San Luis de Pambil

Travel Guide South America Ecuador San Luis de Pambil

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Introduction

San Luis de Pambil is an agricultural village on the western side of the Andes in the lower, warmer part of Bolivar Province in Ecuador. This little-visited area between the mountains and the sea has no famous tourist attractions but is worth a visit to get off the beaten track and see genuine rural life.

Note that there are no banking facilities, so bring enough cash for your stay.

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Sights and Activities

  • Nothing famous, just little farming communities in beautiful countryside in the foothills of the Andes, growing oranges, maize, avocados, papayas, sugarcane, coffee, cacao (chocolate), etc. Streams and waterfalls, virgin forest higher up the valley.
  • Wildlife to see includes hummingbirds, toucans and howler monkeys.
  • Visits to sustainable rural development projects such as an organic sugarcane farming cooperative.
  • Guides and/or tour and activity information available through charity project Eco-Friendly Farmstays.

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Getting There

By bus, travel to Zapotal (between Quevedo and Babahoyo, on the main route from Quito or Santo Domingo to Guayaquil). This takes around 5-6 hours from Quito, or about 3 hours from Guayaquil. From Quito take any bus heading towards Guayaquil, from Guayaquil take any bus heading towards Quito and get off at Zapotal. Zapotal is just a small collection of restaurants and shops on the main road - get off here and wait at the T-junction for the local buses to San Luis de Pambil (the journey takes just over one hour, buses depart every hour and the last bus departs around 6pm). The other, far more adventurous, way in is the 2 day hike down from Salinas de Guaranda, in Bolivar Province - go with a local guide. It is also posible to get to San Luis de Pambil on the ocational camionetas from Salinas de Guaranda. Better arrive a day before to find out at what time they leave.

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Getting Around

On foot. Or hire a horse to explore higher up the valley. Or arrange for a private vehicle to take you to sites of interest. Hitchhiking here is very easy as the locals are all very friendly.

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Eat

Plain local foods (chicken, rice, avocado, corn, cheese, etc) from a couple of very basic restaurants in the village, or eat with local families by arrangement (through Eco-Friendly Farmstays).

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Drink

Aguardiente is the local 'firewater', made from sugar cane. See how it's made and try it for yourself, but be warned it is around 60% alcohol, so drink with caution!

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Sleep

There is one small hotel, Hotel El Pambileno, with eight decent but un-inspiring rooms on the main plaza in San Luis. The cost is about $5 per night. No need to book in advance - there's almost always space. The hotel can arrange guides etc. for you.

Eco-Friendly Farmstays is a charity-run eco-tourism project, offering farmstays with local families. The price for each night's accommodation includes a tree which you must plant (with help), so you will be directly involved in reforestation in the area. It's very basic, no-frills accommodation, but the people are friendly and you will experience authentic rural village life in a little-visited part of Ecuador, well off the beaten track.

Alternatively head up the valley to the Piedra Blanca Ecolodge.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international telephone code for Ecuador is 593. The general emergency number is 911, but there are special ones of police (101) and fire (102).

The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin.

Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops. The costs of calling are higher though at around $0.45 an hour.

Post

Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!

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Contributors

as well as EcuadorFan (13%), Peter (6%)

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This is version 11. Last edited at 9:52 on Feb 21, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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