: South America
: Bolivar (province, Ecuador)
Bolivar is a province in the Andean highlands of Ecuador.
Bolivar is in the highlands of Ecuador, and has a varied climate of cold páramo as well as warm subtropical zones.
- Climate: a varied climate of cold páramo as well as warm subtropical zones.
- Average temperature: 13°C.
- Population: 178,000 inhabitants.
- Guaranda - (City of the Seven Hills) was founded by the Spanish in 1571. The quiet colonial town is the capital of Bolivar Province called also "the Rome of Ecuador" because it was built on seven hills. It also claims the gold as the smallest provincial capital in Ecuador.
- Salinas de Guaranda - Famous for its brand of Cheeses called Salinerito (considered the country's premium range) as well as wool spinning and dye mills. Salinas de Guaranda is just 90 minutes by car from Guaranda.
- Chimbo 25km from Guaranda which as well as producing guitars and various firework models it posses a Vatican type square built around a church called, Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Natividad which houses interesting pre-Spanish antiquities.
- San Miguel further up the road is also worth a visit as is the old colonial town of Santiago which houses some interesting local art paintings in its church.
- Santiago de Bolivar It self is a very interesting small colonial town that straddles in the Andes, this placid town offers relaxation, great walks around the area trough ancient old paths used by natives before the conquistadors arrived and history. Comunitary projects for developing sustainable tourist activities are being organized by a group of enthusiast now days. The main square houses and surroundings gives this town a special and unique atmosphere.
If you continue on by San Miguel you'll pass San José de las Palmas to Bilován there are a set of worthwhile caves to explore called Las Guardias (west) which then leads on to a waterfall and river type beach in Balsapamba.
A 2-day hike down from Salinas takes you to the tiny village of Piedra Blanca and the little town of San Luis de Pambil in the warm, sub-tropical part of the province.
Quichua and Spanish are both spoken in this region.
Although not too frequented by tourists the bus ride from Guayaquil into Babahoyo is most scenic and you will often see agricultural workers hard at work tilling the fields.
All local dishes are delicious:
- sancocho is a soup made with sheep or pork meat;
- guaguatanda is the bread of All Souls Day,
- potato cakes and empanadas
- and the famous "Salinas cheese" in Salinas de Guaranda.