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Ecuador's Hidden Jewel, the Ruins at Ingapirca, Off the Beaten Trail

Updated: May 19, 2022

October, 14, 2020: Indepent visitors to the indigenous ruins of Ingapirca write rave reviews of how relaxing and refreshing it felt to spend quite time at important indigenous ruins, the most important in Ecuador, without the massive throngs of people who book entrance into Machu Picchu and have to 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 almost alone, communing with time, nature, 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 their is always a crowd at Machu Picchu in neighboring Peru.

Ingapirca is about 50km north of Cuenca, from which a bus leaves at 9am daily, taking you staight there, arriving in about 2 hours. For a return to Cuenca, a bus leaves Ingapirca at 1 pm and a second one at 5pm. 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 accomadations 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 adventursome with time on their hands might want to try camping out nearby the ruins. At right, the Posada Ingapircu.

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