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Tungurahua Province
South of Cotopaxi is Tunguruhua province, with the town of Baños, one of Ecuador's most popular destinations, and many spectacular volcanos including Tungurahua, Carihuairazo and Cerro Hermoso.
Baños de Agua Santa
IMG_1416.JPGGateway to the Amazon -on the edge of the route into the cloud forest and jungle in the east lies Baños. This beautiful town, with its hot springs, is set in the shadow of the active volcano Tungurahua which on occasions can be seen glowing at night. It is famous for its sugar cane candy sweets -interesting to watch them being made. The town is the starting point for jungle trips to Misahuallí, Puyo and the waterfalls of Agoyan, Ines María and Pailon del Diablo. It is also the base for climbing Tunguruhua and El Altar, and offers adventure sports such as kayaking, trekking, and mountain biking. Baños provides a gentler and cheaper alternative than Quito if you want to learn Spanish.
More on Baños.

Ambato -City of Leather
Ambato, the provincial capital, is best known for its February Carnival celebrations with bullfights and festive parades. Locally named as the 'Land of Flowers and Fruit' Ambato and has traditionally been one of the Andes main trading centers, in particular its leather goods and other artisan products.
Other villages in the province have different specialities -San Pedro de Pelileo produces textiles, Salasaca woolen rugs and hangings and the area around Patate is a lush agricultural centre producing avocado, tree tomato, grapes, mandarin and lime.
Sangay National Park
IMG_1437.JPGSangay is the third of Ecuador's World Heritage sites. The 670,000 acre park covers a huge area of remote countryside up to 5,400m in altitude, including the three peaks Tungurahua, El Altar and Sangay (one of the worlds most active volcanoes). It is home to many rare animals including mountain tapir, Andean condor, and ocelot. The flora ranges from highland grasses and shrubs to cloud forest in the east. Tours can be arranged from Baños.
Parque Sangay -information on the flora and fauna, rivers, lakes and volcanoes of the national park (Spanish).
Unesco Inscription -explains reasons for protection of the park. -some beautiful images of the sort of landscape to expect.
Trekking in Ecuador -more information for serious walkers.
Llanganates National Park
This huge and remote park of around 220,000 hectares consists largely of Andian and amazonian forest at altitudes between 1500 and 4500m above sea level. It is very wet and the temperature ranges between 3 and 25 degrees celsius. The enormous biodiversity to be found here includes spectacled bear, Andean deer, capybara, various species of monkey, Andean tapir, jaguar, ocelot, various parrots, and toucans. It is also the legendary burial place of Atahualpa's gold ransom, which was never paid, but buried by Ruminahui on learning of his masters death at the hands of the Spanish.

DSCF1867This must be the province for mountain climbers, but for the visitor it is also rich in history and handicrafts. Set in the middle of the snow-capped peaks is Riobamba, one time capital of Ecuador. The old town is famous for its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, and it is the starting point for the world famous train ride past the Devil's Nose.
Nearby the Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve, contains the volcanoes Chimborazo and Carihuairazo, both popular with climbers -for more information follow the link to mountain climbing. The Reserve also acts as a refuge to preserve vicuña, llama, and alpaca.
See also
Baños -gateway to the Oriente
Northern Andes -more information from the Ministry of Tourism.
Day trips -trips you can visit in the northern Andes in a day trip or weekend from Quito -Otavalo, Pasachoa, Mitad del Mundo, Cotopaxi, Pululahua.

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