Set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Chimborazo volcano, Riobamba is primarily used as a base for excursions into the surrounding wilderness, although there are a handful of attractions within the city to keep you occupied, even if your stay is a brief one.
Often called the ‘Valley of the Volcanoes’, Riobamba is surrounded by four of the largest volcanoes in South America, including the aforementioned extinct Chimborazo, presenting stunning views on a clear day. The imposing El Altar, once thought to be higher than Mount Everest before an explosion 400 years ago reduced it to just 5,000m of jagged peaks, sits to the east of the city, while to the far north, the Tungurahua volcano can often be seen spewing smoke into the air.
The province in which Riobamba is located is called Chimborazo, home to one of the largest indigenous populations in the country. The city is full of markets where locals sell fruit, vegetables and handicrafts, proving a great way to interact with the local population and learn about their way of life. Saturday’s market is especially vibrant, while the several city universities contribute much to the bustling nightlife, with the main street alive with music and students each weekend.
What to do
- Market tours
- Exploring the city's nightlife
- Volcano expeditions