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Ambato, Ecuador - Things To Do 2hrs 30mins South Of Quito

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - July 2015   » View Photoset (98 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
More than just a transportation hub, Ambato offers a full day worth of sights, things to do and exploration around the city. Add an extra day for the
Ecuador Photo - The fruit and vegetable markets at Plaza 1st of May (Primero de Mayo) in Ambato.
The fruit and vegetable markets at Plaza 1st of May (Primero de Mayo) in Ambato.
fantastic journey from Ambato to Guaranda and back which is the closest road to the Chimborazo Volcano (the highest point on the earths surface from the earths center). I had passed through Ambato several times on my travels around Ecuador before I spent a couple of nights here to get to know the place a little better. 2 and half hours by bus south of Quito.

City of Fruit and Flowers

Ambato is the first major city south of the capital and is much bigger than both Latacunga and Machachi. It's of course the major hub for travelers heading east to Banos. Ambato is
Ecuador Photo - A female statue figure sitting on a rock in water in Ambato.
A female statue figure sitting on a rock in water in Ambato.
known as the city of fruit and flowers which there are lots of. You wouldn't think the city was last rebuilt in 1947 after an earthquake. The central streets are well-worn and there's historic buildings and several nice shady plazas around the center too.

Bus Terminal and Hotels

The bus terminal is right near the heart, you can walk up the street and along beside the park to get to several hotels on Avenida 12 de Noviembre.

City Tour

In Ambato I enjoyed the plazas and parks a lot, one of the best being Plaza 10 de Agosto which on one side has the National College (Colegio Nacional Bolivar) and on another and old church possibly doubling as a museum. Just 1 block up the road is park Parque Juan Montalvo.
Ecuador Photo - A colorful cow model on display at a museum in Ambato.
A colorful cow model on display at a museum in Ambato.
This is where you will find the cathedral, nice building facades, stone archways, gardens and flowers, statues and fountains as well as plenty of shops all around. Ambato has 3 famous men called Juan by the way. Next I came to a museum called Museo Pictorico Luis Edmundo Martinez Mera full of fantastic paintings which I had a quick look around.

City Exploration

From here I explored a few of the side-streets finding street art, a guitar shop, and an interestingly shaped church. I ended up back at the same park I was at before that where I discovered the house of Juan Montalvo standing right beside it, sometimes you need to take step back to see the view you know!

12th of November Park

A walk up the road
Ecuador Photo - Dr. Jorge Isaac Rovayo Torres (1911-1969), bust in Ambato.
Dr. Jorge Isaac Rovayo Torres (1911-1969), bust in Ambato.
brought me to Parque 12 de Noviembre (12 of November Park). It is around here that several markets are located - the flower market, the central market, the art market and Mercado Modelo. Indigenous people from the highlands sell their produce from the streets and sidewalks all around this area.

The Botanical Gardens

I took a taxi to the botanical gardens Jardin Botanico de Ambato Atocha la Liria, this was the only garden and nature area open of 3 the taxi and I checked out on this Saturday afternoon. It's a nice park across the river and valley from the city, a nice place to take in some fresh air and smell the pureness of nature. Located here also is the house of one of the other Juan's - Juan Leon Mera Martinez (author of Ecuador's national anthem). I enjoyed spending an hour strolling around the gardens.

Across the Bridge

From here I decided to walk
Ecuador Photo - View of the Ambato cathedral from the park beside.
View of the Ambato cathedral from the park beside.
back into the city center and see what I saw along the way. I walked across the huge bridge Puente Juan Leon Mera across the Ambato River to get back to the cityside of Ambato. I passed the markets in Plaza 1st of May (Primero de Mayo) - lots of fruit and vegetables and a few churches including the Gothic brick Capilla de la Medalla Milagrosa. I had done a lot of walking by the end of this day!

I Enjoyed It

Ambato I enjoyed for what it had to offer. It has a good area in the center to enjoy the day with also other sights and activities to see and do scattered around town. It's what you want to make of it more than anything.

Day Trip to Guaranda

For my 2nd day in Ambato I did a day trip to Guaranda and back - 2hrs each way by bus plus 4hrs exploring Guaranda itself!

