Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca: Indigenous Culture and Archaeology

Dive into Guamote's indigenous culture!
Dive into Guamote's indigenous culture!
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Build a Custom Tour

Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

Build Your Trip

  • Duration3 Days, 2 Nights
  • Starting point (9AM)Your hotel in Baños
  • Group size1 - 10 pax
  • All year roundNote: Ingapirca is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Bookings 3 days in advance

Are you looking for the best way to travel from Baños tu Cuenca? Look no further. Embark on a transformative journey with our “Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca: Indigenous Culture and Archaeology”. This cultural tour in Ecuador is an immersive expedition into the heart of Ecuador’s most indigenous region.

Picture yourself journeying through lush valleys, around the majestic Chimborazo volcano, and diving deep into the rich tapestry of traditional Kichwa culture in Guamote. Engage in a powerful session with a shaman, absorbing the wisdom of ancient healing practices. Stay in the warmth of the Inti Sisa Guesthouse, a beacon of sustainable development and impactful travel, where every aspect of your stay contributes to local education and healthcare initiatives. As you journey onward to the charming city of Cuenca, you’ll pause at the awe-inspiring Ingapirca, an emblem of Inca civilization in Ecuador.

This tour is a chance to experience personal growth, contribute positively to local communities, and witness first-hand the transformative power of impactful travel.

Your Impactful Journey Made Flexible

Are you eager to experience the transformative journey from Baños to Cuenca, but short on time? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We offer a condensed two-day version of this impactful trip. While this shorter journey doesn’t include a visit to Ingapirca, it ensures you experience the heart of our community projects at a brisker pace. By the end of day 2, you’ll find yourself in the enchanting city of Cuenca, a destination that’s sure to captivate your heart.

Stay Tuned for More Impactful Adventures

We’re tirelessly crafting more tours that merge travel with purpose here in Ecuador. Keep an eye on our dedicated pages for Guamote Tours, Cuenca Tours, and our general Impactful Tours in Ecuador page, so you don’t miss out on exciting new opportunities to travel with impact. Remember, our travel specialists are brimming with unique Ecuadorian travel experiences tailor-made for you. Embark on a custom trip with us and discover the transformative power of Impactful Travel. Ready to take the plunge? Learn more here!

Day by Day

Day 1Scenic drive from Baños, around the Chimborazo volcano, to the culturally-rich village of Guamote.

Today, you embark on a journey of discovery starting with a picturesque drive from Baños, meandering around the majestic Chimborazo volcano, and culminating in the beautiful town of Guamote.

You will be picked up at your hotel in Baños at 9AM.

Spiritual Awakening with a Shaman

Experience an intimate encounter with indigenous traditions as you participate in a transformative session with a local shaman. Indigenous communities treasure a wealth of knowledge in traditional medicine and spiritual healing, based on the belief that our physical and mental wellbeing is intrinsically tied to the energy balance within us. As a conduit between the physical and spiritual realms, shamans restore harmony within individuals and their environment through time-honored rituals and ceremonies. This unique encounter will provide a glimpse into the holistic approach of indigenous health and wellness practices, allowing you to tap into ancient wisdom and explore alternative perspectives on healing.

Guamote – A Window to Authentic Andean Culture

Nestled in the Chimborazo Province is Guamote, a captivating Indian village where 90% of the residents are indigenous, providing a genuine experience of local Andean communities and their traditional Kichwa culture. The canton of Guamote is Ecuador’s most traditional region, with a staggering 95% indigenous population. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to explore some of these quaint villages and witness firsthand the positive impact of the projects we support in the mountains.

Inti Sisa – Your Impactful Accommodation

Your home for the next two nights is the inviting Inti Sisa Guesthouse. Run by a dedicated team of locals, along with Eva and Tom from Belgium, Inti Sisa seamlessly blends comfort and community. Enjoy modern comforts like Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, and round-the-clock hot water, while you unwind in communal areas adorned with fireplaces, magazines, and a variety of beverages. Your stay here goes beyond mere accommodation; every dollar from your stay is reinvested into the Inti Sisa Foundation’s initiatives focusing on education, health care, and sustainable development. As a guest at Inti Sisa, you become an integral part of a community striving for meaningful change.

