We explore to the north of Cuenca today with a visit to INGAPIRCA, the site of important Inca Canari ruins. Our journey makes for a beautiful drive along valleys and over mountain ranges between the Andes. Around 15 kms from our destination we discover a newly constructed access road. This new road winds around the hillsides and offers stunning views at almost every turn. When we arrive at Ingapirca, Richard notices improvements there too. A new visitor centre and toilets are open, and the car parking area is fully paved. It is clear the Ecuadorian government is investing in infrastructure and tourist facilities.
Fernando and Juan Carlos, our two local guides, take us on a walking tour of the historic site. The Ingapirca ruins were originally built in the 15th century on a royal highway that ran from Quito to Cusco and the high quality of some of the stonework indicates that Ingapirca was an important place. From the centrepiece Temple of the Sun there are 360 degree views and the weather today is sunny and bright, so we can see for miles.
After our visit lunch is included at Posada Ingapirca, located up a winding road just above the historic site. Neptali, our coach driver, apologises that he cannot drive our new and very large coach up the hill. The road is simply too narrow and winding. So we take a stroll instead. We are rewarded with quinoa soup, trout and a tree-tomato dessert. Richard buys the drinks which makes the walk downhill much easier. We enjoy some free time to visit the museum (which turns out to be closed) and some guests buy some souvenirs. Others simply enjoy the magnificent views. In the field adjacent to the visitor centre we spot some rather frisky llamas. Definitely time to go, Richard thinks.