Tomb of last Inca emperor may have been discovered in Ecuador
From tropical rainforest to the towering peaks of the Andes, there is plenty to discover on a South America adventure tours.
But as well as the natural scenery and the colourful modern cities and culture, one of the aspects of the continent that fascinates many when they visit this part of the world is the history.
And now, a new discovery in Ecuador could be added to the list of essential sites those interested in South America's Inca past will need to visit.
Archaeologists believe they may have discovered the site of the final burial place of Atahualpa - the last ever Inca emperor.
Atahualpa was the last of his dynasty and was taken captive in what is now Peru during the Spanish conquest.
The Spanish executed him by strangulation in 1533 after he refused to convert to Christianity, marking the beginning of the end of an empire which had spanned much of South America's Andean region for centuries.
Archaeologists have searched for Atahualpa's tomb for many years without success, but now Ecuadorian historian Tamara Estupinan believes she may have finally found it.
She has discovered a complex of what appear to be ruins of an imperial Inca temple in an area of Ecuador called Sigchos, about 45 miles south of Quito, which has been named Malqui-Machay.
"This is a late imperial design Inca monument that leads to several rectangular rooms that were built with cut polished stone set around a trapezoidal plaza," she told AFP.
Work will now begin on fully excavating the site in hopes of discovering if it is indeed the final resting place of Atahualpa.
Georges Lomne, director of the French Institute for Andean Studies, added that the find appears to confirm that the Incas were active and present in a lowland area well outside what their best-known area of operations in the Andean highlands.
"Malqui-Machay is part of a broader complex that also would have included the Quilotoa lagoon and the area called Pujili (Cotopaxi)," he explained.
"All of this belonged to Atahualpa. It was his personal fiefdom in the way that French (and other) kings had royal domains.