Admission to the small museum is included in the ticket price for visiting the Ingapirca ruins ($6 July 2011). I didn’t visit the museum right after the ruins, but came back later before closing time. At this time there were no other visitors and I had the museum to myself.
In the museum you can see pottery from the Cañari and Inca people and there is also an ethnographic room with textiles and other items of the Cañaris. There are also photos and information about the restoration work of the archaeological site.
The admission to Ingapirca archaeological site is $6 (July 2011). In that price a guided tour of the site and entrance to the museum is included. The guided tour takes about an hour and if you don’t speak Spanish there are also English speaking guides available. You don’t have to follow a guide, but as there is no information about Ingapirca at the site it is a good idea to do so.
The most interesting building at Ingapirca is the Temple of the Sun, built on an elliptical shaped platform. Here you can see how the Incas have fitted the stones of the wall together perfectly without using mortar. It is also built so that at the solstices, at a special time of the day, the sunlight will shine through the doorway to a small chamber.
There are several dirt roads you can take around Ingapirca if you want to go for a walk. I took the one continuing above Ingapirca archaeological site, past Posada Ingapirca. In the early afternoon (when I sat inside to eat lunch) it was sunny and views over the mountains were great. When I started my walk I could see how the low clouds where getting closer and it was not long until the surrounding landscape was covered in them and there were no view, and it also became colder. I passed houses and pastures on my walk and greeted people I met. The road was going uphill all the way until I turned around and walked back. On my way back a woman asked me if I wasn’t afraid to walk alone and I told her I wasn’t. She said something about robberies and I think there might have been one (but I’m not sure). I’m glad I hadn’t heard of that before my walk.
The rooms at Hostal El Huasipungo is upstairs and the restaurants is downstairs. I had intended to eat there in the evening, but it seemed like they had closed for the day. When I asked for something too eat one of the girls, who were sweeping the floor, ran out in to the kitchen to have a look. She came back and told me I could have some chicken and rice, which I was grateful for. There was not much meat on the chicken, but there was a lot of rice and some onion and tomato on the plate. I also got a pineapple juice to drink. For the meal and juice I paid $2.50 (July 2011).
I'm sure you can also have breakfast here, but as I left already at 6am, I didn't.
Just a few hundred metres above the archaeological site in Ingapirca is Posada Ingapirca. I had heard that it is a beautiful place and decided to go there to see if they served lunch. There were no other lunch guests at the moment but there was lunch so I sat down in the restaurant. It was a lovely room with a nice view through the window, and traditional music was played in a low volume from a music player.
First I was served an alcoholic drink and was shown which herb that was used in it. Than I got a bowl of Mote de maiz before the soup of the day arrived, a Sopa de Quinoa. For the main plate I had trout, which was served with French fries and salad. To drink I had a fresh juice made from the tomato tree and after the meal a coffee. It was a filling and delicious meal.
This was the most expensive meal I had in Ecuador. After service and IVA tax was added it rounded up to $16 (July 2011).
In the morning I took a taxi from the hotel in Cuenca to the bus terminal. It was $2. At the terminal I looked for Transportes Cañar which have direct buses to Ingapirca at 9am ( the bus left 5 minutes earlier, so don't come late). The ticket was $2.50 (July 2011) and to Ingapirca it took about two hours. There were many tourists on the bus and they were all going to return to Cuenca after visiting the ruins. The bus was going to return to Cuenca at 13.15, which ment the visitors would only get a little bit more than two hours to see the site. This was a Saturday so there were no more direct buses, but on weekdays there is also a bus returning at 16.00. If you want to stay longer you can allways take one of the local buses to El Tambo (by the Panamerican Highway) and from there take one of the buses coming from north heading to Cuenca.
From Ingapirca there are frequent buses to El Tambo and Cañar. The first bus in the morning is leaving around 6.10 and that is the one I took when leaving Ingapirca, because I had a long journey ahead of me and I didn´t want to arrive to Baños too late. The bus stopped many times along the way to pick up people and their goods. To El Tambo it was $0.50 (July 2011) and it took half an hour. In El Tambo I got off by the park where it would be easy to stop a bus heading north. It was early Sunday morning and still empty in the streets, but a shop nearby was open so I went there to by biscuits and water for breakfast. As I came out of the shop a bus just arrived and when I asked they said they were going to Ambato. The ticket to Ambato was $6. In the begining the driver drove like crazy, maybe because there were not much traffic on the road. Anyway he later slowed down. In Alausi we were supposed to stay 10 minutes, but I think we were there almost half an hour.
In Riobamba the young man working on the bus told me I had to change bus, but as I had already paid to Ambato he gave me $1.25 back for the bus to Ambato and he showed me were it was standing.
In Ambato I was not going to the main terminal because the buses for Baños leave from Mayorista Terminal. I was dropped near Mayorista and was told to wait by the road (near a roundabout) for the Baños bus. Other people did the same and after 10-15 minutes a bus arrived. To Baños it was $1 and it took less than an hour.
I arrived to Baños just after one o'clock so the journey had taken seven hours. In every bus I had my big backpack by my feet and he smaller backpack in my knee.
Favorite thing: We visited Ingapirca on our drive from Riobamba to Cuenca. Having seen Macchu Picchu this was not an amazing site for us. Nevertheless it's a nice site; the chape of the temple is special as it is an ellipse. The scenery is nice. So in short; if you're in the neighbourhood, it's a nice trip if you're not... don't go out of your way to visit it.