Day 2A Deep Dive into Guamote's Living Culture

On the second day of your “Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca”, you’ll step beyond the tourist trail, immersing yourself in the heart of Guamote and the projects supported by your stay at Inti Sisa Guesthouse.

Engaging with Community Projects

Your journey begins at the Inti Sisa educational center. Here, you’ll witness the profound impact of education on the local community, from the lively kindergarten to the sewing rooms and yoga spaces. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with students learning English, all thanks to the support of Inti Sisa. This is more than just a visit; it’s a chance to see firsthand how your travels contribute positively to this vibrant community.

Unveiling Indigenous Traditions and Lifestyle

As the day unfolds, you’ll dive deeper into the indigenous culture that shapes Guamote. Your guide will lead you on a journey through time, sharing tales of the region’s rich history during a scenic car ride through the mountains. A stop at a local primary school provides an opportunity to interact with the students and participate in fun activities. The highlight of the day will be a visit to an indigenous family living in a traditional “choza”, offering a unique perspective on the mountain lifestyle.

Reconnecting with Nature

The day concludes with a scenic drive back to Guamote, offering picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes. For those wishing to deepen their connection with nature, there’s an option to walk back to the guesthouse, allowing for a closer encounter with the stunning environment.

This day offers a perfect blend of cultural immersion, meaningful interaction, and natural beauty, all while contributing to the sustainable development of the local community. It’s not just travel from Baños to Cuenca; it’s an unforgettable journey into the heart of Ecuador’s living culture.

Day 3Journeying into the Past at Ingapirca

On the third day of your cultural tour in Ecuador, you’ll embark on a journey from Guamote to Cuenca, making a fascinating stop at Ingapirca along the way. The visit will take around 1.5 hours. 

Ingapirca, an important religious center for the Canaris and Inca populations, stands as the most significant pre-Hispanic archaeological monument in Ecuador. Nestled in the southern Andes, this archaeological complex is a testament to ancient civilizations. Its immense ensemble of stone structures, housing foundations, terraces, and cobbled roads echoes tales of the past.

Stepping into Ingapirca is like entering a time machine. This sprawling four-hectare complex takes you back to pre-Hispanic times, bringing history to life. It’s more than just an archaeological site; it’s a bridge connecting diverse cultures through the Tahuantinsuyo. As a symbol of the Inca civilization’s power in Ecuador, Ingapirca offers a captivating glimpse into some of South America’s most mysterious and intriguing ancient civilizations.

Cuenca: The Final Destination of Your Impactful Journey

After around six hours of travel (including stops), your Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca comes to an end. Cuenca is a beautiful city renowned for its stunning architecture and vibrant culture, promising new adventures and experiences. Read our Travel Guide to Cuenca to get inspired!

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What makes this experience Impactful?

Every aspect of this Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca is designed with a conscious commitment to sustainable tourism. We believe in traveling responsibly and ensuring that our presence benefits the local communities.

Firstly, by choosing this tour, you directly support community projects in Guamote, such as the Inti Sisa educational center. Your visit empowers these initiatives, contributing to the local economy and fostering development.

Secondly, this tour deeply respects and celebrates local culture and traditions. From participating in local games at a primary school to visiting an indigenous family living in traditional housing, every activity offers an authentic insight into the local way of life. It’s not just about observing; it’s about understanding, respecting, and appreciating the rich cultural tapestry that makes Ecuador so unique.

Thirdly, our use of local drivers from Guamote ensures that your travel contributes directly to the local economy. These drivers, deeply connected to their land, offer invaluable insights and stories that enrich your journey.

Finally, this tour takes you off the beaten path to less-visited destinations like Guamote and Ingapirca. This approach helps spread tourist dollars more evenly, supporting under-visited communities and promoting regional growth.


