Visit Guano from Riobamba Ecuador | What to Do + Eat

Discover the enchanting town of Guano, declared a Magical Town of Ecuador, celebrated for its rich history, culture, and artisanal heritage.

Guano boasts breathtaking landscapes with the iconic Chimborazo as its backdrop, tracing the path of the Last Hielero, Baltazar Ushca. Dive into centuries-old traditions upheld by skilled carpet weavers, discover the history at the Ruins of the Monasterio de la Asunción or the City Museum, and enjoy local gastronomy with cholas and fritada.

Take a trip from Riobamba to visit Guano to explore the attractions, history, and delectable local cuisine.

Central Plaza in Guano

How to reach Guano from Riobamba

There are two options for transportation to visit Guano from Riobamba.

How to reach Guano by bus:

Head to the north side of the city, outside the Mercado Juan Bernardo Dávalos. Walk to the side with the open fruit and vegetable market, and you will see the buses lined up for Guano. 

The location is conveniently marked on Google Maps as BUS A GUANO. 

The bus from Guano to Riobamba costs $0.35 and takes 20 minutes. 

How to reach Guano by Taxi:

This is the quickest way to reach Riobamba and will cost around $5 each way.

Iglesia Católica Nuestra Señora de El Rosario

Best things to do in Guano Ecuador

Visit the ruins of the Monastery of the Assumption

The Ruins of the Monastery of the Assumption in Guano hold historical significance as part of the first Franciscan Church constructed in the parish around 1572.

The arrival of the Spanish led to evangelising of the Puruhá culture and the introduction of looms for textile production and religious practices. Despite generating wealth, earthquakes in 1797 and 1949 reduced the church to ruins. Guaneños rebuilt using original materials, later restored by the Central Bank of Ecuador in 1982.

Today, the ruins showcase old church walls with paintings, sculptures of monks, preserved windows, and a baptismal font. The site also houses the Guano mummy found in the church walls alongside a mummified mouse, now displayed in the City Museum, and a 1677 stone cross in the “Hijos de El Rosario” Workers Society garden.

City Museum of Guano

The City Museum of Guano, known as the “Mummy Museum,” features a captivating exhibit of an ancient, well-preserved mummy, offering insights into the burial practices and way of life of the region’s indigenous people.

According to historical research, the mummy in Guano’s Museo de la Cuidad is presumed to be a Franciscan monk named Fray Lázaro de Santofimia who was the first Guardian of the Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption of Guano between 1565 and 1572.

Beyond the mummy, the museum presents a rich array of exhibits, photographs, and artefacts, which provide interesting viewing for history enthusiasts and curious travellers eager to explore Guano’s vibrant heritage. It’s only small but the City Museum is worth seeing when you visit Guano!

|| Cost to enter: $1 foreigners / $0.50 Ecuadorean visitors 

Mummy in City Museum in Guano

Enjoy Mirador de la Colina Lluishig

Situated at 2767 metres on a former avalanche formed by the Chimborazo volcano, this geosite offers a unique experience. Ascend 327 stairs to the Mirador de la Colina Lluishig discovering decorative stone sculptures by Mr. Luis F. Reinoso. The three monoliths were created in the mid-20th century (1946) featuring intricate carvings of fish, the Inca’s face, and vessels.

Dating back to the colonial era, this site symbolises the ancient lagoon of Guano, featuring a species of fish native to the area. In homage to the valiant Indian Cacique Toca, defender of Puruhá, it includes representations of the Inca and a vessel. Carved to honor Puruhá’s culture, the sculptures depict utensils crafted from clay and commemorate the traditional drink, Chicha de Jora, offering a vivid glimpse into the historical and cultural roots of the region.

The mirador includes a shrine to Virgen de Lourdes, and offers stunning views of Guano and its surroundings, showcasing prominent mountains like Tungurahua, El Altar, and Chimborazo.

Fish Monolith in Guano

Try the Cholas

Cholas are a delightful traditional sweet bread with a rich history in the artisanal canton of Guano. The combination of white flour, brown sugar, butter, lard, eggs, warm water, anise, and the secret ingredients passed down through generations. The use of panela for the sweet black filling adds a special touch.

The crusty consistency achieved by hand-kneading and the wood-fired baking process with eucalyptus sounds like a labour of love, contributing to the distinctive texture of these sweet treats.

The Panadería Ricas Cholas in Guano, with its founding by an abuela in 1930, is a testament to the longevity and tradition of this delicious bread. It’s wonderful that they have preserved the legacy of their grandmother and continue to offer this special treat to visitors.

Panaderia Ricas Cholas in Guano

Devour the Fritada

Immersing yourself in the local culture of Guano is incomplete without savoring Fritada. This traditional Ecuadorian dish consists of succulent, achiote-marinated fried pork, complemented by sides like llapingachos (potato patties), mote (hominy corn), avocado slices, and aji (spicy pepper sauce).

Choosing Restaurante Rica Fritada in Guano was a wise decision. The best-reviewed eatery lived up to its reputation, offering an authentic Fritada experience.

Typical Fritada Dish

Visit Maria Inmaculada Church

Maria Inmaculada Church in Guano is a captivating architectural gem. Illuminated by neon lights, its altar stands as a mesmerizing centrepiece, blending modern aesthetics with traditional reverence. The vibrant glow is a unique visual spectacle within this sacred place of worship.

It can be tough knowing when churches are open in Riobamba so it was delightful to be able to simply walk into this Iglesia!

Neon altar at the Maria Inmaculada Church

Shopping in Guano

If you visit Guano, peruse the shops and market stalls which feature a variety of goods for sale, including carpets, ponchos, shoes, and clothes, although many are no longer locally made.

Despite a fading tradition, a few dedicated weavers in town, like one with a multi-generational legacy, continue to craft handmade rugs with passion and artistry. There is a statue near Iglesia Católica Nuestra Señora de El Rosario to honour the women weavers in Guano.

Shopping in Guano for traditional woven ponchos

Handy links to visit Guano Ecuador

Hotels + Tours

Best accommodation in Riobabmba and Guano

Amazing day trips and multi-day tours around Guano and Riobamba

Travel Insurance

GET 5% OFF with HeyMondo Travel Insurance

GET 5% OFF with IATI Travel Insurance


FAQs Visit Guano

How long do you need in Guano Ecuador?

A half day trip in Guano would be fine. If you wish to walk to the other neighbourhoods, eat all the local cuisine, and make time for shopping, I would allow a day to visit Guano.

Is it worth visiting Guano Ecuador?

As a declared Magical Town of Ecuador, it is worth visiting Guano Ecuador to delve into the history and artisan crafts typical of the town. Guano is only a short bus journey from Riobamba making it a stress-free day trip.