dave is a gringo that manages Inca. He’s almost always there. Tell him JP and Amelia said hi if you go there.

Chips & Guac (and Salsa) at Inca Lounge

Inca has really good chips, guac and salsa. We like to go their for a mid-afternoon snack and cervezas on our way home after we’ve been out walking around El Centro. We usually have to order extra chips if we get both the guac and the salsa.

Inca Vegetarian Menu

Most restaurants have a vegetarian (vegetariano) section on their menu, and most items are either vegan already, or can easily be veganized by asking them to skip the congealed mammal fluids (aka cheese and sour cream, aka queso y crema).

Inca’s Veggie Stir Fry is vegan, and the other vegetarian items can be veganized. They also have a vegetarian burrito that can be veganized. We’ve tried several things on the menu and they were all tasty. Be sure to remind them to skip the queso y crema.

Helado Balancing Act

Helado (ice cream) is very popular in Ecuador. We frequently see people walking down the street eating an ice cream cone, which may partly be to blame for the rising health epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes here. Ice cream is loaded with sugar AND fat, both contributors to the increase in poor health around the world.

However, seeing these women walk down the sidewalk with their trays of ice cream balanced on their heads was worth of a share. People are amazing.

Improv Dueling Rap in Parque de la Madre

You never know what you’re going to stumble across while walking around Cuenca. Today, we passed by some improv dueling rappers by the planetarium in Parque de la Madre. You can listen to a short segment in the video. This is such an interesting place!

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our shoe shopping adventure, snacks and cervezas as Inca Lounge and our surprise improv rap here in Cuenca, 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

¡Que linda! – How cute!
afuera – outside
vegetariano – vegetarian
vegano – vegan (a lot of people, both gringo and Ecuadorian, don’t know what this is)
el queso – the cheese
la crema – the cream (also sour cream)
el helado – the ice cream
Está lleno de la gente – It is full of people
Estamos muy relajado – We are very relaxed
las cervezas – the beers
¿Qué más? – What else?

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Turi Church Stairs, Mall del Rio & Feria Mascotas in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 5)

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Today, we decided to hike up the 439 stairs to the Turi Church again, 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).

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery, our shopping experience and the interesting things we see 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 (and Animals)

Turi Church Cuenca Ecuador

Turi Church Cuenca Ecuador

We like to hike up the 439 stairs to the Turi Church 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 Stairs – Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia Turi Church Stairs Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia loves to torture me with exercise, especially the Turi stairs. 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 stairs, 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

View from Turi Church Cuenca Ecuador

This is the reward when you reach the top of the stairs in Turi. 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

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.

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We hope you enjoyed our hike up to Turi, 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

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video