History & Archeology

The varied and influential inhabitants of San Agustín de Callo have contributed to the unique blend of architecture which creates the individual character of the house. In the main courtyard it is possible to see three distinct styles, Inca (Imperial style 15th century, construction style which the Incas used for their temples and palaces), Spanish Colonial (18th century) and Republican (19th century). The Hacienda has been written about by the famous chronicler Cieza de Leon (1536). This Inca Palace or temple was built by Tupac-Yupanqui (Inca Emperor) or Huayna-Capac in the 15th century. San Agustín de Callo constitutes the only lived-in museum of Inca Imperial and Spanish Colonial style.

By far the most impressive sights are the perfectly carved volcanic stone walls of two of the Inca rooms which have survived the centuries and now serve as chapel and dining room.

Surrounded by the smoke-blackened walls of the dining room, one can marvel at the infinite precision of the stonemasonry, a monument to the unrivalled craftsmanship of the Incas, and admire the stunning view of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. This magical spectacle was extolled by Alexander von Humboldt who visited the Inca site in 1802 included his observations in his work “Vue de Cordilleres et Monuments des Peuples Indigenes de L’Amerique” Paris 1810.


This temple or palace was built around 1440 A.D. by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna-Capac or Tupac-Yupanqui, and to this day the remaining rooms prevail as a magnificent sample of the unique style of Inca construction. The site is currently being investigated by Dr. David Brown of the University of Texas, the funding of which was provided by the National Geographic Society. Previously unknown portions of Inca walls and foundations have been discovered throughout the restoration process of the house.

“From this dike, which divides the waters of the Southern Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, one can glimpse, an interminable prairie covered by pumice stone, the ruins of the House of the Inca Huayna-Capac, together with the Panecillo or Sugar Bun. The Panecillo, rising eighty meters above sea Level, is a hillock littered with small brush of the genus Molina, Spermacoces and Cactus. The indigenous, or natives, are certain that this hillock, resembling a bell and extremely regular in shape, is a tumulus, one the hills that the country’s ancient inhabitants built to bury their princes of illustrious persons. In support of this theory, the natives claim that the Panecillo is made up of volcanic rubble throughout its base as in its peak or summit.” ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT (description of Callo Mound)

The peaceful atmosphere and magical landscape, history and culture, combine to make San Agustin de Callo a sanctuary of inspiration for artists and lovers of nature and a restful haven for weary travelers.