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The ruins of Ingapirca, Ecuador

The most important pre-Columbian archaeological site in Ecuador and how to get there. Perched at 3160 meters above sea level, the Cañaris, a matriarchal society, had built this temple there originally to venerate the moon.

Les Ruines Ingapirca, Équateur
The ruins of Ingapirca, Ecuador


Anecdote: Chimborazo Volcano Lucky Plan


According to the filming schedule, we were a little too tight in time to also visit the Chimborazo, the highest peak in the Ecuadorian Andes, culminating at 6263 m. But on the other hand, I absolutely had to have that shot in my film, because I had a passage that talked about it. At that height, that I said to myself, certainly that we must be able to observe it from afar!? Indeed, after much research looking at photos of the city of Riobamba, I saw that we could see it very well. After a 5-hour drive from Quito, we thought that it would also give us a short break for supper. Except that in order not to venture too far from the bus station and to see the Chimborazo, you would have to be on a roof! We have the brilliant idea of asking the owner of a hotel if we can go to hers for the sake of filming and, quite nicely, she accepts. But woe... there are so many clouds, that the plan isn't great! I'm disappointed but at least I have it on video... Later during supper, just before the sun sets, I realize that the clouds have completely dissipated! How beautiful, with the sunset, too! I take my audacity in hand a second time and I run, leaving Michaël and Cameron at the Chinese restaurant (yes, Chinese) wondering why I'm running like that! I politely ask the little lady to go back up on her roof and she accepts! She definitely makes my night!


Le Chimborazo au coucher du soleil à Riobamba
The Chimborazo at sunset in Riobamba

Transportation Anecdote


So obviously our bus to get to Cañar was at night, you understood that. We had the brilliant idea of falling asleep and we passed a bit straight from our main destination... we had to, in the early hours of the night in an unknown village in Ecuador, take the chance to wait for a another bus in the opposite direction and who wants to stop his way for three gringos... Fortunately, it didn't take too long. We had reserved a room at El Tambo and when we arrived, it was something like 2 am... precisely, we had made sure we had a place to sleep, but we rang the bell about forty times, more , phoned, wrote an email to the owners who replied that there was someone waiting for us... nothing to do! The receptionist slept very hard! After half an hour, we said to ourselves that we were going to find something else, we were tired... Do you know how exhausting and embarrassing it is to look for a hostel at that hour? Not very nice and not very reassuring for the locals either, we completely understand! Despite everything, we were lucky to find a charming little place for not too much money.

The next day, all was forgiven. The village of El Tambo is cute and authentic and also very untouristy! It was an experience just to walk around the city and observe the expressions of the locals seeing us. We were still happy despite our exhausting night.

Obviously it's very easy to head to the Ingapirca ruins because it's literally the only thing to do in that area. We are even surprised at the number of buses going there.

We finally come to the greatest testimony of the Inca occupation in Ecuador.


Les lamas au site d'Igapirca
The Temple of the Sun and the lamas at the Ingapirca site
Panorama d'Ingapirca
Ingapirca's Panorama


The Ruins of Ingapirca


We learn a little later in Cuenca from a guide that what makes this site so special is the fact that the Cañaris, a matriarchal society, had built this temple there originally to venerate the moon, then, the Incas, people of the sun, succeeded after several important battles to seize the site. They built there the famous temple of the sun which one can see on all the photos of Ingapirca. And so both the moon and the sun would have been worshiped there. Obviously we can suspect it, the temple of the sun is aligned especially to be lit as long as possible by daylight on all its angles.

Currently, the National Institute of Cultural Heritage manages this archaeological complex which has become a place of pilgrimage for many indigenous communities in the south of the country.

For your information, it is obligatory to do the visit with a guide, which did not really please me because as I already said, it is difficult for me to take plans while following the herd, it is a little too fast for the work I have to do. But the guide was not too demanding and let me take all the delay I had to. Michaël would then come and tell me what the guide had explained! We understood for example why the visit was compulsory with a guide... we were few gringos to make the visit (6 out of about thirty) it was mostly locals, that impressed us, but we were really disappointed by the behavior of Ecuadorian tourists. People were taking rocks from the site and throwing them around, parents were letting their children climb on the walls, etc.! We were a little offended and confused... but who are we to remind them of the value of their heritage? (!)

The visit lasts about 1 hour, and afterwards, it is possible to continue walking around the site and appreciate the beautiful Ecuadorian nature, drink a small glass of chicha (fermented corn drink), shop for souvenirs... and see a face in the mountain!


Voyez-vous le visage dans la montagne? :)
Do you see the face in the mountain? :)

Un beau lama qui prend la pose pour vous près du site d'Ingapirca!
A beautiful llama posing for you near the Ingapirca site!



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