Ingapirca (Inca Ruins)

Trip Start Sep 26, 2009
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What I did
Ingapirca Ecuador
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Monday, August 29, 2011

The Andes Mountains are so green along this Panamerican highway that let me tell you, the landscape is dotted with many, HAPPY cows.  The countryside was filled with handsome farmhouses, some quite palatial, some very old and run down yet still retaining their charm.  A beautiful 2.5-hour bus ride. 

The Ingapirca ruins (Ingapirca means Wall of the Inca) are not very large, so it doesn’t take a lot of time to explore them, but are worth a visit. These are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador.  Do not rush your time there.  Walk around the grounds and take in the beauty of the surrounding green hills and valleys, not to mention the museum, the shops and enjoy the friendly people of the area.

The ruins were discovered in 1970 and are located in Caņar province and just outside the town of Ingapirca.  While following the paths in and around the ruins, there are some signs provided in four different languages that explain certain features and how the Incas used the site.   If you have a group of ten or more, you can get a tour guide at no additional cost, even in English.  There were only three of us, so we were on our own.  Of course, you can always Google Ingapirca before you go and read up ahead of time.

For a tourist the entrance fee into the park is $6.00, but if you are a resident, just show your ID as we did (our Censo card was enough, even without having our residency visas yet) and your cost is half price. We brought along a friend who is visiting from the US to check out Ecuador as a place to live and she had to pay the full entrance fee.  In fact, anywhere you go in Ecuador, as our personal research has shown, even to the Galapagos, if you are a resident with a CEDULAR (a Censo may not always be enough, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A CITIZEN) you pay a lot less, you pay what the Ecuadorians pay..  

The shops there are filled with colorful handmade items, so take cash and have some fun, as the best part is always the shopping, I say.  Although we thought that some items were a little on the high side, we generally found the prices to be good and cheaper than in Cuenca. I bought a black, elegant Alpaca poncho for $16.00 and Shirley bought an Alpaca blanket for $25.00.  Do negotiate, and as a friend told me, Alpaca should feel like butter.  They also sell a lot of goods made from llama, which did not feel the same, not as soft.  They had very heavy llama sweaters there for $15 - $30.00.  There was a gorgeous large Alpaca zippered sweater for $22.00, which I tried to get Fred to purchase for himself but he just gets too warm wearing things like that.  In fact, I couldn’t believe my ears, so asked to hear the price of that sweater several times -- a pretty good price.  Shirley bought a leather cowboy hat for $15.00 and some adorable doll key chains for $1.00 each.  We also saw a lot of Tagua (vegetable ivory) jewelry and figurines.

There are a couple of tiny restaurants there as well serving up traditional Ecuadorian food, so you do not have to leave the grounds to eat. We had a large bowl of delicious soup, along with chicken, beans, rice and a glass of pear juice for $1.75 each.  Plenty of food was served.

To get to Ingapirca from Cuenca, we suggest you just go to the main bus terminal, which has many little shops and restaurants inside. The buses depart at 9am and 12pm, then return at 1pm and 4pm during the week.  A one-way bus ride is $2.50.  You can purchase a round trip ticket for $5.00 but the gal there told us that if you depart on the 9.00am bus then you will have to leave Ingapirca on the bus returning at 1:00pm, instead of returning on the next and last bus, which leaves at 4:00pm.   We did not want to be rushed, so we paid the driver of the bus the $2.50 for the return trip at 4:00pm. 

The buses are the typical comfortable gray-hound buses, so don’t worry, you will not have to share your space with any chickens or goats.  In fact, we haven't seen any animals on any of the city buses in Cuenca, except for maybe baby dogs or cats or baby chickens thus far.   However, the buses to Ingapirca do pick up and drop off passengers along the way so the bus can get crowded.  (It costs .10 cents to get thru the gate to the buses at the terminal in Cuenca) Anyway, it certainly is an enjoyable day trip.

We returned home around 7pm and 10 minutes later had our 2nd bible study with our landlord John.  He was upstairs waiting for us.  Tomorrow we start a new study with a woman Fred found today, Aug. 30th and we are hoping to have our second study this week with another woman who teaches English.  So there is definitely great potential for many bible studies.  

Some info I found: "The llama is roughly twice the size of the alpaca and the llama has a very coarse outer coat over a softer inner coat - as opposed to the alpaca, which has a very fine, single coat. In addition, the llama produces far less fiber per animal than the alpaca, despite its much larger size."

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