Inca Trail & Cuenca Hiking Tour

From $697 per person

A stunning 3 day trek along Ecuador’s Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan) beginning in Achupallas, passing Culebrillas Lake and ending in the Ingapirca Inca Ruins. Enjoy a guided tour of the colonial city of Cuenca on the final day.

  • Activity Level:Moderate to Difficult
  • Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
  • Highlights: Hiking the Qhapaq Ñan, Culebrillas Lagoon, Inca ruins, Ingaprica, Colonial City of Cuenca
Thatched roof bridge over a lake outlet with a few hikers crossing on Ecuador's Inca Trail


Day 1 Achupallas – Inca Settlement (L,D)

We depart early from Cuenca and take the Pan-American Highway north.

From La Moya we follow a small road and after 3.5 hours we arrive at Achupallas at an altitude of 3420m. A local guide meets us there with a pack horse.

We start our hike along the Cadrul River and cross a narrow pass between two peaks named Callana Pucará and Mapahuiña. We continue upriver along this U-shaped valley, arriving at an Incan settlement at 3910m where we will camp for the night.

Along the way we have the option to climb Callana Pucará (4190 m), which offers a fantastic panoramic view towards Chimborazo Volcano.

Today’s hiking time is 5-6 hours.

Dinner and overnight at our campsite.

Day 2 Inca Settlement – Culebrillas Lake (B,L,D)

This morning we follow the Cadrul River to the Tres Cruces (Three Crosses) Lake and climb to the Cuchilla Tres Cruces Pass at 4420m before crossing the crest to Quillaloma.

This ascent rewards us with a fabulous view of a range of Andean mountains and lakes. Below we can make out the Espíndola Valley with the Qhapaqñan (Inca Trail) passing through, and in the background the sacred Culebrillas Lake.

We descend towards the valley and the Espíndola River at 3930m.

On arrival in the Paredones area or Tambo Real Incaico (Royal Inca Inn), located 500m from the shores of the Culebrillas Lake (4012m) we set up camp for the night.

Today’s hiking time is around 6 hours.

Dinner and overnight at our campsite.

Day 3 Culebrillas Lake – Ingapirca Inca Ruins (B,L,D)

We head south this morning and continue hiking through the typical vegetation of the high moorlands, following the Inca Trail in the direction of Ingapirca.

After 3 hours we arrive at the small town of San José. Trekkers have the option of walking 90 minutes more to reach the Ingapirca Inca Ruins Complex or take a vehicle from San José for the 20-minute ride to Ingapirca which is at 3160m. Lunch is included in a local restaurant in the Ingapirca area.

In the afternoon we have a guided tour of Ingaprica, the most important pre-hispanic archeological site in Ecuador. Deep in the southern Andes, we find cultural remains that are a testimony to the presence of important Andean societies like the Cañari and Inca.

Later we continue on to the colonial city of Cuenca.

Today’s hiking time is around 5 hours.

Dinner and overnight in a boutique hotel in Cuenca.

Day 4 Cuenca City Tour (B,L)

This morning you are picked up from your Cuenca hotel by your private guide.

Today’s tour of the beautiful city of Cuenca includes visits to the traditional and pretty neighbourhood of San Sebastian, the Modern Art Museum, Parque Caldero (Main Plaza), the Flower Market, the Cathedral of the Sagrario (old cathedal) and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (new cathedral) considered as the largest in Latin America.

We also visit a local Panama Hat museum and workshop where we can observe the elaboration of these high-quality products, which despite their name, originate from Ecuador.

Later we have time to visit the banks of the Tomebamba river, through the charming Barranco neighbourhood with its colonial architecture and natural environment.

At the end of the morning we arrive at the Turi Lookout, which offers panoramic views of the red tiled roofs and blue cupolas of the city of Cuenca, surrounded by an impressive mountain backdrop. Stop off also at the nearby home and workshop of ceramic artist Eduardo Vega.

A typical lunch included in a local restaurant.

The tour finishes in Cuenca this afternoon.

3 Star Superior: Hotel Victoria, Cuenca
4 Star: Mansion Alcazar, Cuenca


3 Star Superior Prices 2024

2 people
$1131 p/p
3 - 4 people
$851 p/p
5 - 6 people
$697 p/p

4 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$1194 p/p
3 - 4 people
$931 p/p
5 - 6 people
$770 p/p

Price includes:
Private transportation, top English-speaking guide, assistant with pack horse, mountain equipment (tents, mats, sleeping bags, rubber boots, rain ponchos, cooking gear), accommodation in Cuenca as specified, meals as specified (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner), water for trek, entry fees to Ingapirca.

Not included:
International flights, personal travel insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks, extra activities not specified, tips and personal expenses. If clients need an extra pack horse for excess luggage additional costs will apply

Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2024.
This tour begins and ends in the city of Cuenca. We can help coordinating return flights to Quito or onward travel to Guayaquil, extra charges will apply.

Day 1: Setting out on the Inca Trail - Ecuador
Day 1: Hiking the Inca Trail - Ecuador
Day 1: Mountain Views on Ecuador's Inca Trail
Day 2: Hiking the Inca Trail Ecuador
Day 2: Culebrillas Lake on Ecuador's Inca Trail
Day 2: Arriving at the 'Tambo Real" next to Culebrillas Lake
Day 3: Morning views across Lake Culebrilla
Day 3: Continuing this morning along the Inca Trail towards Ingapirca
Day 3: Arrival at Ingapirca Inca Ruins
Day 4: Cupolas of the New Cathedral in Cuenca
Day 4: New Cathedral & Parque Calderon, Cuenca
Day 4: Panama Hat Museum in Cuenca