| Home | 3 Guianas | Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | Paraguay | Peru | Uruguay | Venezuela | Videos | Contact |

Riobamba, Ecuador - Best City In The Mountains Between Quito & Cuenca

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2009 July 2015   » View Photoset (157 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Riobamba, just under 4hrs south of Quito or 1hr 20mins south of Ambato by bus, is a city worth spending a day or 2 in to enjoy the sights
Ecuador Photo - Tiled mural of a local band playing outside the Cultural House in Riobamba.
Tiled mural of a local band playing outside the Cultural House in Riobamba.
and also the views of the mountains around it.

City Tour

The city has plenty of colonial architecture, nice plazas, a bunch of museums and fascinating markets. Riobamba is the best big city in the mountains to visit between Quito and Cuenca! From the bus terminal I walked a good 20mins towards the center of town and checked into a hotel directly opposite the train station. They do have taxis in Riobamba, it's just that I like walking! From here I was close enough to explore the whole city and also near to 2-3 Chinese restaurants.

Plaza Sucre

Plaza Sucre is the main and most central
Ecuador Photo - The Academy of Sciences in Paris, mural in Riobamba.
The Academy of Sciences in Paris, mural in Riobamba.
plaza in the city, this is the best place to start getting to know Riobamba and work your way out from there. Plaza Sucre is dominated on one side by the monumental green building with magnificent architecture, the national college - Colegio Nacional Maldonado, built from 1921 and inaugurated in 1927. The plaza has beautiful gardens, the Neptune fountain and other well-kept historic buildings all around.

Maldonado Park

2 blocks away is park Parque Maldonado, another equally handsome part of the central city. This is where the stone cathedral is found.

The Cathedral

The cathedral is constructed from the rocks of the original that was destroyed in the 1797 earthquake.

Liberty Park

3 blocks from the cathedral is Parque La Libertad (Liberty Park)
Ecuador Photo - A grass pathway out into the lagoon at Colta.
A grass pathway out into the lagoon at Colta.
which has an impressive domed church on one side (Basilica del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus).

Market and Plaza Roja

From Liberty Park I walked to (market) Mercado San Alfonso which has a nice old church opposite, there are churches everywhere in Riobamba. At Plaza Roja nearby are the art markets which also has cloths, hats and shawls for the cold climate at night.

Trains North and South

I explored while I made my way to the train station to enquire about trains, particularly the Devil's Nose Ride from Alausi. Did you know that the train system runs from Quito all the way south until around Alausi, then turns west to Guayaquil? There are trains in the north around Otavalo and Ibarra also. There are around 8 excursions you can take including trains to lakes,
Ecuador Photo - La Vendedora (The Vendor) (1999), monument in Riobamba, by Jorge y Juan Bernal.
La Vendedora (The Vendor) (1999), monument in Riobamba, by Jorge y Juan Bernal.
volcanoes, ice, ancestors, devils nose, inca and the 'sweet train' (sugar-cane and cocoa plantations and rice paddies). The Tren Ecuador website has all the information and on Facebook too!

Views of Chimborazo Volcano

Outside the train station is Plaza Alfaro where the tracks run straight through the middle of it. In the late afternoon not far from the train station I walked up the small hill beside church San Antonio to the park Parque 21 de Abril. This park is at the top of a staircase that has a grand tiled mural at the top featuring Liberator Simon Bolivar (1783-1830). Late afternoon is a great time to get views and photos of the city and mountains around the city apart from the prize jewel Chimborazo Volcano which is north-west of Riobamba and this is where the sun sets. I came back before 8am the next morning and got a fantastic view of Chimborazo on a clear sunny day! I spent the rest of this day
Ecuador Photo - A blue church dome and snow-capped peaks in the distance in Riobamba.
A blue church dome and snow-capped peaks in the distance in Riobamba.
exploring places not so central in the city, walking of course, kms and kms. The Plaza de Toros (bullfighting), street art and murals, statues and busts, cultural bits and pieces, Plaza Guayaquil, historic facades, people... There are views from many parts of the city of a snow-capped mountain in the background.

South by Bus

I enjoyed Riobamba a lot from a photographic perspective and also as a nice place to just hang out and enjoy. Early the next morning I took a taxi to the bus terminal (I was tired of walking) and headed south 35mins to Colta to see the lagoon for an hour then continued another 1hr 25mins further south by bus to Alausi.

