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Ecuador - Trekking Old Inca Trails
Rates 2 3 4-8 9 or more
5 day / 4 night on request on request on request on request

NOT INCLUDED: Cuenca-Quito air ($73 US)
All prices per person, in US dollars and subject to change at any time
Itineraries are subject to change at any time for any reason

A half century before the arrival of Columbus in the "New World", the Incan Empire extended from what is now central Chile northward into Ecuador. The Incan population centres were connected by an elaborate and well-maintained system of roads 5,000 km in length - a larger system than that of the Roman Empire! 

Today, a few remnants of this ancient road network remain intact in the Andes of Cañar province of southern Ecuador.
 

Canari woman near inga Pirca, Cuenca, Ecuador, Inti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh
Cañari Woman near Ingapirca

Ingapirca
is the
most significant
Incan site
in Ecuador

Toward the southern end of Ecuador's central valley of the Andes, lies Cuenca - the third largest city of the country and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historical treasure is well known for its colonial architecture, ceramics and handicrafts. North of Cuenca is the village of Achupallas where a 35 km portion of the old Inca road system leads through the Andes to the Incan ruins of Ingapirca.

This site is considered the most significant of the Incan ruins in Ecuador (built by Huayna Capac more than 500 years ago as a temple for the worship of the sun). Part of the Ingapirca ruins were probably used as a "tambo", or resting place, for Incan couriers traveling the road to and from Quito.

 

Trekking from Achupallas to Ingapirca provides the adventurer with a close look at a significant native American culture, reflected in the ancient ruins as well as the contemporary lifestyle of the native inhabitants. This is a great opportunity to travel on foot through the Andes in a nearly untouched landscape and culture.

Inca Trail to Inga pirca, Ecuador, Inti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh
Along the trail to Ingapirca...

Itinerary:
(Itinerary and 315 kb Topographic Map)

Day 1. From Quito, travel by private transportation through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, passing such snow-capped giants as Cotopaxi (5.897m), Illinizas (5.263m) and the tallest peak in Ecuador, Chimborazo (6.310m). On the way to Alausi, from where a small steep mountain road leads to Achupallas (3.400m), we pass through a number of communities where the biggest and most colorful Indian markets in the country are held on specific days each week: Saquisili (Thursdays), Latacunga (Tuesdays/Saturdays) and Ambato (Mondays). Lunch provided. Dinner prepared at overnight campsite near Achupallas. (L/D)

Day 2. Awaken in an area which has not changed much in the last five centuries, and begin the trek to Ingapirca. The Inca road follows Rio Cadrul through hilly country on the way to Laguna de las Tres Cruces, passing Cerro Callana Pucara on the West and the pyramidal Cerro Mapaihuana (4.365m) to the East. To reach the lagoon, pass through a natural rock arch and cross the river before climbing to 4.000m. From this point it is only a few kilometers to the lagoon and campsite. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared by our staff. (B/L/D)

Day 3. Breakfast. Continue Southward through a mountainous pass with fantastic views of Laguna Sanshavin and Cerro Quilloloma. Follow the ancient road to Laguna Culebrillas and the nearby Inca ruins at Paredones, arriving two hours later. Pitch camp and dinner under the stars near the quarry from which the Incas mined Diorite, the igneous stone used in the construction of Ingapirca. (B/L/D)

Day 4. Morning devoted to the trek to Ingapirca along a portion of the Inca road, which is up to 7 meters wide. Lunch. Exploration of ruins, visit the on-site museum and question local guides about Incan culture. Private transportation to the charming colonial city of Cuenca for dinner and hotel accommodation. (B/L/D)

Day 5. In the morning a city tour of Cuenca. Lunch. Fly to Quito. (B)


 

INCLUDES: DOES NOT INCLUDE: YOU SHOULD BRING:
  • Transportation from Quiuto to Achupallas
  • Tents, and camping equipment
  • All meals on trek
  • Porters
  • Professional bilingual guide and Cook 
  • Transportation from end of trail to Cuenca
  • Hotel in Cuenca
  • International or local airfare
  • Meals while in the cities
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal sleeping bag and mattress
  • Back pack, or duffel bag
  • Trekking shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Flash light
  • Hat
  • Personal clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Warm jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Day pack

 

Reservations

Gate of the Sun © Inti Travel and Tours, Box 1586, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1B5
Phone 1-403-760-3565 / Fax 1-403-760-3566