Abraspungo: Gateway to the volcanes

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Isabel Hurtado is well aware that her decision some twenty years ago to open her home to visitors and create Hotel Hacienda Abraspungo was a stroke of good fortune, and vision. It has arguably become the most special place to stay in the city of Riobamba, a middle-Ecuador provincial capital that is, coincidentally, an excellent springboard to set out and explore some of the most surprising sites in the country (Ecuador’s highest peak at Chimborazo, Ecuador’s most beautiful heights at Altar, the beguiling stills of Ozogoche Lake, the craftsmanship of rug-makers in Guano, etc.) as well as being located smack-in-the-middle of the recently rehabilitated Ecuadorian railway.

Booking a ride on the ‘Tren Crucero’ makes its obliged stop at this highlight hacienda/hotel, but it is a great place from which to plan partial train rides as well, especially for those itching to discover the fabulous Devil’s Nose.

With the rehabilitation of Riobamba’s train station, guests at the hotel are perfectly placed to make a day of visiting the highest portions of Ecuador’s railway.

The underlying premise behind Abraspungo seems to be its situation amid the mountains (Cubillines, Chimborazo, Carihuariazo, Quillimas, Igualata and active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay). Rooms are, thus, named after them (you’ll probably spend some time gazing at a most fascinating volcano map donated by one of the country’s leading volcanologists, Hugo Yépez, illustrating the amazing concentration of open craters between Quito and Riobamba) and you have the actual peaks themselves, which can not only be admired from the property, but ventured to as well!

Another highlight is the food and the comfort. Several years back, the Hacienda Hotel’s cooks received training from an excellent Peruvian chef, who unexpectedly returned not much after his scheduled stay, to become an official staff member. Isabel tells us he loved it there, and helped many of the current chefs become proficient creators. Quinua risottos, delicious avocado-based salads and the must-taste seared octopus are just some of the eclectic finds on the menu. Meanwhile, warm bedspreads, ample bathrooms and gorgeous gardens top the experience.

Contact
Km 3 ½ vía Riobamba – Guano Riobamba
(+593 3) 236-4275 / (+593 3) 236-4274
www.haciendaabraspungo.com

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