Ambato and Guaranda

The capital of the Province of Tungurahua, Ambato is the main commercial hub of the Central Highlands, an important centre for the leather industry and a major market for nearby fruit-growing valleys. It was almost completely destroyed in the great 1949 earthquake and has therefore lost the colonial charm found in other Andean cities. The city comes alive during festivals, especially Carnival, and market days.

The quaint, quiet town of Guaranda, capital of Bolívar Province, proudly calls itself 'the Rome of Ecuador' because it is built on seven hills. Unlike Ambato, it maintains its colonial flavour and there are many fine, though fading, old houses along the cobbled streets with narrow sidewalks. There are nice views of the mountains all around, with Chimborazo towering above. Both towns are good bases for exploring the sites nearby.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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