Most people treat Latacunga just as a base to explore nearby Cotopaxi volcano or to go to Quilotoa. And let’s be fair: It’s not exactly the most beautiful place on earth. But it does have its nice sides, so do be so kind to have a look at the city as well for a day.
You probably woke up in hostal Tiana or Hotel Cotopaxi and had your breakfast there. Which is a good precondition to walk up the Mirador de la Virgen del Calvario. From here you have excellent views over the city.
The local specialty here is chugchara. It has pork, pork skin, fried banana, potatoes, popcorn and empanadas. If that doesn’t kill you… La Mama Negra is the best one, but everywhere along the main street (called Quijano y Ordonez) are restaurants selling chugchara.
If you can still walk, it’s time for some parks. The Parque Nautico is a pleasant, relaxed park with a small pond where kids can play around. The Parque Vicente Leon is the central square, next to the cathedral that’s definitely worth a visit.
Two warm meals a day might be a bit much, but if you only spend 24 hours in Latacunga, you should. El Alabado is a beautifully renovated historic building close to the central square. It’s a bit more on the expensive side, but the Argentine chef knows how to prepare his meat.
Good to know
- the Terminal Terrestre (for buses) is a fifteen minute walk from the centre. The entire city is safe
- buses that don’t have Latacunga as their final destination might skip the bus terminal and drop people off at the highway. Try to get a bus with Latacunga as final destination therefore
- if you want to travel to Banos, it’s easiest to take any bus southbound that passes Ambato. There you can switch buses for another two hours to Banos
- for hiking to Cotopaxi, ask tourism agencies. There is one in hostal Tiana for example. That hostal also stores your main backpack if you want to walk the Quilotoa Loop for three or four days