Hotel el Libertador
Av. Daniel Leon Borja y Carabobo, La Estacion, Riobamba, 5203, Ecuador
More about Riobamba
Playing and goofing it up
The captain runs a tight ship
Love on the tracks
I will be going to Riobamba, Ecuador, in 2 weeks time. As I have never travelled outside of Canada or the US before, you can imagine how ignorant, and ill prepared i feel. If anyone could give me ANY advice at all, I'd love them forever. Thanks alot!
Have you not read my post? I am leaving Monday, July 7, returning August 5, for Ecuador. I will be spending about 2 weeks in Riobamba, with a local family, my friend there is getting married. I plan to go to Baños, and to the Refugio on Chimborazo mountain. Then, do the Quilotoa Circuit.
Where will you be staying in Riobamba? Send me your info, and the arrival date, and we can get together.
Re: Re: Riobamba
To be honest, I'm not positive where I'll be going once I get to Riobmaba. I'm actually going with a group called Leaders Today. I know we will be visiting different communities during our stay, but specifics weren't mentioned. Have you been there before? Have any advice?
Actually, it turns out we'll be in Guargualla and Pulingui San Pablo from the 20th to the 24th. When we we first arive in Quito though, we'll be staying at the Casa Olimpia for 2 days. We then go to Santa Anita on the 17th. We then do an expedition to Mount Chimborazzo on the 25th. I get excited/nervous just thinkin about it!
I went to Riobamba in July 1994 with a church group. We built a building for a congregation in the Púcara neighborhood. We were there for one week, and didn't really get out of town. We could see several of the snow capped mountains in the morning, very clearly. Clouds move in during the afternoon. I became friends with the pastor's daughter, who was 18 at the time. We have kept in contact, and she visited us for a month in 2000. I am returning for her wedding. I will be in Riobamba on the 8th, then plan to take the bus on the 9th to Baños, returning on the 12th. I very much want to be in the church services on the 13th. Then, stay with the family during the last minute wedding preparations. Should be very exciting. Sometime during this time, I would like to go to Chimborazo. After the wedding, the couple will go with me on the Quilotoa Circuit for a few days. Actually, if you love the mountains, and are open minded to a totally different culture, you will love everything. Be sure to take toliet paper!! The restrooms don't have any. However, there is usually someone in the public restrooms, selling paper, in sections. I'm sure your group leader will fill you in on details. Don't put paper in the commodes, the plumbing doesn't hold up to it. El Mitad del Mundo is a nice place to visit near Quito. I found a very good link last night to a travelogue written by a young man from the states. It's: http://www.agencia72.com/nirav/ecuador/index.html
Just walking around in Riobamba is interesting to me, just to get acquainted with the city. I will try to contact you in Riobamba, if you like. Sunday night (tomorrow) is the last time I will check this site before I leave. However, I will be using internet cafes during my time in Ecuador to send messages home. If you have any other questions that I can answer, just ask.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about this great website: www.exploringecuador.com. There are lots of maps and information on different places. If you can find a Lonely Planet Ecuador or a Footprints South America guidebook, they are excellent. I always try to get as informed as possible before going to a place for the first time. I couldn't find any of the places on the roadmap that I printed off the web site. They must be small villages. Also, the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum is a good place to get info from travelers. www.lonelyplanet.com, then click on the Thorn Tree button.
Thanks for your info, every little bit helps me feel more reassured before I go. Could you tell me, how cold does it really get at night? And how hot during the day? The way the group leader explains it, I have to pack to both extremes, but I also read other postings, that say shorts aren't necessary in Riobamba. I don't know why that would be. If i had more info, I could hopefully narrow down some of my packing (clothing-wise). Thanks alot for you help, and have a great time on your trip!!
Well, when we were there before, during mid-July, the days were warm, not hot. High altitude Sun is warmer on the skin than low altitude. In the shade, it was much cooler than in the Sun. At night, it was really cold enough for a heavy jacket. Riobamba is about 9000 feet. Buildings in South America do not have heat in them. My friend wrote me that it is cold down there. I remember her dad always wearing a North Face jacket. Just remember to wear layers, so you can adjust. I take light weight underwear and medium weight. Local people do not wear shorts. If you want to blend in better, leave the shorts at home. Take light weight pants for warmer places.
