3 days

Ecuadorian Inca Trail

The Incas made an impressive system of roads, which connected Quito, in the northern part of their empire, with Talca (south of Santiago, Chile). Did you know that the Inca’s had such a good trail system, that they could deliver a message from Quito to Cusco in only 5 days!
In the southern part of Ecuador’s Central Valley it is possible to follow one of these ancient Inca trails. This trek will take us along paramo highlands, remote indigenous villages and enchanting mountain lakes, to the ruins of Ingapirca.

Short itinerary:

Day 1: Riobamba – Achupallas and start of trek
Day 2: Cuchilla de Tres Cruces – San José
Day 3: San José – Ingapirca – Riobamba

Next confirmed departure date (private tours can start on any date):

  • The 16th of February 2024

Extended itinerary of the Ecuadorian Inca Trail:


Day 1: Riobamba - Achupallas and start of trek

Ecuadorian Inca Trail hike
We leave at 8:30 am from Riobamba by car and drive south until we reach the small village of Achupallas at 3300 m. / 10.827 f. altitude. Here we put our equipment on donkeys and then start hiking on the páramo grasslands. After about 4 hours of hiking we make our camp for the first night at about 3850 m. / 12.632 f. altitude.

Day 2

Inca Trail EcuadorToday we will hike for about 7 hours, starting with a climb from 3850 m. / 12.632 f. up to 4400 m. / 14.436 f. After 2 – 3 hours we reach the highest point of this trek, called Cuchilla de Tres Cruces. From here we have a beautiful view of Sansahuín, one of the many lakes in this area. Now we go down again and pass the Paredones ruins, that used to be a resting-place for Incan couriers. From here we continue on the Inca road southwest until we reach the village of San José, where we pitch our tents.

Day 3

End of Inca Trail EcuadorWe continue descending to the south for about 3 – 4 hours. Soon we can see the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, at 3300 m. / 10.827 f. Here you will visit the ruins and the museum, to learn about the culture of the Inca’s and the Cañari’s. In the afternoon we return by car to Riobamba. Arrival at Riobamba at about 17:00 hour.

Difficulty: moderate; a basic acclimatization is recommended
Departure: any day with minimum 2 persons

Inclusive in the Ecuadorian Inca Trail:

Inclusive in this trek:
– naturalist guide
– 4 wheel drive transportation from / to Riobamba
– accommodation in spacious double tents
– meals and coffee, tea, purified drinking water
– pack donkeys for all the equipment and necessary luggage
– first quality camping equipment

–  Drinks
–  Personal spendings
–  Tips

Ecuadorian Inca Trail hike

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