Day 5 Banos – Riobamba -Alausi B, L
Today you’ll be heading South Head south, making the transition from the Amazon to the Andes.
Your drive winds along the Avenue of Volcanoes, a strip of 14 active, semi-active and dormant volcanic mountains: passing traditional haciendas, indigenous villages and protected natural areas.
Don’t forget to stop at Balbanera church. This is the oldest Catholic church in Ecuador, founded on August the 15th, 1534, and built by the conquistadores in colonial style. The church is dedicated to the most holy Virgin Mary de la Balbanera.
If you’re travelling on a Thursday, you might also want to stop in the town of Guamote. Here you’ll find a very authentic indigenous market filled with fresh produce and a lot of stalls selling goods to local people who come in from the surrounding communities. The Guamote market is a great place to sit and people-watch as the locals in their brightly coloured traditional dress buy their provisions for the week.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY (extra cost, and must be booked in advance)
No image of the Andes is complete without the graceful figures of the native llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas. Their natural habitats are the “paramos”, or high grasslands. From Riobamba you may want to visit the local community of Palacio Real, where you’ll get a real insight into life on the ‘paramo’, into the community’s efforts to preserve their environment, and how they honour their llamas at the Llama Museum and on the llama trail.
Later, you’ll drive from Riobamba to the historic town of Alausi, designated Ecuadorian Cultural heritage. The journey will take about 1 hour and a half. You’ll spend the night in Alausí.
Hotel: La Quinta or similar