Bus to Riobamba

The next day from Ambato I took a bus south to Riobamba, 1hr 20mins.

     

View all photos in the Ambato Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Ambato (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Ambato, Ecuador. There are some things to see in Ambato if you have a look around the city, the best thing to do I think is to hop on a bus and take a trip to Guaranda!
 A : Banos - Ecuador 29 kms 29 kms straight distance | 1hr 13mins 1hr 13mins by car (47 kms) | 1hr 27mins 1hr 27mins by bus (47 kms) (47 kms)
 B : Latacunga - Ecuador 36 kms 36 kms straight distance | 1hr 5mins 1hr 5mins by car (47 kms) | 1hr 18mins 1hr 18mins by bus (47 kms) (47 kms)
 C : Pujili - Ecuador 33 kms 33 kms straight distance | 1hr 3mins 1hr 3mins by car (55 kms) | 1hr 15mins 1hr 15mins by bus (55 kms) (55 kms)
 D : Riobamba & Colta Lagoon - Ecuador 45 kms 45 kms straight distance | 1hr 20mins 1hr 20mins by car (64 kms) | 1hr 36mins 1hr 36mins by bus (64 kms) (64 kms)
 E : Saquisili - Ecuador 47 kms 47 kms straight distance | 1hr 22mins 1hr 22mins by car (68 kms) | 1hr 38mins 1hr 38mins by bus (68 kms) (68 kms)
 F : Guaranda - Ecuador 53 kms 53 kms straight distance | 1hr 53mins 1hr 53mins by car (101 kms) | 2hrs 15mins 2hrs 15mins by bus (101 kms) (101 kms)
 G : Machachi - Ecuador 82 kms 82 kms straight distance | 1hr 44mins 1hr 44mins by car (104 kms) | 2hrs 4mins 2hrs 4mins by bus (104 kms) (104 kms)
 H : Puyo - Ecuador 73 kms 73 kms straight distance | 2hrs 23mins 2hrs 23mins by car (105 kms) | 2hrs 51mins 2hrs 51mins by bus (105 kms) (105 kms)
 I : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 54 kms 54 kms straight distance | 2hrs 15mins 2hrs 15mins by car (119 kms) | 2hrs 42mins 2hrs 42mins by bus (119 kms) (119 kms)
 J : Alausi - Ecuador 107 kms 107 kms straight distance | 2hrs 40mins 2hrs 40mins by car (154 kms) | 3hrs 12mins 3hrs 12mins by bus (154 kms) (154 kms)
 K : Quito - Ecuador 126 kms 126 kms straight distance | 2hrs 38mins 2hrs 38mins by car (166 kms) | 3hrs 9mins 3hrs 9mins by bus (166 kms) (166 kms)
 L : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 136 kms 136 kms straight distance | 2hrs 50mins 2hrs 50mins by car (181 kms) | 3hrs 24mins 3hrs 24mins by bus (181 kms) (181 kms)
 M : Tena - Ecuador 96 kms 96 kms straight distance | 3hrs 44mins 3hrs 44mins by car (187 kms) | 4hrs 28mins 4hrs 28mins by bus (187 kms) (187 kms)
 N : Macas to Zamora - Ecuador 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 4hrs 25mins 4hrs 25mins by car (221 kms) | 5hrs 18mins 5hrs 18mins by bus (221 kms) (221 kms)
 O : Mindo - Ecuador 135 kms 135 kms straight distance | 4hrs 12mins 4hrs 12mins by car (251 kms) | 5hrs 2mins 5hrs 2mins by bus (251 kms) (251 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Ambato, Ecuador:

Hotel Internacional, Ambato, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel Internacional, Ambato, Ecuador (July 2015 - 2 nights) - Well priced compared to some of the other hotels in the same street at $12USD per night but you pay for it with freezing cold rooms and lukewarm water. Yep there's wifi and tv and it's centrally located more or less and not far from the bus terminal. The staff are nice. Sneak your own heater in and your winning!

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Ambato, Ecuador - Things To Do 2hrs 30mins South Of Quito. There are some things to see in Ambato if you have a look around the city, the best thing to do I think is to hop on a bus and take a trip to Guaranda!

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