Ambato, Ecuador - Polarsteps

Ambato, Ecuador: "The city of flowers and fruits" is in a high valley in the Andes Mountains, south of Quito and north of Cuenca. The city has a population of around 170,000, but the entire metropolitan area, which includes several other small cities, raises it to close to half a million. The city sits at an altitude of 2580 meters (8465 feet). There is evidence of the area being peopled going back about 2000 years. There were several indigenous tribes co-existing in the area until the 14th century when the Incas came in. Then they came to their end when the Spanish conquistadores arrived. The town of Ambato was first named in 1534. In 1570 they set out delineating the streets and plazas and where the church would be built. The church construction started in 1603. In 1698 the city was virtually wiped out by an earthquake that killed more than 550 non-indigenous people and over 1200 indigenous people. The second town of Ambato was founded in 1698. By 1756 there were about 6500 people living in Ambato. But, in 1797 another earthquake wiped out the town for the second time. More than 200 people died. Ambato was refounded, again, this time in 1698. By 1785 it had a population of more than 52,000. In 1755, Ambato received one of the first printing presses in South America. Then, in 1949, was yet another devastating earthquake. This one destroyed the neighboring towns and about a third of Ambato. The estimated death toll was as high as 2700. The church was destroyed and replaced with a new cathedral in 1954. To help people recover, in 1950, the city held a festival called "Festival of fruits and flowers" which has continued every year since. Now it is part of the yearly carnival. So, my impressions: I like this small city. The weather is a little on the chilly side for my taste, though. For comparison, the average yearly high temp is about 2-3 degrees warmer in Ambato than in Seattle, WA and New York City. But, Seattle and New York have huge swings between summer and winter, while Ambato has no such seasons. So, Ambato is pleasant all year while those other two, well, not so. This town is generally clean and litter-free, has some nice parks and plazas, and a walkable downtown.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Ambato