Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador + La Cara del Inca

This is Part 3 in our 3-part series from a day trip we took from Cuenca Ecuador with Flavio from Polylepis Tours to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. Our third stop was at the Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador.

Other Videos on this Day Trip from Cuenca:

Part 1: La Virgen del Rocío | The Church Built Into a Mountain in Biblián Ecuador
Part 2:
 Cañar Ecuador Indigenous Market

Ingapirca Ecuador Day Trip from Cuenca

The drive on this day trip from Cuenca Ecuador to Biblián, then to Cañar, then to Ingapirca and finally back to Cuenca was stunningly beautiful. The Ecuadorian countryside is lush and green with rolling mountains and blue skies with white billowy clouds. The old adobe houses with tile roofs dotting the green pastures made us feel like we had stepped back in time.

The houses in the picture below are much newer and larger. Flavio told us that a lot of people who live in this area have family who immigrated to the United States 30 or 40 years ago, but still send money back to their families here in Ecuador. They use the money to build big houses.Ecuador Countryside

Ingapirca Ruins Map

Drive from Cañar to the Ingapirca Inca Ruins

Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador

The Ingapirca Inca Ruins is an important archaeological site in Ecuador. It’s considered the second largest Inca ruins in South America, second only to Machu Picchu. In reality, it’s a combination of Cañari and Inca ruins. The Cañari people have been living here for nearly 1500 years and the Inca only arrived a little over 500 years ago.

El Templo del SolIngapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador

El Templo del Sol or the Temple of the Sun (shown below) was built on top of the Cañari infrastructure. You might notice in this picture and in the video that there is no safety wall or railing on the temple. One wrong step and it’s a straight drop of more than 50 feet to certain death on the rocks below. In Ecuador, you’re responsible for your own safety. The state doesn’t spend much money on railings.

La Cara del Inca

After wandering around the ruins and learning all about their history from Flavio, we walked along a narrow dirt trail for about a half mile to La Cara del Inca or the Face of the Inca. This is a rock formation that the looks like a face. It’s common for people to pose for pictures with the Inca “face” in the background.

La Cara del Inca - Ingapirca Inca Ruins EcuadorLa Cara del Inca - Ingapirca Inca Ruins Ecuador

Other Interesting Sights at Ingapirca Inca Ruins

You may have noticed this house in the video. It’s located below La Cara del Inca and from our observation, the long walk along the dirt trail is the only access to this house. There is an indigenous woman standing on the porch looking up at all the tourists and behind her house is a long drop to the river below, which is probably where she gets her water. You’ll notice there are no power lines running to her house so she likely has no electricity. This is a slice out of history. In the image gallery, you’ll find another slice out of history. I took this photo in black and white to make it more realistic. You may have noticed lots of llamas in the video. They roam freely around the Ingapirca ruins. In Ecuador, they’re nature’s lawnmowers.

We thoroughly enjoyed our full-day tour with Flavio and Christian from Polylepis Tours. Flavio even arranged for us to have a vegan lunch at one of the restaurants at Ingapirca. If you’re in Cuenca and need a great tour guide, we can’t say enough good things about Polylepis Tours.


Watch Our Video About Ingapirca Inca Ruins in Ecuador



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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

4 replies
  1. Jimmy
    Jimmy says:

    Buenos tardes Amelia y JP,

    Sorry but English from here on as my Spanish is still limited & my wife’s is better but not enough to call fluent yet. (She is actually writing this, lol.) We are new to Cuenca as of New Year’s Eve but plan to make Cuenca our home after an early retirement. We have been watching your videos since we decided to relocate & you both feel like friends as we have learned a lot from you. JP & I have some similar but different medical issues; his success as seen through your videos is very encouraging to me! My wife is also dealing with some chronic issues, & our Dr back in Nashville was thrilled to know that we were coming here to get healthy & hopefully extend our lives. We do confess that while we are not vegan, the food here has been making a difference for me already & my wife is showing signs of improvement as well. We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing your various excursions around the area & plan to check out many of them ourselves. We also love seeing Daisy in the videos since we got here as we were unable to bring our babies with us. Maybe we will run into the two of you out & about here in our new home.

    Thanks for sharing your lives with us,
    Jimmy & Shari

    • JP
      JP says:

      ¡Hola Jimmy & Shari! ¡Mucho gusto!

      We’re so happy that you’re enjoying our videos. And we’re happy to hear that you’re experiencing similar health improvements from moving here. The food and quality of life are much better here. We’ll be sure to include Daisy and Alicia in a future video for you 🙂

      ¡Nos vemos pronto!


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