Ingapirca Inca Fortress Tour (1 day, daily from Cuenca)
Full day tour with guide and driver, including lunch, and all entrance fees. Culture, history and community based tourism
Ecuador’s most beautiful city, Saint Anne of the Four Rivers of Cuenca, is located in the valley of Guapondelig (plain as wide as the sky). At an altitude of 2,550 meters (7,650 feet) above sea level, Cuenca enjoys a mild climate and a fabulous geographic position. Surrounding the city of Cuenca are hills like Cullca to the north and Turi to the south, which are great lookout points.
Day by Day
A fascinating day trip to Ingapirca, the most northern fortress-temple remaining from Inca times. Sun-worshippers built this stone center on a promontory high above the Cañar valley, about 96 Km (60 miles) northeast of Cuenca and at an altitude of 10,595 feet (3,230 meters) above sea level. Ride through enchanting highlands, passing through the towns of Azogues and Cañar, with a short visit on Sundays to the market at Cañar. Upon arrival at Ingapirca stop at the on-site museum, and admire the stone fortress with several trapezoidal doorways and stone walls perfectly fit together, without mortar, of the Inca construction. There is an elliptical platform, known as the Temple of the Sun used for religious and ceremonial purposes, the barracks, the stone “Inca Face” and the zoomorphic carvings. Lunch at a pleasant inn of the area and later on continue to Tambo Coyoctor.
The Inca ruins of El Tambo Coyoctor are located right on the route of the Royal Road of the Incas or Qhapac Ñan, a segment of which is still seen, and along which guests can still stroll and perhaps visualize in their minds the chasquis or runners, carrying messages on knotted strings called quipus, at full speed in relay from one end of the Inca Empire to the other. Tambo Coyoctor is a massive rock outcrop, carved to form baths, showers and water channels believed to have been used in purification rituals before ceremonies of magic-religious significance. Visit the on-site interpretation center, run by the Community of El Tambo. Return to Cuenca in the late afternoon.Important notes:
- Order of visits may change depending on weather conditions or guest interest)
- Entrance fees to National Parks, Natural Reserves, community projects, and others are included in the excursions or have no cost. Unless otherwise is specified in each tour section.
Why is this tour so special?
- This archeological complex is the most important of Ecuador
- The site includes roofless fortifications, courtyards, terraces, temples, houses and “castle” possibly temple of the sun.
- A museum is opened for a better knowledge and understanding.
- The Inca Empire settled here with temples and administrative centres
- Inca ruins display classic interlocking stonework that fit together perfectly without mortar, here you get to see this.
- Visitors can enjoy the Temple of the Sun, a stone fortress with many trapezoidal doorways and stone walls, an elliptical platform, Inca barracks and a ‘tambo’ check-point that is one of the many that used to line the Inca Road between Cusco and Quito.
- Evidence of both the Inca and Cañari cultures is visible on the site and it is therefore a historically important attraction in Ecuador, as it is the legacy of Ecuador’s pre-Hispanic era.
- Great views and country sides, complemented by visiting also another archeological complex, “Tambo Coyoctor”, recently rescued and managed now by a local community seeking through tourism a more sustainable way of living by promoting and preserving their heritage.
Our recommendations for the best possible experience:
- Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).
- Take a warm coat for evening and rain protection.
- Sun protection (SPF 40) even if the day is cloudy.
- Hat or cap. Good walking shoes.
- Altitude: 2,550 meters (7,750 feet) to 3,230 meters (10,595 feet)
- Average Temperature:
- Day 10° to 25° C / 50° to 77° F.
- Night 6° to 10° C / 43° to 50° F.
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