A Visit to Chimborazo – While Ecuador is famous for much more than its landforms, this country is also worthwhile for those who want to visit areas not so frequently traversed by other travelers. It’s a country in which you can become totally immersed in local cultures while still seeing sights that are a bit off the usual map. The Chimborazo Volcano is one such sight that is a mere day tour, but offers some pretty incredible spectacles for a dormant volcano.
Chimborazo is Ecuador’s tallest volcano at over 20,500 feet. The capital city of the province, Riobamba, is about 10 miles away.
If your ideal escape is to indulge in local immersion, opting for a stay at a traditional hacienda, such as Abraspungo or Andaluza, is an incredible way to see how locals live out their day-to-day lives. Chimborazo Lodge is the perfect hacienda if you’re looking forward to scaling the volcano.
Aside from climbing Chimborazo, there are plenty of other sights to see. For instance, take the enchanting train ride offered through the volcano’s foothills. The train, Tren del Hielo, leaves from Riobamba and goes through Urbina, and then on to La Moya. Along this route, you’ll also have an incredible opportunity to meet the last man still providing ice trading services.
Throughout history, trading the glacial ice from the volcanoes was a common industry with the local population. Men would climb to the tops of the glaciers and chip off the pure ice, then transport it by pack mule to neighboring villages to sell it in the local markets. Some men would even go as far as coastal regions. The women would use the ice to prepare fresh juices and homemade ice creams. Over the past few decades, though, the practice has slowly died out. Today, only one man remains who still practices ice trading and you can only meet him on your trek on the Ice Train.
But the Chimborazo Province has even more to offer. The striking biodiversity of the region is immeasurable. Breathtaking landscapes fill your field of vision as you view the Southern Andes’ highlands. At the Fauna Preserve, you’ll discover a protected ecosystem allowing indigenous wildlife and plant species to continue to thrive. You can also hike along the provided trails and view such animals as llamas and alpacas in their natural habitat.
A visit to Chimborazo has something to offer every traveler.