This city is in the center of Ecuador, capital of Tungurahua Province, on the Ambato River. A leading commercial and transportation center and a mountain resort, the city is in a fertile region near the northern foot of the volcano Chimborazo. Ambato has been damaged frequently by earthquakes, like the one of 1949 that left the city completely destroyed reason why today there is little evidence of the colonial era.
Called the Garden City of Ecuador and "the City of the three Juanes" on account of three Ecuadorian famous intellectuals that were born there. Juan Leon Mera was a writer and poet who is most famous for writing Ecuador's national anthem. Juan Montalvo was another famous writer who many have named the "Cervantes of South America". Juan Benigno Vela was a renown teacher and champion of the Country's youth. The three Juanes had a profound impact on the intellectual development of Ecuador and helped start the cultural legacy that continues in Ambato today.
Ambato is known for the production of peaches, apples, grapes, pears, oranges, and strawberries. Grain, sugarcane, and vegetables are also grown. Local industries produce textiles, flour, canned fruit, leather goods, rubber, wine, and furniture. General Antonio José de Sucre won an important battle during the war for independence against Spain..
Ambato has developed into an architectural marvel where modern buildings coexist elegantly with colonial edifices. Modern structures give the city a metropolitan feel while at the same time they enhance the remaining colonial architecture. The Fiesta of "Las Flores y las Frutas" during the last two weeks of February is the City's most important celebration. This celebration provides the best presentation of folk music in the Tungurahua Province and includes numerous parades of colorful floats and traditional dancers. The Fiesta demonstrates the warmth and hospitality the people of Ambato are known for.
Ambato is a good place to buy Salasaca Amerindian tapestries and other handicrafts (Monday is the main market day, with smaller ones on Wednesday and Friday). Sights include the Quinta de Mera (historic home), the local museum and the relaxing Parque Juan Montalvo (named after the Ecuadorian political essayist)
Ambato also serves as a great base from which you may visit surrounding towns, including:
Baños, located at the base of the Tungurahua Volcano and one of Ecuador's most popular tourist destinations.
San Pedro de Pelileo, famous for the indigenous markets of the Salasaca Indians where you can find elaborate ornamental tapestries and other handcrafts.
Pillaro, the regional hub for fruit growers. Here you will find peaches, pears, and a sour but delicious fruit called "claudias."
Quisapincha, located in the highlands near Ambato, Quisapincha boasts the best and cheapest leather goods in Ecuador.
Patate, a rich agricultural valley that produces avocados, babacos, tree tomatoes, mandarins, limes, and grapes.