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Ecuador's Tungurahua Province - A land of Leather, Arts and Crafts

Few regions can seduce its visitors as easily as does Ecuador's Tungurahua province. With its temperate, wet, and cool climate, this province - which lies to the south of Cotopaxi - is a region of majestic peaks, challenging terrain and the rythmic parting of Carnivale'! Known as much for its leather crafts as it is for its fruit and flower production, you'll soon discover why the town of Banos is known as the "gateway to the Amazon".

Banos is also the departure point for trips to jungle destinations such as Puyo, Misahuallí, the waterfalls of Agoyan, Ines Maria and the famous Pailon del Diablo, as well as to the Andean peaks of Tungurahua and El Altar. Offering endless opportunities to the eco-tourist, Banos is a center for various adventure sports such as kayaking, trekking, and mountain biking. Other attractions include the Virgen de Agua Santa Sanctuary and the various thermal hot springs in the area.

Banos serves only to wet your appetite. Not far off, Ambata, the provincial capital of Tungurahua is well-known for its Carnival celebrations held during the end of February, and during which bullfights and parades usually turn the city into the nation's party capital. Located just two hours from Quito, Ambato is often referred to as the "Land of Flowers and Fruit" and has traditionally been one of the Andes main trading centers. Ambato is also a leather-shopper's paradise. Places of interest in Ambato are the Juan Montalvo and Colegio Bolivar museums which boast impressive collections devoted to archeology and science. Also worth visiting is Montalvo's house with its impressive ethnographic collection. Noteworthy churches include the Cathedral, San Francisco, Santo Domingo, La Merced, La Medalla Milagrosa, and the Padres Josefinos Temple.

Elsewhere, San Pedro de Pelileo is a hotspot for the production of artisan products as well as being an industrial textile center producing denim clothes. The community of Salasaca, famous for their woolen and sisal rugs and wall hangings, is also a popular tourist destination . Píllaro, to the northeast of the province, is the gateway to the mysterious Llanganates and is famous for its pear, peach, and plum crops. Patate is also a large agricultural center producing delicious avocados, babacos, tree tomatoes, mandarins, limes, and grapes. Quero, Mocha, and Tisaleo are other important farming communities near Pelileo.

For reliable contacts throughout the region for comfortable lodging, check out the hotels link.

The Tungurahua province; one more reason why you should consider spending a few extra days in Ecuador!


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