Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Awesome Day Trip
A day trip from Ambato
, the journey from Ambato to Guaranda is one I have enjoyed twice now. It's a fantastic 2hr bus ride (each way)
through the beautiful green Ecuadorian highlands passing just 5kms within Chimborazo Volcano and passing up, through and above the clouds.
This journey starts from the Ambato bus terminal and takes a good 20mins to get out of the city, but once you see the monument of the 50ft
holding a basket on the outskirts of town, the fun begins!
Bus to Guaranda
Along the way you will pass many Quechua farming communities as well as
many specially marked roads with large signs that say Red Vial Tungurahua - I believe these roads all lead to higher ground in case of
earthquakes and eruptions. I actually saw the Tungurahua Volcano eruption in 2010 while in Banos
and the whole town was evacuated! At a
point on the journey the view disappears for a short time as the bus ascends up into the clouds to over 4000 meters above sea level. The
best views are mostly on the right. When I arrived in Guaranda I left the bus in the town center.
About an hour
into the trip you pass Chimborazo, if it's a sunny day hopefully you will get a good view. Look out for wild deer in the highlands near the road too! A little way before Guaranda is the turnoff to Salinas (20kms), the place to visit
to eat chocolate and cheese.
Looking Around Guaranda
After arriving in Guaranda I had a some lunch and enjoyed a few hours having a look around town for which I
was pleasantly surprised by its color, charm and historic architecture. The central park Parque El Libertador Simon Bolivar is beautiful
and has colonial buildings all around it. In one of the buildings Manuel de Echeandia (1783-1850) was born, he was active in the independence
. Angel Polibio Chaves (1855-1930), an important writer was born in another house nearby. The park has the cathedral on one side
and many trees and beauty all around it. This is the nicest part of Guaranda and not to be missed! Down the road a little is the market
Mercado Municipal 10 de Noviembre with the usual fish, meat, fruit and vegetables for sale. Along the streets around town, houses stand in
colorful rows and have interesting balconies and doorways. Uphill a little at Plaza 15 de Mayo is another nice part of town with views of around
Guaranda and some of the other churches including Iglesia Mariana de Jesus, the local market is held here each Wednesday and Saturday.
Guaranda has a healthy scattering of statues and busts of important people and other plazas, parks and places including Plaza Roja, Parque Montenegro,
Parque 9 de Octubre, museum Museo Escuela de Cultura Andina and theatre Teatro Municipal Nilo.
Bus to Ambato
When I left
town I walked 10mins to the bus terminal which has some nice views of the valley to see on the way and headed back to Ambato
. I look forward to exploring more of this part of Ecuador next time I am here!