Friday, July 19, 2013

INGAPIRCA ECUADOR during INTI RAYMI - Our visit to the Incan Ruins!

Ingapirca Ruins

One of many dreams on my bucket list of places to see is to one day visit Machu Picchu in the Cusco region of Peru.  It's one of the most visited sites in all of South America and one of the greatest historic places in the world.  Well, I'm closer now than I've ever been living in Cuenca, Ecuador, so I'm sure this dream of mine will be realized one day soon.  In the meantime, the Ingapirca ruins will have to do.  I've read a few negative reviews by world travelers who have been to the most spectacular of ruins in this world, saying Ingapirca is disappointing and not that big a thrill.  I, however, found this area, which is so close to Cuenca, to be a wonderful day trip and area to visit and a joyous celebration time during the Inti-Raymi festival.

We went with friends via bus (oh, how I love hopping the bus to see the sites of Ecuador), and boarded early for a 2-hour ride north of Cuenca to the town of Ingapirca.  The weather was warm and sunny, and we were ready for a blue-sky day of Incan music, artistic vendors selling their crafts and wares, festive dancing and a joyous celebration of this yearly Incan fiesta.  There were many different cultures visiting from Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and other areas outside of Ecuador.  The costumes were colorful and the dancers were joyous and entertaining. 

Inti Raymi is the "Festival of the Sun."  Yearly, it is celebrated around June 21st, the shortest day of the year (originally it was celebrated during winter solstice).  It is to honor their Incan God Inti.  The fee to enter the ruins was $10, but because of our cedulas, we were charged only $2 each.  A tour guide is provided as groups of people are ushered through the gate to see the ruins.  We ended up with an English-speaking guide , so that made it a bit easier on some to understand the history of the ruins.  Because I was more focused on taking photos than staying with the group to hear the guide's in-depth history of the ruins, you'll have to google it. For me, photography rules!!!

It was a very relaxing and fun day for us and our friends, and we recommend going to see this area of Ecuador that is so close to Cuenca and also because it is a very scenic ride there and back.  Also, the town of Canar (Can-yar) is another place to visit on the way.  Will we go back there?  Maybe!  For now, it's another area we've experienced in this beautiful country, and we're ready to move on and see more.  Now for some photography to show you Ingapirca during Inti Raymi through my lens.  Enjoy!

Pictures tell the Story of Our Day at Ingapirca

We departed on an 8:30 am bus and enjoyed the scenic ride to Ingapirca.  This little girl was fascinated by the big man sitting behind her (Bo!).
After arriving in the town of Ingapirca, we walked past many vendor tents and headed for the dancing and ruins.  We passed a young woman receiving her "spiritual cleansing" from a shaman woman.  This is a common ritual performed during all of the celebrations and holidays in Ecuador.  Those who participate believe it will rid them of bad energy/spirits or illness.  The shaman rubs the victim, I mean client, down with a candle, rolls a hard-boiled egg around their body, and then pats them down with a bundle of strong smelling herbs.  She also will spit on her willing or not-so-willing participant.  That ought to do it, hey??  No spit, no cleanse.
Ah, the carefree simple life of living in a little bus-van.  I wonder where these artists will travel to next?
There were crowds of visitors waiting for the dancers (and "helado" of course)......
.....and the weather, Andean music, dance performers and costumes did not disappoint us.

A variety of dance troops entertained the crowds in their traditional colorful costumes.
Children love the fiestas!

Rocky uneven dirt roads don't intimidate those who love their "tacones altos!"  These are actually low heels compared to some platforms and high heels we've seen at these fiestas.  Imagine standing for hours in these - and hiking all around the ruins?  Ouch.... Here, beauty rules!
The older generation stick to their traditional attire for every day wear. 
It was time to do our "ruins" tour.
The views were beautiful....
......and walking and touring the ruins was fascinating.
I was able to capture the town of Ingapirca from the ruins with my telephoto lens.  That is where the bus let us off, and it's a short walk to the ruins.
Our English speaking tour guide shared lots of history about this area.  I'm not sure if the Ecuadorians in our group understood what he was saying!
It was time to head back to the town and take a bus into Canar (Can-yar) where we would see more celebration and then have dinner before heading home.
On the way to the bus, we had a delicious traditional Ecuadorian hot drink called Canelazo which is made with spiced cinnamon, naranjilla and herbs, being poured by this precious young girl.
......listened to some strolling musicians.......
....and passed by crowds of families camping.....
......and watching!
In 30 minutes, we arrived in Canar....
.....where another celebration was in process.  This woman seems to have a perfect view.  Her attire fascinated me!
Women in their hats are a common sight in Ecuador.
Each culture has their unique and personal traditional style.

Ecuadorian children always stare at us when we stroll by them!
When they catch me photographing and capturing their moment, they always smile!

By early evening, we had seen enough dancing and celebrating of this yearly South American event.
As we headed to the bus "parada" to hop our Cuenca ride, I captured this parked truck's sign (Jesus The Great Power).  I was reminded of the freedom of religious expression so common here in Ecuador.  This is one of the sweet things I love about living here.
Thank you friends, for inviting us to join you this day to celebrate Inti Raymi together.
Thank you, Jim, for capturing this photos of Bo and me at Ingapirca.  I'm surprised you got all of Bo's hair in the picture!  

Yes, we're starting to see more and more of beautiful Ecuador.  Be looking for our next adventure as we decide, "Where shall we go next?"


  1. Hi Guys

    Well we have only been back from lovely Cuenca a couple of days and I am happy to see you have another Blog. I enjoy seeing the things I missed, we saw so much , more than I had hoped for because of your warm hospitality.
    When we first headed for Cuenca I had so many of your pictures in my mind, I knew what to expect. WRONG. It became a treasure hunt. The flower market came first. You know you are close when the soft sweet scent of roses floats by. The local Food Market. Well I remember the pictures well enough, but walking through the front door the picture now comes with Sound, Smells, Motion, and we are talking 3-D, and after a little wandering lets throw in Taste. (thanks to the whole roast pork) (twice).. It was a very memorable visit. I know we walked nearly every street of the historic district, many of them many times. Looking forward to your every Blog.
    Your pictures and thoughts are a wonderful guide book for all those who venture your way.
    Thank you again for time and your friendship.
    Larry and Bea.

  2. Hi Friends,
    WOW - what a wonderful read. Thanks so much for posting this heart-felt comment.
    We miss you both already!!! It was wonderful to meet you both, Bea and Larry, and to be able to spend some fun time together during your visit to Cuenca (and a couple of delicious meals together!!). We so enjoyed your company and we will always remember our time together in El Cajas. We are blessed to call you our friends.
    Hurry back so we can make more memories.
    Linda (& Bo))

  3. Hello my dear Linda and Bo I liked and enjoyed to pass a day together in Ingapica specially for the Inti Raymi. thank you a lot. Ilove you. good travel and come back soon!Melissa Ramírez

  4. Querida Melissa,

    Te amamos y te veremos en octubre.
    Entonces, podemos planear más viajes juntos.
    Sigue practicando su Inglés, y vamos a tratar de no olvidar nuestro español.
    Mucho amor,


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)