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Riobamba is located right in the centre of Ecuador, with Baños de Agua Santa an hour north east, reaching inward towards the gateway into the Amazon.
On the northern edge of Sangay National Park and at the base of the smoking Tungurahua Volcano, Baños is the last city in the mountain region before impenetrable forests dominate the land.
In recent years, Baños has gained a reputation for being the ‘adventure capital of Ecuador’. The ramshackle pilgrimage town is dotted with hydrothermal baths, which have religious and mythological status in the region, and rumoured healing properties.
It has become a hugely popular spot for extreme sports such as paragliding, rock-climbing and ziplining through the dense thickets surrounding. The dramatic cascade leading into the Devil’s Cauldron has winding staircases around a spectacular thundering flow. By following signs for the Cascada el Pailon, visitors will be led through columns of swirling mist and over swinging suspension bridges.
For those wanting authentic culture combined with epic excursions, setting up base in Riobamba or just following on from Baños to this city is a great idea. This lively and attractive city is located right on the Panamericana. It is world-renowned for the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train journey, built in the 20th century, which managed to navigate the treacherous landscape.
Today, Riobamba and the Chimborazo Province is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in the country. Visiting the bustling and vibrant markets on Saturday is an immensely enriching experience, where a beautiful collection of fruit and vegetables, coffee and chocolate, and various handicrafts are displayed in a colourful array.
Ecuador’s influential cities continue to amaze visitors, and Riobamba is another location which has multiple volcanoes framing the landscape.
Clearer skies and sunny weather in high altitude destinations such as Riobamba are more frequent in the months of June to September. Days are usually fresh and evenings tend to get cold, so make sure to bring layers.
When visiting Baños, we recommend going from July to October, during the dry season. Baños is a good 100 meters lower than most towns in the sierra, at 1820 meters above sea level, the climate here is subtropical year round. It is further east than Riobamba meaning that the weather is more influenced by the humid climate of the rainforest neighbouring.