Riobamba

  • Altitude: 2750 meters
  • Inhabitants: 180.000
  • Region: Central-Andes

Riobamba is the capital of the Chimborazo province and is located at the foot of the Chimborazo volcano. The Chimborazo is the highest volcano of Ecuador (6310 meters). It was estimated that the last eruption was around 550 A.D. and is therefore an inactive volcano. The city of Riobamba is located at an altitude of 2.750 meters above sea level and has around 180.000 inhabitants. The name ´Riobamba´ comes from the Spanish word for river (´rio´) and the Kichwa word for valley (´bamba´). Riobamba was the first Spanish settlement in the territory that is nowadays called Ecuador. The architecture has a visible Spanish influence, but the locals give the city a strong indigenous character. The nickname of Riobamba is Friobamba because it can get rather cold here.

Chimborazo Volcano

Visiting the volcano Chimborazo makes an exciting day trip. In private transport you will go up to the first refuge at 4850 meters and from there on you can walk up to the second refuge at 5060 meters. Depending on your tour, you can bike down from the first refuge to the parking lot. This is an exciting downhill ride for about 8 kilometers! You have a great opportunity to see vicuñas, the local ´habitants’ of the area. If you have the ´sunset tour´ included in your program you can watch a beautiful sunset from the Chimborazo, the closest place to the sun.

Saturday market

The Saturday market in Riobamba is well known in the area. Thousands of locals from the area come to Riobamba to sell and buy their goods. It´s a nice opportunity to observe life in the Andes and talk to locals. We recommend always asking permission before taking a picture of the people at the market. The market takes place along the streets northeast of Parque de la Concepción as well as on the plazas of San Alfonso, San Francisco and Santa Rosay La Condamine. On the streets Guayaquil and 10 de Agosto you can also find a lot of market activity.

Parks

  • Parque Maldonado. This park is filled with trees and has the cathedral of Riobamba on the northeastern side. Address Primera Constituyente y Espejo.

  • Parque la Libertad. In this park (Primera Constituyente y Alvarado) you can find the ´basilica´ which is the only round church in Ecuador.

  • Parque 21 de Abril. The church of San Antonio can be found in this park and the park has an observation platform from where you get a good view of the surrounding mountains.

Hidden Valley Tour

The tour operator Julio Verne (www.julioverne-travel.com) offers a mountain bike tour called the Hidden Valley Tour. In this tour you visit several indigenous communities by bike and this way get to travel off the beaten track. It´s important to wear different layers of clothes, to take enough water and to have a good physical condition when doing this tour.

Tren del Hielo

Travelling alongside Ecuador’s highest volcano, the Chimborazo, you’ll experience the wilderness of the Urbina páramo, discover the tradition of the Chimborazo “Hieleros” and learn about the process of extracting glacial ice. The trip also offers various agri-tourism activities among the area’s natural and cultural environments. More info: www.trenecuador.com/es/tren-del-hielo-i

Click on the following link for more activities and tours: Riobamba

Insiders´ tips

  • Visit the village of Guano, famous for its craft center that specializes in carpets and items made of leather and ´totora´ (a type of reed). Guano is located about 8km outside of Riobamba.

  • Santa Teresita is a town that is located 2km from Guano and here you can find the Parque Acuático Los Elenes, a park with swimming pools that are fed by natural springs. On clear days, the views of the Tungurahua and the ´El Altar´ volcanoes are amazing.

Restaurant tips

  • Pizzeria D´Baggios. This pizzeria has a wood oven and serves freshly made delicious pizzas. Address Miguel A Leon y 10 de Agosto. More info: +593-3-2961-832.

  • Café el Delirio. A great place for Ecuadorian cuisine with a lovely patio. Address Primera Constituyente 28-1More info: https://eldeliriorestaurant.wordpress.com/menu/

  • Felipe Restaurant Boutique. A fine dining option in Riobamba in a nice atmosphere and carefully prepared, exquisite recipes. Address Juan Chiriboga y Segundo Rosero. More info: www.feliperivadeneira.com

Medical attention

  • Clinica Metropolitana. Address Junín 2528 y España. More info: +593-3-2941-930.

  • Hospital de Especialidades San Juan. Address Veloz y Autachi. More info: +593-3-2945-871 or +593-3-2963-098.