Have you read the pages here on Virtual Tourist of people who were in Ecuador? Hopefully when I return, I will have time to put some pages up myself. You will see poverty like never before, but the people are so friendly.
I forgot to tell you about the train ride called "Nariz del Diablo" (Devil's Nose) out of Riobamba. It's supposed to be awesome, with lots of switchbacks and spectacular scenery. Riding on top of the train is supposed to be the best place to be.
Have a good trip.
Travel Tips for Riobamba
the Indigenos are not on exhibit for tourists...
One thing that I did see in the small towns and markets of Ecuador - tourists seeing the indigenous people (mainly the women with their distinct hats and clothes) and snapping pictures of them as if they were in a wax museum.
These are people - locals - you are their guest. Instead of snapping pictures of them - go up and say hello (preferrably in Español...or Quechua if you can!). Their main goal is for you to buy something, of course, but talking to people one-on-one instead of treating them like museum pieces will make the experience a lot more interesting and rewarding.
If you want to take pictures, ask, like you would anyone else. Then...buy something from them, or give up some pocket change.
Cold and rain gear
You will want to go to the more remote places. Make sure to bring good gore tex rain gear, excellent hiking shoes. Remember that you are at altitude. The moment the sun goes down it is very cold. Do not spoil your trip. Be prepared and enjoy. Bring everything that you think you might need. Spend your time enjoying this unique space instead of hunting for medicine. Remember that you are at high altitude. Make sure that you acclimitize before heading off to even higher altitudes.
Visit the Town of Guano
Guano is a little town about 30 minutes away from Riobamba. If you are in Riobamba for the train ride, Guano is a nice side trip you can do in a morning.
Guano is known for two products - sisel carpets and leather products. You will have to shop around to find quality in both, and know that bargaining hard is expected. You will be charged according to what the vendor believes you can afford!
Right as you enter town there is a leather 'factory' - this place has fairly good quality jackets, bags, purses, briefcases, belts, wallets, etc. I can't speak for any of the other places. As for the carpets, I prefer woven so I only 'window shopped'.
One Night in Rio... bamba that is
Conventional wisdom states that Riobamba is a dreary town where one has to spend one night in order to catch the famous train early the following day.
My experience was quite the opposite. I am glad I spent one evening in Riobamba, especially as the train was rather a letdown.
In order to find out about the train, please see my Alausi page.
Important fact for independent travelers: On a map, Riobamba is halfway between Quito and Cuenca. In reality, it takes more time to go from Riobamba to Cuenca than from Quito to Riobamba. In the Northern half of the trek, the terrain is flat (albeit high) and the roads are straight. In the Southern half, the roads were built on steep grades, and loop around vertiginous mountains.
I apologize for the lightweight commentary accompanying the photos. I simply didn't spend enough time in Riobamba to find out a lot. Nevertheless, the town exerted its charm on me.
The elevation of Riobamba is 2,750m = 9,022ft
Five weeks as a Riobambeña
"Learning to Live in the Andes"
After a week in Quito/ the Galapagos, I was ready to start my four week homestay in Riobamba, Ecuador. I was quite nervous at the beginning, but by the second day I was absolutely, head over heels in love with this city. I lived a bit away from the city center, so I couldn't walk to La Avenida (the main street) or to the big shopping street, 10 de Agosto. However, taxis are one dollar and by car it was only 3 minutes, so I went into town all the time. I took day trips to Nariz del Diablo, Chimborazo, Baños, and Ozogochee, between 1 and 2.5 hours away. In Riobamba itself I shopped, got lots of ice cream, and visited small towns like Chambo and Guano. By night, we'd go to bars- San Valentin, Romeo y Julieta- and clubs- El Tentador- on La Avenida or to one of the many carboneras- hamburger stands- by the city parks. Notice- stick with hamburgers and chips- you do not want to try tripas or cuy. I didn't do much touristy stuff in Riobamba- mainly I just hung out with my host sister and her friends. That's actually my favorite part of traveling, though- living another lifestyle.
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