Price Includes

  • Private transportation (pickup in Baños at 9AM)
  • Accommodation2 nights including breakfast and the first dinner in Intisisa *
  • ActivitiesShaman visit on day 1, Indigenous family weaving project visit on day 2, Ingapirca visit on day 3
  • Some English-speaking guidesOn the Guamote communities visit and in Ingapirca: the rest of the time you'll only have your driver.
  • Entrance feesto Ingapirca on day 3
  • Should Inti Sisa be fully booked, your stay will be arranged at another hotel in Guamote. All meals and activities will proceed at Inti Sisa, including breakfast.

Price Excludes

  • Guide or translator throughout the whole tourYou will only be accompanied by your Spanish-speaking driver; meaning that there is no guide or translator at the shaman activity.
  • Additional lunches and dinner on the second eveningThe best place in Guamote to have dinner is Inti Sisa; of course you can book & pay these meals on the spot.
  • Additional drinks
  • Read more about what's generally not included in our Terms and Conditions (click here).

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca: Indigenous Culture and Archaeology

Does the tour include an English-speaking guide?

Well, not throughout the whole tour.

The first day, you will make the long trip with a Spanish-speaking driver; meaning that the visit to the shaman and his community will be in Spanish only. Of course, like on many of our trips, you will be well received and they will do everything to make sure you’ll still learn and be impacted by the experience; despite the possible language barrier. After all, the human connection isn’t all about language, right?

On the second day, a guide will accompany you from Guamote to the community visits; this guide does speak English.

And on the third day in Ingapirca, there are government-funded site guides that would be happy to guide you around.

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

This is a private excursion. 

Do I have to pay any entrance fees?

No, all necessary entrance fees are included in the price. 

What is the highest point during this route?

During your journey from Baños to Cuenca, you’ll traverse several high mountain passes reaching altitudes of up to 3,600m (about 11,811 feet). Most of the activities are conducted between elevations of 3,000m (roughly 9,842 feet) and 3,600m, so it’s essential to properly acclimatize before embarking on this tour.

What kind of weather should we expect during this route?

Prepare for a wide range of weather conditions: from tropical rain showers or misty drizzles at higher elevations to beautifully clear days bathed in potent sunshine.

Find more info about climates in Ecuador in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Ecuador”. 

How can I see the prices for this tour for my amount of travellers?

If you want to see the price for your situation, please select an amount of travelers (number of adults, children, etc) on the right side of the website (or the top, on mobile). You will then see that total price for your party right above it. For some tours, the price will change according to the amount of people. 

What should I pack for this tour?

Please refer to our article What to Pack for your Trip to Ecuador for all your questions about packing for your Ecuador trip. Whether you’re going to the jungle or the mountains, you’ll find the answers you need. 

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

The team of Inti Sisa Guesthouse in Guamote, Ecuador. Visit Inti Sisa and the amazing projects they support with Impactful Travel!

Inti Sisa Guesthouse & community projects

At Impactful Travel, we believe in journeys that transform not just the traveler, but also the communities they visit. That’s why our “Impactful Trip from Baños to Cuenca: Indigenous Culture and Archaeology” tour uses the Inti Sisa Guesthouse; a beacon of empowerment and resilience nestled in the heart of Guamote, Ecuador.

Stumbling upon Guamote’s harsh realities in 1999, a group of Belgians were moved to action. They founded Inti Sisa, a project that has blossomed into a powerful force for positive change, inspiring and empowering the local community through education and artistic pursuits.

Inti Sisa’s initiatives are as diverse as they are impactful. From their innovative educational programs that emphasize participation, creativity, and collaboration, to their artistic workshops that nurture individual talents and foster self-expression, every project is designed to make a lasting difference. They even extend their care to the well-being of animals, promoting animal welfare through sterilization campaigns.

Visiting Inti Sisa is not just about witnessing the incredible work they do; it’s about understanding the transformative power of sustainable tourism and how each of us can contribute. We believe that starting your journey here will set the tone for the rest of the tour, reminding you of the potential for positive change that lies in every step you take. So, come join us, and let’s make travel impactful, together.