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7.07.2005

 

A place I wouldn't mind visiting...


"Cotopaxi" by Frederic Church, 1855. The buildings in the lower right presumably belong to Hacienda San Agustín de Callo.

From an archaeology standpoint, Ecuador sure got the raw end of the deal. As the second Inca capital, Quito must have boasted some splendid buildings. But there's no trace of them today. Ecuador's most famous ruins, Ingapirca, are nothing more than stone foundations, a sad joke compared to what has survived further south in Perú.

But there is one little gem of a ruin at the foot of the Cotopaxi volcano in the central part of the country. Hacienda San Agustín de Callo, as it's been called for the last few hundred years, was originally the site of an Inca temple and palace complex, built by Huayna Cápac around 1440.

Today, it's a hotel, nice (and expensive) by Ecuadorean standards. Run by Mignon Plaza, a descendant of the rich general who bought the place in the 20s, the hotel hosts both tourists and local Quichua Indians, who come to the former Inca palace to celebrate religious holidays, such as Inti Raymi.


Sleep like an Inca emperor in rooms that feature original Inca stonework.


Incur the wrath of Viracocha by dining in the only standing Inca temple in Ecuador.

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