Just back from a short trek through Guaranda, which is about 4 hours southeast of Quito. I love this quaint little city. I took lots of pics of the colorful buildings, walked up to the monument (that was a 2 1/2 hour escapade up a “short cut” hillside but I arrived), and enjoyed their mercado. Much in Guaranda is uphill. No worries as taxi’s are cheap ($1.25 minimum) and I was fortunate that one of these came along just as I started the trek back downhill from the monument.
I stayed at the Hotel Marquis. It’s $15 bucks a nite, wifi and hot water – so win/win. (Though the first afternoon there was no hot water but it’s South America, after all.)
There’s not a lot to do – visit the epic church downtown, sit on the plaza a bit, look for food. I am always a bit more careful in the small towns about where I eat. There was a restaurant right off the square, diagonal to the church that wasn’t too bad, and then I located the Food Park. Worth a visit. Eight small food vendors and a homemade ice cream cart. Prices were super reasonable and the food was good. Definitely a great choice.
Not much in the way of shopping in Guaranda, though you’ll want to grab the Salinerito cheese sold in multiple little shops, as it’s known throughout Ecuador.
All in all is was a peaceful couple of days and worth a stop as you are trekking through to somewhere else.