Known as the “Sultan of the Andes”, Riobamba is the gateway to the Heritage-listed Sangay National Park and snow-capped Chimborazo Mountain. Colorful artisan markets showcase Riobamba’s rich Quito culture, while impressive Spanish plazas display the town’s colonial heritage.
Things to do in Riobamba
Visit the Fería Artesanal Market, where thousands of villagers sell, buy and barter every Saturday morning in Plaza Roja. You can pick up vibrant hand-woven hammocks, locally roasted coffee beans and rich dark chocolate. Foodies can sample the local “Llapingacho”, a crispy potato cake served with peanut sauce.
Unforgettable mountain scenery awaits passengers on the Trans-Andean Railroad. Board the historic Ecuadorian Train and ascend the Devil’s Nose, a sheer mountain face with almost perpendicular walls. Marvel at the impressive feat of engineering, while taking in panoramic views of the narrow Chanchán Gorge and surrounding peaks.
Marvel at the exquisitely carved Baroque facade of Riobamba Cathedral. Reconstructed from white limestone in 1797, the cathedral's relief features a beautiful combination of indigenous and colonial sculptures. Afterward, stroll through Liberty Park to admire Riobamba’s beautiful neoclassical basilica, Ecuador's only round church.
Ride a mountain bike through the tropical rainforests of Sangay National Park or hike to the summit of Mount Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador. Relish spectacular scenery of snow-covered peaks, alpine lakes and glaciers and spot native llamas and alpacas grazing in the Andean highlands.
Getting around Riobamba
You can fly into Cotopaxi International Airport in Latacunga, a 2.5-hour bus ride from Riobamba. Regular buses also arrive from major cities in Ecuador, including Quito, Guayaquil and Banos. Riobamba is a walkable city and has buses, taxis, tours and rental cars.