The Cañari people occupied an area spanning the provinces of Cañar, Azuay and Loja, and their settlements were invariably located at an altitude below 3000 meters above sea level. Like the Puruhá, they actively engaged in trade with the peoples of the coast and the Amazon, exchanging goods such as exotic feathers, salt, coca leaves and cotton with them.They supplied coastal cultures with different metals, particularly copper.

They were organized on the basis of chiefdoms, which covered large territories in the inter-Andean region. Their urban layouts featured large ceremonial centers made of stone and multi-room complexes arranged around a patio.

They specialized in clay and ceramic work. Their pieces are characterized by the use of red paint, smoke-fired pottery, polychromatic ceramics, incisions, and other materials such as stone and wood. This culture specialized in representations of birds, mammals such as deer, and domesticated animals such as camelids (llamas, for example).