After touring the Cañari-Incan ruins at Ingapirca, you’ll come upon a small trail sign inviting you to discover a few other wonders that can be tied to the Cañari and Incan cultures. In fact, walking the trail is absolutely free and if you decided not to visit the Ingapirca complex, the hike alone provides stunning views of the Incan Temple and the retaining walls that surround it. My best photos of the site were taken from the high point of the trail.
In a single hour, you can expect to see some ancient baths thought to be used for ceremonies at the top of a hill overlooking Ingapirca, a stone partially carved by the Cañari so that it looks like a turtle, a piece of carved stone that has fallen into a farm field but originally belonged to the baths high above, a natural formation that the local Cañari worshiped because of its similarity to the sun, and a face carved into a mountainside. And those are just the ancient sites. You can also enjoy walking past fields of freshly sown corn, chat with local farmers about fresh milk, and wonder at the men and women working fields so steep it seems nearly impossible that they could stand upright. You might spot tanagers flying in the Eucalyptus grove or llamas grazing near the trail. And if you’re lucky, a local farm woman might wave in thanks as you step off the trail to allow her to keep running by so that she isn’t late to help her husband water the cattle.