Great Inca Trail to Ingapirca
The 7-day Ecuador Great Inca Trail expedition will take you far off the beaten track to explore tracts of ancient Inca highway that very few Westerners ever witness. In addition to three-days of privately guided high-altitude trekking through spectacular landscapes you’ll visit important Inca sites (including Ingapirca) and you’ll immerse yourself in both of Ecuador’s most fascinating Andean cities: historic Quito, a UNESCO World Hertiage Site on the Equator, and captivating Cuenca, home to Panama hats and a dazzling cathedral.
Starting from $2,590 per person
Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners.
HOW IT WORKS
- Enjoy a full-day private tour of the ancient Andean city of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site located ony a few miles from the Equator.
- Hike on a masterfully constructed ancient highway through some of the world’s most rugged and pristine landscapes, carrying only a daypack (mules will do the rest)
- Take a tour of breathtaking Ingapirca, Ecuador’s most important prehispanic ruin complex and a place that showcases the history of the Canari and Inca cultures.
- Visit forgotten Inca sites and traverse remote Andean landscapes that only a handful of Westerners have had the privilege to witness.
- Spend a day uncovering the secrets of historic Cuenca, widely regarded as Ecuador’s most beautiful city. Marvel at the magnificent cathedral and learn how Panama hats are made.
- Camp in ultimate comfort and warmth, with quality sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats in your spacious two-man tent.
- While on trail, enjoy four wholesome meals every day and make use of a private tented bathroom.
Explore the Ancient Incan city that so well balances modern sophistication with traditional culture. Walk through picturesque plazas that remain decorated by 16th and 17th century churches, proudly preserved by the city. Modern buildings and culinary offerings are not far from these architectural gems of yore, nor are views of the Andean mountain peaks that sit in the background.
In the morning you'll fly to Cuenca, considered by many to be the country's most beautiful colonial city. Upon arrival, you'll take a private tour of the city. The site where Cuenca stands today once served as a center for the ancient Canari people, the Incas, and finally the Spaniards. You'll learn about this complex history during your Cuenca city tour. You'll also see several of the city’s beautiful colonial buildings, including the main cathedral, and visit a Panama hat factory where nimble-fingered experts weave the famous hats, which are actually an Ecuadorian craft.
After an early breakfast you’ll embark on the 3.5-hour road journey to Achupallas (altitude 11,200ft), where your Great Inca Trail trekking adventure will commence. Together with mules and local guides, you will follow the scenic Cadrul River for several hours, watched over by massive peaks. If you’re feeling energetic you can even summit the 13,750-foot Cerro Callana Pucará, which enjoys majestic views towards the Chimborazo volcano. In the afternoon you’ll arrive at the Inca settlement which will be your camp for the night. Be sure to eat and rest well, because you’ll be doing it all again tomorrow!
Rise early for a hearty and very important breakfast – you’ll be hiking 5 hours today. Once camp is broken you’ll follow the Cadrul River until you reach the Tres Cruces Lake. From there you’ll cross the Cuchilla Tres Cruces, enjoying sweeping views of the nearby peaks and lakes, not to mention some extremely well-preserved Qhapaq Ñan (Inca road). You’ll follow this Inca trail in a downhill direction until you reach the sacred Culebrillas Lake, where you’ll make camp next to an ancient Inca tambo, or way-station.
After a hot breakfast you’ll continue your southerly march along the Great Inca Trail, towards Ingapirca. After a three-hour walk through the distinctive alpine tundra of this region you’ll reach the tiny town of San José. From here you’ll have the option of hiking a further 90 minutes to the ruins of Ingapirca, or taking a 20-minute vehicle transfer. After lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Ecuador’s most important prehispanic archaeological site. Watched over by the magnificent Andes, you will encounter the cultural artefacts which bear witness to the presence of important Andean societies including the Canari and the Incas. Once you’re satisfied you’ve asked enough questions and taken enough photos, you’ll be driven back to Cuenca.
Wake, revitalized, after a night in a proper bed and enjoy a hot shower and a scrumptious breakfast. Depending on the time of your flights to Quito and beyond you may have time for one last stroll through Cuenca’s quaint alleyways.
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