This road takes you up out of the central Andean where Ambato is situated and then descends down the Pastaza valley to the town of Baños. On the way you have fantastic views of the Tungurahua volcano and the chance to see some weaving in Salasaca.
Why would you possibly want to leave Ambato? Well, once you’ve exhausted its charms the bus station is north of the centre. If you’re driving you need to head east, probably up on the road which climbs a steep hill, leads you past the football stadium, then through an industrial area and eventually out of the city and onwards to Baños. If in doubt wind down your window and shout Baños – you’ll get a hand signal.
Ambato now has half a ring road to the east so if you’re coming from the south (Riobamba) or the north (Quito, Latacunga) you don’t have to enter the city at all to get to Baños. Simply watch out for the sign indicating the turn off and coast along an almost traffic-free dual carriageway (especially dramatic if you’re coming from the north – the road descends down past cliffs into a valley and then climbs out again). You’ll eventually come to a roundabout where a sign directs you east to Baños.
The province of Tungurahua has some of the clearest signage in Ecuador – at every turn-off a green and red sign over the road proclaims the destinations and distances. There are many roads which all connect up with each other, despite the tortuous slopes. You can turn off at various points and head down to Patate, Píllaro or El Triunfo.