     

View all photos in the Riobamba Photoset


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from Riobamba & Colta Lagoon (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Riobamba & Colta Lagoon, Ecuador. Riobamba is around 4hrs south of Quito and is a great city to spend a night or 2. The train can take you north or south from here, Colta Lagoon is about 35mins south!
 A : Ambato - Ecuador 45 kms 45 kms straight distance | 1hr 23mins 1hr 23mins by car (64 kms) | 1hr 39mins 1hr 39mins by bus (64 kms) (64 kms)
 B : Banos - Ecuador 41 kms 41 kms straight distance | 1hr 32mins 1hr 32mins by car (78 kms) | 1hr 50mins 1hr 50mins by bus (78 kms) (78 kms)
 C : Guaranda - Ecuador 36 kms 36 kms straight distance | 1hr 33mins 1hr 33mins by car (79 kms) | 1hr 51mins 1hr 51mins by bus (79 kms) (79 kms)
 D : Alausi - Ecuador 62 kms 62 kms straight distance | 1hr 27mins 1hr 27mins by car (92 kms) | 1hr 44mins 1hr 44mins by bus (92 kms) (92 kms)
 E : Latacunga - Ecuador 82 kms 82 kms straight distance | 1hr 49mins 1hr 49mins by car (102 kms) | 2hrs 10mins 2hrs 10mins by bus (102 kms) (102 kms)
 F : Pujili - Ecuador 78 kms 78 kms straight distance | 1hr 47mins 1hr 47mins by car (111 kms) | 2hrs 8mins 2hrs 8mins by bus (111 kms) (111 kms)
 G : Saquisili - Ecuador 93 kms 93 kms straight distance | 2hrs 5mins 2hrs 5mins by car (124 kms) | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by bus (124 kms) (124 kms)
 H : Puyo - Ecuador 75 kms 75 kms straight distance | 2hrs 43mins 2hrs 43mins by car (136 kms) | 3hrs 15mins 3hrs 15mins by bus (136 kms) (136 kms)
 I : Machachi - Ecuador 128 kms 128 kms straight distance | 2hrs 27mins 2hrs 27mins by car (160 kms) | 2hrs 56mins 2hrs 56mins by bus (160 kms) (160 kms)
 J : Macas to Zamora - Ecuador 91 kms 91 kms straight distance | 3hrs 15mins 3hrs 15mins by car (163 kms) | 3hrs 54mins 3hrs 54mins by bus (163 kms) (163 kms)
 K : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 93 kms 93 kms straight distance | 2hrs 58mins 2hrs 58mins by car (175 kms) | 3hrs 33mins 3hrs 33mins by bus (175 kms) (175 kms)
 L : Tena - Ecuador 121 kms 121 kms straight distance | 4hrs 3mins 4hrs 3mins by car (218 kms) | 4hrs 51mins 4hrs 51mins by bus (218 kms) (218 kms)
 M : Quito - Ecuador 171 kms 171 kms straight distance | 3hrs 21mins 3hrs 21mins by car (222 kms) | 4hrs 1min 4hrs 1min by bus (222 kms) (222 kms)
 N : Cuenca - Ecuador 141 kms 141 kms straight distance | 4hrs 23mins 4hrs 23mins by car (249 kms) | 5hrs 15mins 5hrs 15mins by bus (249 kms) (249 kms)
 O : Guayaquil - Ecuador 167 kms 167 kms straight distance | 4hrs 34mins 4hrs 34mins by car (252 kms) | 5hrs 28mins 5hrs 28mins by bus (252 kms) (252 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 Riobamba, Ecuador:

Hotel El Libertador, Riobamba, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel El Libertador, Riobamba, Ecuador (July 2015 - 2 nights) - Heated rooms and very hot water, that's the ticket. $20USD per night. Located directly across the road from the train station and near to all the historical sights in the city. Tv, wifi and friendly staff. I was comfortable and happy here during my stay. Recommended.
Hotel Imperial, Riobamba, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel Imperial, Riobamba, Ecuador (Jun 2009 - 1 night) - Not a very nice room, had 2 broken windows and the owner barged into my room and asked for payment, not recommended.

ADD A COMMENT



Pinterest - Pin it!

Riobamba, Ecuador - Best City In The Mountains Between Quito & Cuenca. Riobamba is around 4hrs south of Quito and is a great city to spend a night or 2. The train can take you north or south from here, Colta Lagoon is about 35mins south!

FREE APP South America Journey

Splash Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Popular Photos Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Favorite Photos Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Fullscreen Photo - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Photos from a Place Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS

My next travel experience & photos in your inbox!