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Riobamba

Practical information on Riobamba

  • Encounters with locals
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Mountain
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Place or Historical Monument
3 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
Three and a half hours from Quito by bus
When to go
From June to September
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Riobamba

David Debrincat Seasoned Traveller
459 written opinions

Riobamba is perched 2,750 m above sea level, 188 km south of Quito. The town itself doesn't have much to see and you really only stop there for the view from the highest peak in Ecuador, Chimborazo.

My suggestion:
I recommend you go to Riobamba on a Saturday when it has the biggest market in the region.
My review

Apart from the weekly Saturday market, there are not many reasons for stopping at Riobamba during a trip to Ecuador. Place Maldonado in the centre of town has a beautiful cathedral and some colonial buildings with lovely facades. Other than that there's not a lot else to do there.

In fact, stopping in Riobamba is really only interesting because of its surroundings. The scenery is superb. I really recommend going to Chimborazo park. There are walks up the volcano's 6,310 metres that are accessible to everyone. Other than that, you could enjoy going round one of the town's markets. But either way there's no reason to linger in Riobamba.

Lorette Vinet Seasoned Traveller
59 written opinions

Riobamba lies right at the heart of the mountains amidst a quite wonderful environment, and the views you get of Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo, from here are simply breathtaking.

My suggestion:
Of course, we all know that when abroad – and this is particularly true when in Ecuador – one of the essential things to do is visit local markets. So try to schedule your arrival for a Friday therefore, so that you can then visit what is actually the largest market in the area on the Saturday.
My review

For me, the main attraction of Riobamba – which is located four hours from Quito and lies at an altitude of 2,750 metres – was the fact that the city is the departure point for a train that once descended all the way down to Guayaquil, at sea level. The line has now been alarmingly reduced in length. However, and being stubbornly determined to experience it anyway, an Equadorean friend and I caught a bus to Alausí (a two and a half hour journey) and did in the end get to experience the most spectacular part of the route, culminating in the "La Nariz del Diablo" (The Devil's Nose), with its 360° bends, from the roof of the train.

The line begins 1,000 metres higher than it ends and you have the constant feeling the train is going to derail at every turn. If you like trains and intense sensations, this really is something to experience, even though it would definitely have been more interesting to be able to travel the whole length of the line, from Quito to Guayaquil. But that was another era!

Tours and travel ideas Riobamba