Salinas de Guaranda, or simply Salinas is a town in the province of Bolivar, Ecuador.
Famous for its brand of cheeses called Salinerito (considered the country's premium range) as well as wool spinning and dye mills Salinas de Guaranda is just 90 minutes by car from Guaranda. The area is surrounded by interesting salt formations left over from salt mining, in addition, it is also home to a major sweets industry and has beautiful walks and fishing areas along with horse riding facilities. The entry cost into Salinas is US$2.00 and US$5.00 for the various community cooperative based projects accompanied with guides.
The province of Bolivar is around 70% Subtropical covered by western cloud forest while the lower section is more agricultural producing citrus and sugar cane.
Although not too frequented by tourists the bus ride from Guayaquil into Babahoyo is most scenic and you will often see agricultural workers hard at work tilling the fields.
There is a frequent bus service to Salinas de Guaranda with Transportes Cándido Rada leaving from Plaza Roja in Guaranda. Or, take a bus from Cuatro Esquinas, located on the road to Ambato (10 km north of Guaranda). From there, take a truck to Salinas (20 km). A taxi costs around US$15. To go back to Guaranda take any bus from Salinas' main plaza (all of them go to Guaranda).
Actually you can choose TranSalinerito pickups company which offers transportation from Guaranda to Salinas every 10 minutes. You don't need travel ticket, only you should to pay USD 1,00 to driver. If you need express service you can to call: (593) 0985196031 and ask for it. From Salinas you can to get neighboring towns like: Simiatug, Facundo Vela, Chimborazo, Chazojuan, Camaron, Talahua, etc.
Around to Salinas you can find very beautiful landscapes and indigenous towns like: Pachancho, Natahua, Yurakucsha, Chazojuan. In Chazojuan you can to see a beautiful waterfall and clear river. If you plan walk to there you need to get an local guide.
You can make trips around Salinas landscapes, climb and ride across nice routes between towns near the village and see beautiful mountains, natural plants and little birds, and the salt-water fountain.
Salinas de Guaranda style of projects acted as a catalyst and spread to other areas during the 1980s through a group from the town who transplanted their ideas to other towns. For example near La Palma in an easterly direction a native cloud forest reserve called Bosque Peña Blanca was procured along with a 300m waterfall, which has a lodge facility with 16 bunk beds, baths and cooking facilities just an hour's walk away in Echeandía (Tel. 03-970307), along with hotels and restaurants.
Also, of interest is Chimbo 25km from Guaranda which as well as producing guitars and various firework models it possesses a Vatican-style square built around a church called, Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Natividad which houses interesting pre-Spanish antiquities.
San Miguel further up the road is also worth a visit as is the old colonial town of Santiago which houses some interesting local art paintings in its church. If you continue on you'll pass San José de las Palmas to Bilován there are a set of worthwhile caves to explore called Las Guardias (west) which then leads on to a waterfall and river type beach in Balsapamba. The road then loops back to the aforementioned Babahoyo.
- [dead link] Artesanias Texsal (Artesanias), Tibospungo y Los Incas, ☏ +593 3 2210069, firstname.lastname@example.org. 8:00-17:00. Traditional Ecuadorian crafts, particularly hand-made alpaca sweaters, globes, hats.
- 1 Cheese Place, Central Park in Salinas, ☏ +593985196031, email@example.com. 8AM-8PM. In Cheese Place you can to buy the famous Salinerito cheese and enjoy its flavour. $7,00.
- Hotel Refugio Salinas, ☏ +593 3 2210185, firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfortable rooms and guided tours.
- Hostal Samilagua, Via a Simiatug, Parroquia Salinas, ☏ +593 3 2210059, email@example.com. Tourism Guides, Economic rooms, Private Rooms. 8.00.
Ask around for a local guide to take you on the 2-day hike down to San Luis de Pambil and Piedra Blanca and San Luis de Pambil.