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Ingapirca Inca Ruins, Ecuador's Hidden Jewel off the Beaten Trail

Updated: Feb 14

Largest Incan Ruins in Ecuador
Ingapirca Ruins in Ecuador

Ingapirca is an archaeological site located in the Cañar Province of Ecuador. It is the most important Inca ruin in Ecuador and is an incredibly unique destination for visitors. The site consists of the remains of several terraces, a temple, and a large stone building known as the Temple of the Sun.

Experience the marvel of Ingapirca, Ecuador - the most well-preserved Inca ruins in the country and explore the impressive 15th-century administrative, religious, and military center. Take a journey to uncover the secrets of the ancient Inca wall and discover the history and culture of the local Quechua people. Built by the Incas in the 15th century, this is the only remaining Inca construction outside of Peru.

The Temple of the Sun, also known as the Castle, is the main structure at Ingapirca. This elliptically shaped fortress was constructed with precisely carved stones, around a large rock highlighting the Inca's impressive masonry skills. Join us as we explore the many mysteries of the Inca people and learn about their customs, culture, and daily life.

The Temple of the Sun is an impressive structure believed to have been built in the late 15th century and features a unique combination of Incan and Cañari architecture. The temple is aligned with the sun, highlighting the Inca's advanced astronomical knowledge. Apart from the Temple of the Sun, there are other structures and features at Ingapirca, including a central plaza, living quarters, ceremonial baths, and an underground observatory known as the "Pilaloma." Visitors from around the world come to explore this incredible site and learn more about the ancient Incans. The ruins of Ingapirca offer a glimpse into the past and a reminder of the advanced culture that flourished in Ecuador centuries ago.

Ingapirca is a unique destination for travelers from around the world to Cañar in Ecuador since the site is known for its impressive Inca ruins, the most notable of which is the Temple of the Sun. Here, visitors can explore the structures, walls, and remains of an Incan astronomical observatory. The site also has a small museum displaying artifacts and information about the local Cañari culture. The Cañari people, who inhabited the region before the Inca conquest, had their own unique culture and architecture that the Inca incorporated. Ingapirca is considered a symbol of the blending of these two civilizations.

Ingapirca is full of incredible history and sights. We offer a variety of tours that will take you through the ruins of this ancient site. Our knowledgeable guides will help you to learn more about the culture and ancient civilizations that used to inhabit this area. During your tour, you will be able to see many ruins that are still visible today, including Machu Picchu and Cara de Sol. You will also be able to explore the river which is littered with different stone sculptures and discover Inca baths. We want to make sure that you have an amazing experience and can leave with a greater understanding of the history of Ingapirca.

Ingachugana is a nearby archaeological site, with varied sizes of carvings found on the rocks in that area. An Inca face can also be found carved on a nearby rock. Visitors can explore the ruins, learn about the history and culture of the Inca and Cañari people, and enjoy the beautiful Andean scenery surrounding the site.

Largest Incan Ruins in Ecuador

Visitors to the indigenous ruins of Ingapirca write rave reviews of how relaxing and refreshing it felt to spend quiet time at important indigenous ruins, the most important in Ecuador, without the massive throngs of people who book entrance into Machu Picchu and must make reservations months in advance, in addition to paying big money. Once you make the effort and expense, you get to see it but only with another tourist on your left, your right, in front of you, walking behind you. At Ingapirca, especially if you arrive early in the day, you can feel alone, communing with time, nature, and the past, and draw hope and sustenance from the surroundings. The solitude helps to foster a type of spiritual awakening and communion that one simply cannot have in a crowd and there is always a crowd at Machu Picchu in neighboring Peru.

Ingapirca is about 50km north of Cuenca, from which a bus leaves at 9 am daily, taking you there, arriving in about 2 hours. For the return to Cuenca, a bus leaves Ingapirca at 1 pm and a second one at 5. A reasonable entrance fee includes a small museum and a guided tour - in English or Spanish. Ingapirca is the most important Inca site in Ecuador and was built towards the end of the 15th century during the Inca expansion, using the same mortarless, polished stone technique as the Incas in Peru. The entrance fee also includes a short tour by a guide in either English or Spanish. After the tour, visitors are allowed to wander around the site on their own and take photos.

A variety of accommodations are nearby to fit most budgets. The small Ingapirca village has a crafts shop and a couple of simple restaurants which are worth a visit while waiting on the return bus. The adventuresome with time on their hands might want to try camping out nearby the ruins. On the right, the Posada Ingapirca.

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