Central Andes – Ecuador

17th January 2011

Moving north along the Avenue of the Volcanos we spent a night in Riobamba [4]which is surrounded by 5 snow capped volcanic peaks all above 5000 meters, the most prominent being Chimborazo.  This city has its share of lovely colonial churches too, but the facade of the Cathedral is all that remains of the original Riobamba, battered by earthquakes over the centuries.  Along the highlands roads the patchwork of greens in the surrounding hills is so vivid it is almost sickening.  Whole fat pigs, spreadeagled, roasting slowly over hot coals at roadside cafes looked mouth watering but unfortunately our bus didn´t stop.


Some of the buildings in Latacunga [5], our next stop, are built from an attractive light grey pumice stone.  At the Central Hotel (email) we had a room overlooking the main Plaza.  Señora  Viola Janineh Abedrado, the owner, was very friendly and helpful, provided breakfast in her kitchen and advised us when there was a clear view of Cotopaxi Volcano, the biggest active volcano in the world, from the hotel rooftop.  She gave us each a lovely scarf on leaving – we were speechless!


Many indigenous people flock to the huge sprawling Thursday market in nearby Saquisili, so we headed off early to as not to miss anything.  In the afternoon we made a quick visit to Pujilí, known for its pottery, to see the beautiful old church there.


We called in to the Friday market at Latacunga to pick up some snacks for the bus before going off the beaten track … (to be continued)



Chimborazo Volcano towers over the city

Riobamba Cathedral

Chapel attached to the Cathedral

Clothes shop at Riobamba

Green green green

View of the main plaza and Cathedral from our Latacunga bedroom

Pumice used in a public building

Old hospital at Latacunga

Cotopaxi Volcano 30 kilometres away

If he blows run this way

Flower seller at Saquisili market

Old lady selling hats


Spring onions for sale


Going home from the market with the shopping

Pujilí church

Inside the church

Pujilí pottery

New Year´s Eve masks hanging in a barber´s shop

Latacunga Friday Market