Guaranda Ecuador is a beautiful city located in a deep valley in the Andes Mountains of the Bolivar province.
The February Carnival celebrations are the most traditional and last for up to a week.
The carnival in Guaranda is considered by many to be one of the best celebrations in Ecuador.
Guaranda has a population of around 25,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Bolivar Province.
Its name was taken from the old Indian chief Guaranga who still towers over the town in statue form.
During the 19th century the city was a central crossover route between Guayaquil and Quito but since the advent of the railroad and better roads, the city today has returned it to its tranquil slumbers of the past century.
The city is surrounded by seven hills and the local residents have given Guaranda Ecuador the nickname The Rome of the Andes.
El Indio Guaranga: is an impressive 5 meter high sculptured statue located in the north west of the city.
From here you can enjoy a magnificent view of the area along with the snow crested peaks of Chimborazo Volcano.
Simon Bolivar Park: the park is surrounded by colonial houses and municipal buildings with panoramic views from the towers and a nice courtyard.
Main Cathedral: the cathedral is constructed in stone and inside has an impressive marble altar complete with stained glass windows and wooden ceiling.
Cruz Loma Hill: this beautiful site offers an incredible panoramic view of the entire town. The town is also home to a small museum containing the independence arms, historical documents, archaeological remains, and ancient artwork.
Cochas Lake: is an artificial lake located 10km from Guaranda Ecuador. It's a very popular destination where you can go for a boat ride and admire the beautiful gardens.
Salinas de Guaranda: is a small town located about 1h 30 min from Guaranda.
The town is famous for its brand of cheeses called Salinerito (sold nation-wide) as well as wool spinning and dye mills. The area of Salinas is surrounded by salt formations left over from salt mining.
The town is also home to a major sweets industry and has beautiful walks and fishing areas along with horse riding facilities.
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The carnival in Guaranda has a dazzling combination of parades, dancers, strolling poets and masked people who roam the streets at random.
The grand celebratory opening of the Guaranda Ecuador carnival features the dramatic entrance of Taita Carnaval (Father Carnival) into town.
Taita Carnaval is one of the local wealthy landowners and the generous sponsor of the party, earning him the gratitude and respect of party-goers.
Taita Canaval, accompanied by Mama Carnaval (Mother carnival), presides over the parades and celebrations of the carnival.
A group of local musicians also meanders in and out of various houses through the day often receiving alcoholic beverages or the locals drink called Pajaro Azul (Blue Bird).
The traditional foods in Guaranda Ecuador include fritada (fried pork), bolos (mashed plantains) and empanadas (cheese and meat filled pastries).
One of the original traditions of Guaranda Carnival is to throw water and flour balloons to the people participating in the celebrations (visitors and locals).
The people in Guaranda seem to have endless energy as they dance and sing all day and all night long.
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