Guaranda, capital of the Bolivar province and a small city of 25,000 inhabitants, is on first impressions a typical South American colonial city.
Its steep narrow streets embrace white-washed houses and colourful shops and bars, while its smiling residents, dressed in a mixture of outfits encompassing the traditional and the modern, stop to chat to one another.
What hardly anybody knows about Guaranda is that the plaza has been designed by the most famous artist of the country, Oswaldo Guayasamin.
An open follower of Fidel Castro and a startlingly bold painter, Guayasamin incorporated a rounded socialist symbol into the centrepiece of Guaranda´s square and so communicated his message to the town through his art.
Guaranda is famous for the great celebration of Carnaval that fills the city with people from all over the country, enjoying the festivities.
On any other day of the year Guaranda is still a great place to visit. The tranquil surroundings and friendly people make this little mountain town a great stop in the Andes. Nearby Salinas is a fun stop for those interested in Fairtrade and community based tourism.
Places to stay in Guaranda +
Places to stay in Guaranda
Mid-range Hotels: Yes
High-range Hotels: No
Places to eat in Guaranda
There are several cheap and basic places to eat. Like most larger Ecuadorean towns Guaranda also caters to foreigners with some Chifa's and Italian restaurants. Don't expect spectacular food at any of these places though.
Practical information about Guaranda +
Getting to and around in Guaranda +
How to get to Guaranda
Guaranda is easy to get to. You can catch direct busses to Guaranda from Quito (4,5 hours), Guayaquil (4 hours) and major cities in the area like Ambato (2 hours), Babahoyo (2 hours) and Riobamba (3 hours). Guaranda is the transport hub of the province with busses to nearby Salinas, San Miguel and Simiatug.
Map of Guaranda