Zaruma Travel Guide

Read on for a complete travel guide to Zaruma, including places to visit, activities to do, and cultural insights.

Introduction to Zaruma

Nestled in the Coastal Lowlands of Ecuador, South America, is the charming town of Zaruma. This town is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and gold mining heritage. Set against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains, Zaruma offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions that make it a must-see destination for travelers. Here is a comprehensive tour guide to help you plan your trip.

List of Places to Visit in Zaruma

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Zaruma is home to several culturally important attractions such as:

  • Municipal Museum: A place that showcases the town’s rich history and heritage, including the gold mining tradition and tools.

  • House Museum of Artesanies: A museum that features traditional Ecuadorian handicrafts and highlights the town’s artistic heritage.

  • Central Plaza: A historic plaza that served as the center of the town in the past.

Natural Attractions of Zaruma: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Zaruma’s natural beauty shines through with its scenic views and outdoor adventures. Some attractions worth visiting include:

  • Plaza de la Independencia: A beautiful square offering stunning vistas of the Andes Mountains.

  • Toma de Agua Usufruct: A water source that has served the town since colonial times and houses beautiful murals.

  • El Mirador: A viewpoint that offers unrivaled panoramas of the countryside.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Zaruma

Exploring Zaruma on foot or by bike is an excellent way to discover the region’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Some popular hiking and biking routes include:

  • Parque Nacional Machalilla: A national park famous for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife.

  • El Cajas National Park: A park located a few kilometers away from Zaruma, offering different hiking trails to explore.

  • The Puerto Cayo to San Pablo route: A 32-kilometer biking route that takes you through the stunning landscapes of the Ecuadorian coast.

Best Things to Do in Zaruma: Activities and Tours

Zaruma offers an array of activities and tours for adventure enthusiasts, history buffs, and culture lovers alike. Some popular things to do include:

  • Gold Mine Tours: Experience the gold mining heritage of Zaruma and learn about the process of gold extraction.

  • Coffee Tours: Ecuador is famous for its coffee, and Zaruma is no exception. Visit a coffee plantation for a coffee tour.

  • Brimming Horse Tours: Get a unique and scenic experience exploring the city on horseback.

Week-Long Itinerary for Zaruma

Day 1: Check in and take a stroll in the central plaza.

Day 2: Visit the House Museum of Artesanies.

Day 3: Visit the central market and Toma de Agua Usufruct.

Day 4: Explore the El Mirador and hike around the nearby hills.

Day 5: Take a gold mine tour in one of the local mines.

Day 6: Go on a coffee plantation tour.

Day 7: Finish the week off with a horse tour of the city.

Food and Drink Scene of Zaruma

Must-Try Dishes

Ecuador is famous for its unique and flavorful cuisine, and Zaruma’s food scene is no exception. Here are some must-try dishes:

  • Locro Soup: A hearty soup made from potatoes and cheese.

  • Encebollado: A popular seafood soup.

  • Ceviche: Another seaside delicacy enjoyed in Ecuador.

Local Beverages

Zaruma is known for its tea made from native plants found in the surrounding hills. Other popular Ecuadorian drinks include:

  • Canelazo: A hot, spiced alcoholic drink made from sugar cane and spices.

  • Chicha: A traditional alcoholic drink made from white corn.

Where to Stay in Zaruma: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Zaruma offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and homestays. Here are some popular choices:

  • Hotel San Francisco: A hotel located in the heart of the city featuring contemporary decor and comfortable rooms.

  • Hostal Yale: A budget-friendly option with clean rooms and excellent service.

  • La Viña: A cozy guesthouse set in a restored colonial building.

What to Buy in Zaruma: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Zaruma is an excellent place to shop for traditional Ecuadorian handicrafts and souvenirs. Popular items include:

  • Handwoven textiles: Beautifully made traditional shawls, ponchos, and other clothing items.

  • Gold jewelry and ornaments: Hand-crafted pieces made from the town’s gold mines.

  • Coffee beans: Ecuador is famous for its coffee, making it an excellent product to bring back home.

Local Culture and Customs of Zaruma

Zaruma’s culture is deeply rooted in its colonial past and gold mining heritage. Visitors should applaud times the customs and traditions of the local people.

Best Time to Visit Zaruma

The best time to visit is from June to September, when the weather is dry and sunny.

Do’s and Don’ts of Zaruma


  • Try the local cuisine and coffee.

  • Explore the region’s natural beauty and rich history.

  • Respect the local culture and customs.


  • Engage in any illegal activity, specifically gold mining.

  • Disrespect the local people.

  • Litter or damage any of the town’s historic buildings.

Safety and Health

Safety in Zaruma

Zaruma is a safe place to visit, and the local people are welcoming. However, visitors should remain vigilant, especially when carrying valuable items or cash.

Health in Zaruma

Visitors should stay hydrated and take care of themselves as they would in any other destination. Ensure to pack sunscreen and insect repellent as both are essential.

Getting to Zaruma: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Zaruma

The closest airport to Zaruma is the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil.

Bus Stations Near Zaruma

The nearest bus station is located in Portovelo, about 15 kilometers from Zaruma

Other Options

Visitors can also get to Zaruma by taxi or other private transportation.

How to Get Around in Zaruma

The town is best explored on foot, and visitors will find that Zaruma is an easy and safe place to walk. Motorbike taxis (tuk-tuks) are also available for hire in case you need to travel around faster.

Where to Go Next from Zaruma: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can consider visiting places within the region like the city of Cuenca or the Galapagos Islands.


Zaruma has something for everyone and offers a unique mix of natural beauty and rich history. From cultural attractions to outdoor adventures, visitors to Zaruma are sure to have an unforgettable travel experience.