Salinas de Guaranda Travel Guide

Explore the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Salinas de Guaranda in Ecuador with our comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Salinas de Guaranda

Nestled in the Andean highlands of South America, Salinas de Guaranda is a picturesque town renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. It is located in the Bolivar province of Ecuador, approximately 200 km south of Quito. Salinas de Guaranda is known for its high-quality cheese and chocolate production and its vibrant indigenous culture which dates back to the pre-Columbian era.

List of Places to Visit in Salinas de Guaranda

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Museo de la Sal

The Salt Museum, or Museo de la Sal, is an impressive museum that showcases the history of salt mining in Salinas. Visitors can learn about the extraction of salt from the nearby mountains and see the tools used to transport salt down to the town.

Museo del Pan

The Bread Museum, or Museo del Pan, is a fascinating exhibition which tells the story of bread-making in Salinas. Visitors can watch local bakers at work and learn about the history of the town’s famous bread.

Natural Attractions of Salinas de Guaranda: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Cerro Negro

Cerro Negro is a beautiful, rugged mountain overlooking Salinas de Guaranda. Visitors can hike or bike to the summit to witness breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Laguna de Colta

Laguna de Colta is a picturesque high-altitude lake located near Salinas de Guaranda. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, or taking a boat ride on the lake while admiring stunning views of the nearby mountains.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Salinas de Guaranda

Salinas de Guaranda is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous hiking and biking trails offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The most popular routes include Cerro Negro, Laguna de Colta, and the Salinas Valley Circuit.

Best Things to Do in Salinas de Guaranda: Activities and Tours

Some of the best things to do in Salinas de Guaranda include visiting the Salt Museum, hiking to Cerro Negro, sampling the town’s famous chocolate, and exploring the quaint hillside villages nearby. You can take a tour of the local cheese factory or participate in an artisanal chocolate-making workshop.

Week-Long Itinerary for Salinas de Guaranda

Day 1: Arrival and Sightseeing in Salinas de Guaranda. Day 2: Hike or bike to Cerro Negro. Day 3: Explore the nearby hillside villages and experience the local culture. Day 4: Visit the Chocolate Factory and learn about the chocolate-making process. Day 5: Take a trip to Laguna de Colta and enjoy the stunning views. Day 6: Participate in an artisanal cheese-making workshop or visit the Bread Museum. Day 7: Departure.

Food and Drink Scene of Salinas de Guaranda

Must-Try Dishes

The most famous dishes in Salinas de Guaranda are the traditional potato-based soups like Locro de Papas and Fanesca. These soups are hearty and flavorful, and they are perfect for warming up on chilly mountain nights. Another popular dish is the roasted pork accompanied by corn tortillas and avocado.

Local Beverages

The most popular drink in Salinas de Guaranda is Chicha, a fermented corn drink that is similar to beer. It is commonly consumed during traditional festivals and celebrations.

Where to Stay in Salinas de Guaranda: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Salinas de Guaranda has a variety of options for accommodation, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. Some of the top-rated options include the Hacienda La Carriona, Hotel Los Capullo, and Hostal Mis Manos.

What to Buy in Salinas de Guaranda: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Salinas de Guaranda is famous for its high-quality cheese, chocolate, and handicrafts. Visitors can purchase these items at the town’s market or directly from the producers.

Local Culture and Customs of Salinas de Guaranda

Salinas de Guaranda has a rich indigenous culture that dates back to the pre-Columbian era. The town is widely recognized for its cheese-making, chocolate production, and traditional weaving. The community’s cultural practices are closely linked to the local environment and reflect a deep respect for nature.

Best Time to Visit Salinas de Guaranda

The best time to visit Salinas de Guaranda is between June and September when the weather is mild and dry. The town celebrates several religious festivals, including the Fiesta de la Mama Negra in September, which is a colorful and vibrant event that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Do’s and Don’ts of Salinas de Guaranda


  • Dress warmly as the weather can be cold in the mountains.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions.
  • Try the local cheese and chocolate.


  • Take photos of people without their permission.
  • Litter or damage the environment.

Safety and Health

Safety in Salinas de Guaranda

Salinas de Guaranda is generally safe for travelers. However, visitors should take standard precautions such as not walking alone at night and not carrying large amounts of cash.

Health in Salinas de Guaranda

Visitors to Salinas de Guaranda may experience altitude sickness due to the high elevation of the town. It is recommended to drink plenty of water and rest frequently to acclimate to the altitude. Visitors should also ensure they are up-to-date with routine vaccinations.

Getting to Salinas de Guaranda: Transportation Options and Logistics

Salinas de Guaranda is located approximately 200 km south of Quito. The easiest way to get there is by taking a bus from either Quito or Guayaquil. There are also several flights to nearby airports in Cuenca and Riobamba.

Airports Near Salinas de Guaranda

  • Mariscal Lamar International Airport in Cuenca.
  • Capitan Alberto A. Fernández Airport in Salinas de Guaranda.
  • Aeropuerto de Riobamba.

Bus Stations Near Salinas de Guaranda

  • Terminal Quitumbe in Quito.
  • Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil.
  • Terminal Terrestre de Riobamba.

Other Options

Visitors can also hire private transport or rent a car to get to Salinas de Guaranda.

How to Get Around in Salinas de Guaranda

The best way to get around Salinas de Guaranda is on foot or by bike. The town is small, and most attractions are within walking distance. Visitors can rent bikes or hire a taxi to travel to nearby attractions or hillside villages.

Where to Go Next from Salinas de Guaranda: Nearby Destinations and Excursions


Riobamba is a city located approximately 70 km east of Salinas de Guaranda. It is known for its stunning colonial architecture and its close proximity to Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador.


Cuenca is a picturesque city located approximately 170 km south of Salinas de Guaranda. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty.


Salinas de Guaranda is a hidden gem in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, it is a destination that every traveler should experience. Whether you are interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting, Salinas de Guaranda is a must-visit destination.