Cuenca, Riobamba, & Ambato, Ecuador
July 14, 2014 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Can you compare/contrast the towns of Cuenca, Riobamba, & Ambato, Ecuador for me, from personal experience?

Other high-altitude towns in the region also considered. I am an American, thinking of retiring to somewhere in South America in the next 5-10 years. I speak passable Spanish at the moment.
posted by falsedmitri to Society & Culture (1 answer total)
I stayed in a town outside ambato for several months. I quite liked ambato, actually, but I don't know if any other westerner I talked to had particularly strong opinions in either direction. It felt very friendly to me, people were always striking up conversations and seemed genuinely interested and polite. It felt fairly well off by Ecuador standards, not strikingly so, but there were a fair number of nicer shops and restaurants. The surrounding area was pretty, but not necessarily chock full of things to do. Banos was relatively nearby, which has lots of outdoor stuff. There are several national parks with a few hours drive. Not a ton to do within the city, although probably more than most towns of comparable size. Nice botanical garden.

Cuenca was beautiful and I enjoyed the two weeks I spent there, but it was very different from ambato for better or worse (depending on what you like). Very modern infrastructure, beautiful old section surrounded by new construction, wealthy for the most part (by Ecuadorian standards), lots of international food and coffee, tons of westerners (expats, tourists, language school students). More to do within the city, though still not tons compared to somewhere like Quito. Very very visible expat culture-all older north Americans, all seemed to know each other.

Don't think I went to riobamba. Might have passed through on a bus.
posted by geegollygosh at 5:13 AM on July 15, 2014

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