This is Part 3 in our 3-part series from an excursion we took with Flavio from Polylepis Tours northeast of Cuenca, Ecuador to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca. Our third stop was in Ingapirca, Ecuador.
The drive from Cuenca 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 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.
Ingapirca 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 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.
El Templo del Sol
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.
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.
Here’s 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.
Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!
JP: Hey veggie lovers I’m JP with Vegans
Abroad and this is Amelia, mi media naranja.
JP: That’s “my better half” in español. Mi media naranja.
Amelia: Which is funny because that translates to medium orange (laughing)
JP: or middle orange. A: But ok, I’ll take it. JP: Anyway.
JP: This is part 3 in our three-part series to Biblián, Cañar and Ingapirca.
And in this video it’s all about Ingapirca, which are the Incan ruins that are just northeast of Cuenca.
A: Yeah it was incredible.
I hope you guys really enjoy the footage and
the experience as much as we did.
JP: It was really cool.
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an hour afterwards so if you guys want
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living abroad or whatever.
A: What have you.
JP: Or anything about the video.
A: Yes. That too.
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Flavio: OK my friends. Firstly, welcome to Ingapirca archaeological site.
This is one of the most important
archaeological site in Ecuador.
F: It’s considered the second important in South America. You know Machu Picchu.
First one more important and Ingapirca is the most important for us in Ecuador.
Okay? The first culture here was Cañari ok
the Cañari culture. They call it Hatun Cañar.
And then the Incas come to here to re-found it with the name Ingapirca.
F: The Incas Wall. Ingapirca means Incas Wall.
F: Now we walk around an hour twenty minutes more or less and then come back. Ok?
Here extract scopolamine. It’s a hallucinogen plant. It’s a drug. Oh it is?
F: They call it the Trompeta de Angel.
A: They’re all over the place.
F: The angel’s trumpet.
F: Trompeta de Angel.
The Incas use it to connect with the motherland, the Pachamama the different gods.
Yeah? Like a spiritual.
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It’s a Cañari tomb, yeah, all the cadavers the rest of the people probably was an
important woman, yeah, priest like this
like a 10 or 12 youngest like offers or sacrifices.
F: Now all the rest stay in the museum.
It’s like a ceremonial bath. Outside from here it was a meeting point for the Cañaries or the Incas.
When they have, for example, the sun festivals, June, July the solstice.
F: Temple, the people walking here and take a little bath like a purification.
A: Then they go up to the temple.
F: These are ceremonial baths.
F: Construction was an important a different to Peru.
F: Have a big like avenues.
F: The Inca trails.
Recover the stones, yeah? Here is only
little portions yeah some portions in
different parts of the mountains. The
Cañaries used, the Inca, sorry, used these kind of canals.
F: To avoid the floated the water to destroy the road.
A: They were very smart.
F: Really really smart. It is an aqueduct.
F: Yeah, it is an aqueduct.
We’re walking through
the ruins of Ingapirca. It is amazing.
I didn’t realize there was Cañari and
Inca architecture combined here so over
here you can see the rocks that look
like they just came right out of the
river are Cañari and the ones that are
shaped like bricks are from the Inca.
The llamas are looking very chillax today it is a perfect day to relax up here.
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F: Both cultures here.
A: Yeah it looks like one on top like they built on top of the Cañari.
F: Uh-huh. But in the middle we have a Cañari wall. The Incas only…
A: That was smart.
F: Cover. Yeah?
In front of you we have a room of
the Incas room and here is call it aguila wasi.
Wasi is a Quichua word. Aguila mean
like a virgin or chosen, yeah, the chosen.
And wasi mean house as a chosen
house. The Incas collect young girls
young girls and prepare it here to serve
the Inca, yeah, to clean, for food, for…
It was a protocol was an important for your families the families of the girls was
an important the Incas chosen for your
daughter to offer.
F: But probably they serve is all they would yeah. Serve, cooking, cleaning and probably sexual.
F: 12, 15 girls here.
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A: We are in front of the Temple of the Sun. So the theory is is that if you can see
there’s four squares behind us and those
represent the four solstices so as the Sun
hit at different directions it would
shine on the rectangles so they used it
kind of like a calendar and then they used it for their religious ceremonies
or I don’t know if religious
is the right word they used it for ceremonies.
We’re on the other side. This
side faces west and in the summer
solstice the Sun is exactly overhead. Apparently there’s a big festival here
that’s very popular with the indigenous people and people throughout South America
will come between… What did he
say? Around June 20th? …for a long weekend
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Outside of the ruins we followed a path
down to La Cara de Inca or the Face of the Inca,
which some people say it was handmade
some people say it’s nature.
I think it’s nature personally but it does, if you look at the profile, it does look
like a nose. Got the forehead, the nose,
Now we are gonna eat some lunch because JP and I have definitely worked up an appetite
seeing all the sights and walking along all the ruins at this high elevation we’re feeling a
little thirsty and out of breath, but it’s
JP: Wow I hope you enjoyed that footage as much as we enjoyed recording it.
A: Yeah, I loved it! I was so amazed by the ruins. I had no idea that Ingapirca was the second largest
Inca ruins in South America so it’s pretty
cool that it’s so close by that we can
go check it out and I loved the drive
through the country there and going back.
JP: Yeah, the countryside was just incredible.
A: It just doesn’t it looks like something off
of a postcard. It doesn’t seem real, but, it is.
History was really fascinating. I didn’t realize that the Inca had built
right on top of the Cañari infrastructure there.
JP: Yeah it was pretty neat how they combined, you could see the
different stones, the rounded stones were from the Cañari people
and the Incas were, they carved their
stones so they were more square.
A: Yeah and it’s just fascinating to think that this whole other civilization lived there in
the mountains in it I mean there’s still
so little we really know.
A: I think it’s really cool. I hope you guys liked it.
JP: And a big thanks too, to Flavio and…
JP: and Polylepis Tours and Christian our
driver. They were fantastic.
A: They were.
JP: And Flavio helped us he got us a vegan lunch at a restaurant that’s right there at
Ingapirca so we were pretty happy with him for that.
A: We certainly were.
JP: We were starving by the time we got to lunch.
A: We did of course have our backup PB&J’s.
JP: We did. (laughing)
A: But they were not needed.
JP: We didn’t eat them.
A: Please remember to subscribe and ring
that bell to get notified on all our
latest and greatest. And we will see you soon for our next set of adventures.
A: Bye veggie lovers!
We feel like we’re on top of the world we are at the top of the Andes Mountains
and what’s amazing is that you can see the cloud forest in the background.
the clouds hanging below the mountaintops. So cool.