Riobamba: the heart of Ecuador
In Ecuador, heritage sites occupy a central place in daily life, as the history, customs, traditions, gastronomy and charm of the local population offer authentic travel experiences. A fine example is Riobamba, which offers fascinating landscapes and unique experiences.
Riobamba, nicknamed Ciudad de las Primicias (City of Firsts), is situated in the centre of the country, surrounded by mountains and snow-capped landscapes. The Chimborazo volcano, a colossus, stands as an eternal guardian above the city. It is recognised as the highest mountain on the planet (measured from the centre of the Earth). From Riobamba, you can discover hundreds of natural, cultural and gastronomic attractions, bearing witness to more than four centuries of history and tradition.
The historic centre of Riobamba, bounded by the areas of General Lavalle, Loma de Quito, La Estación, La Panadería, La Concepción, La Merced, San Alfonso and San Francisco, offers a fascinating range of tourist attractions, combining history, heritage, tradition and culture.
Among the city’s must-see sites:
- Maldonado Park, formed by the cathedral and architectural monuments that constitute an admirable and magnificent cultural attraction of the locality.
- Sucre Park, considered an exceptional work of art, combines architectural manifestations with imposing natural beauty.
- The Casa Museo, a space for temporary and permanent exhibitions of photography, painting, sculpture and contemporary art.
- Museo de Arte Religioso de la Concepción, where you can admire a varied gallery, ideal for lovers of art, culture and history.
- Iglesia la Concepción, a spectacular architectural structure located opposite the Plaza Roja, home to an artisan and indigenous fair, ideal for buying souvenirs.
- The church of Balvanera, the first church built by the Spanish in Ecuador.
- Avenida Daniel León Borja, a spectacular and lively boulevard with numerous bars and restaurants where you can sample the region’s gastronomy.
- There’s also the La Merced church, the railway station, the León Theatre…
A visit to these sites is an opportunity to discover almost 300 years of Ecuadorian history, as over 80% of the buildings in the historic centre are listed as part of the country’s cultural heritage. The European-style facades, portals, skirting boards, cornices and balconies will take you back in time.
For lovers of authentic flavours, the Mariano Borja, San Francisco and de la Merced markets are well worth a visit. Here you can sample the famous empanadas, morocho, sweet and savoury juices and fruit ice creams made with Chimborazo ice cream! Whether you’re attracted by typical or gourmet cuisine, the true essence of Riobamba can be discovered through its aromas and textures.
When it comes to festivities, Riobamba is home to a multitude of traditional celebrations that bear witness to its historical syncretism. One of these is the “Pase del Niño de Riobamba”, which takes place every year between December and February in the streets of the city. Characters such as the sacha runa, dancers, devils and curiquingues (typical Andean birds of prey) take part in this event, which you can also find in the form of souvenirs in craft centres and galleries.
DESTINATIONS Sian Ka'an: Where the sky meets the earth in Yucatán Located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula, some twenty kilometres from Tulum, the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is a treasure trove of biodiversity. Its name, which means "where the sky was...
DESTINATIONSSouth Lipez: wonder of the AltiplanoNestling on the edge of Bolivia, South Lipez is a land of contrasts, where the Salar Uyuni sparkles and the borders between Argentina and the Chilean Atacama Desert blur. This region, perched at an altitude of over 4,200...
DESTINATIONS Discover Villa de Leyva, between History and Nature In the mountains of the Boyacá department, a few hours north of Bogotá, Villa de Leyva is a veritable nugget of Colombian heritage. With its cobbled streets, whitewashed colonial houses and majestic...