This town is not famous for its pineapples. In fact the people I spoke to didn’t even know why it had that name. Agriculture is the main economic activity but the main crops are coffee and oranges.
Piñas is attractively located in a narrow valley in the Southern Andes, along the road to Zaruma. The altitude is a little over 1000m above sea level, so it enjoys a temperate climate. The town centre is compact and fairly clean without being particularly interesting to tourists. The people are quite light-skinned and friendly.
The main reason to stay here is to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside, particularly the Buenaventura reserve which is run by the Jocotoco foundation. Access is from the Santa Rosa road about 5km south of Piñas. You can organise a guided tour here, or if you’re pushed for time you should at least stop to visit El Jardin de los Colibríes. Read more about this place and Piñas in my blog entry .
South of town is a high hill with a large cross near the top. It is possible to walk or drive up there. The footpath starts under the cross which you can see from the river. The vehicle track access is at the east edge of town). From the cross you get a great view of the area.
There are a few swimming pools next to rivers near to town.
There is rumoured to be an orchid museum, an orquideario. As Piñas boasts to be the Ciudad de las Orquideas there should really be something. However the local people all seemed to have differing opinions about a) whether it existed and b) where it was. End result – we didn’t find it. Let me know if you do.
Where to Stay
There are a few hotels to choose from. Click here to see the options. We stayed in the Casa Arassari ‘Boutique Hotel’ – read my impressions here.
Where to Eat
Well, we ate in the same chifa two nights running because we failed to find anywhere else open so I’d have to say the options are limited. But the food in the chifa was good!
Piñas is on the road to Zaruma. To get there from the coast, turn off the Panamericana just south of Santa Rosa and head west. Read more about the route here. Santa Rosa - Zaruma.