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Ingapirca, Ingapirca

Concierge.com's insider take:

These are the largest known Incan ruins in Ecuador, and it's shocking to see an archeological site so exposed and so accessible to visitors. This is not your usual tourist site: There are no ropes or barriers, and you can climb, crawl, sit, and take photos throughout the 15th-century complex built as a resting place for Incan travelers and troops (thus the fortress-like layout). You can also walk on ancient footpaths over the impressive aqueduct system and touch incredible structures like the Temple of the Sun—their stonemasonry was masterful, with stones stacked so tightly that no mortar was needed. The Canari, the indigenous people of the area who were briefly dominated by the Inca, still manage and hold ceremonies in the ruins (though hopefully sacrificial virgins are no longer required). The one issue with the site is that it's overrun by day-trippers who arrive by the busload from Quito. Consider staying at Posada Ingapirca, just a few minutes walk from the ruins, to beat the crowds in the morning hours.—Cathay Che

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