Known as the "City of Flowers and Fruits”, Ambato is a thriving market town once famous for its commercial flower industry. Agriculture still influences this food-centric city, but it also cradles parks, cathedrals and museums highlighting the works of renowned local writers and intellectuals.
Things to do
Start your holiday in Ambato by strolling through Parque Juan Montalvo. Walking paths weave through manicured gardens and towering palms in this park named for Juan Montalvo, an influential political writer who died in exile in France in the late-1800s.
On the northern end of the park you’ll find Casa y Mausoleo de Montalvo, the writer’s home and final resting place. Browse an on-site museum to view original manuscripts, books, letters, photos and personal objects. Fellow intellectuals Juan Leon Mera and Juan Benigno Vela complete a trio known as “The Three Juans”, who are all immortalised in monuments and statues throughout Ambato.
Head over to the Atocha sector of the city to see local handicrafts and contemporary art displayed inside the Centro Cultural La Liria. You can pick up fresh flowers, hand-woven wool clothing and traditional Andean hats while shopping in Mercado Central and Mercado Modelo.
Head to Mercado Central to find dozens of food stalls selling everything from fresh-squeezed fruit juices to sausages and llapingachos (fried pancakes). Try some unique Ambato specialties at Los Morochos de la Gata, including the Morocho drink made from spiced corn-like grains and a quimbolitos (steamed pudding).
Pick up a rental car at Cotopaxi International Airport in Latacunga, about 45 kilometres from Ambato or take a train into the city. Upon arrival, buses and taxis provide transportation downtown and throughout the surrounding neighbourhoods.
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