Following the Steps of the Incas in the Ecuadorian Andes
Last weekend the SOLEQ.Travel team went on an excursion to the Ecuadorian province Cañar to check out the Inca Trail.
Before our hiking trip there were a couple of things that had to be prepared. First of all we had a meeting with our guide who told us about the trek and what to bring. After hearing that we are going to walk the whole route with gumboots and should bring rain pants my excitement was a little lowered. I was wondering if it’s really going to be necessary to wear gumboots the whole hike. Spoiler: during the hike we were happy to have both the rain pants and the gumboots with us.
Our adventure started on Friday at 16:40. On our way from Quito to Alausi we had a 1-hour break in Latacunga for dinner. We also got some food for our hike the following day. After another short coffee break we arrived at around 11 in our Hotels in Alausi. We split into two groups and some of us stayed in El Molino while the others checked in the Hosteria La Quinta. I was staying in la Quinta. The hosteria had a lot of charm and the owner was very friendly.
Getting from Alausi to Sangay
The next morning we had a basic but nice breakfast. After that the rest of our group picked us up at 7:40. On our way to Tambo we stopped twice at lookouts to enjoy great views over the Ecuadorian Andes. At our second lookout we were even able to see the famous Nariz del Diablo or in English the Devil’s Nose, a mountain with almost perpendicular walls. After a two hour ride we arrived in Tambo. We left our car at a gas station and took a Taxi to the entrance of the national park Sangay.
From the entrance you can start the hike to the Laguna Culebrillas. The way to the lake was very well-signposted. However, to do this hike it’s highly recommended to have a guide with you. One advantage is that they will be able to point out the spots where Inkas lived and tell you their tales. The other reason is that from the lagoon on there were neither signs nor paths. As the Inca Trail leads you through mudland it’s important to have someone who knows their way around. After about an hour of hiking we had a little picnic. We were lucky as the clouds waited for us to finish our lunch before they started leaking. On our hike we also passed by Inka ruins of Paredones at an altitude of 4.012m. My favourite thing about this hike was the scenery. Even the heavy rain couldn’t stop us from admiring the beautiful landscapes around us. Of course the wetland is a little hard to walk but it’s definitely worth it. We also had a lot of fun jumping into water puddle. After 5 hours of walking we arrived at a small village called San José at the border of the national park.
Returning to Tambo
For returning to Tambo there are two options. Firstly you can arrange a pickup time in San José with the taxi driver who gave you a ride to the entrance. Secondly there is the more adventurous option of taking a cattle truck to the next village and go from there by bus to Tambo and walk the last bit. Of course you need luck for the second option as it’s not always possible to find a farmer willing to take you to the next village. We were lucky enough to find one and therefore chose the second option. After our exciting trip back to the village we changed into dry clothes and were off to Quito.
All together I can recommend the Inca Trail to anyone who loves amazing landscape and hiking and doesn’t mind getting a little wet. If you want to see more of our field trip check out the aftermovie on Youtube.