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Altitude: 2,800 meters (9,186 ft) Population: 63,842 Phone Code: 03

A medium-sized city about an hour south of Quito, and the capital of the Cotopaxi province, Latacunga appeals to the traveler interested in visiting an authentic Ecuadorian city, where tourism isn't the be-all and end-all. It's also a good base for visiting Cotopaxi, the Quilotoa Loop, and the nearby Saquisilí market. Many people, however, bypass the city on the dusty Panamericana highway on the edge of town, thereby missing out on the other side of Latacunga: a surprisingly charming historic center, with cobbled streets, tranquil plazas and a sprinkling of intimate cafés. Despite its low numbers of visitors, Latacunga still has a decent tourism infrastructure.

Latacunga was destroyed by earthquakes and eruptions of Cotopaxi on three occasions: in 1742, 1768 and 1877. In spite of the repeated destruction, it has a well-preserved colonial downtown. Once a somewhat grungy city, Latacunga municipality has done a great deal in recent years to beautify itself, improving gardens in the town squares and adding ornate metalwork to the bridges that connect the city to the highway.

Latacunga's biggest claim to fame is its biannual festival, La Fiesta de la Mama Negra, held in both September and October, attracting huge crowds and featuring parades, fireworks, and dancing.


Other places nearby Latacunga: Alaus√≠, Quilotoa, Ambato, Salinas de Bol√≠var, Guaranda, Ba√Īos, Chugchil√°n, Zumbahua, Saquisil√≠ and Cotopaxi National Park.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
17 Sep 2012

Top Hotels in Latacunga

Hostal Tiana

Hostal Tiana is a pleasant surprise in Latacunga. It\'s aimed at backpackers, and does its job well. Set in a large colonial house, there\'s dorms as well as private rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a ...
Latacunga, Ecuador

Villa De Tacvnga

Villa de Tacvnga is one of the nicer places to stay in Latacunga. It\'s not a luxurious hotel, but rooms, which are set around a small, sunny courtyard, are agreeably decorated, airy, and ...
Latacunga, Ecuador

Hotel Rosim

Centrally located just off the main square, Hotel Rosim is cool and quiet, with simple but well-maintained rooms. The prices are reasonable for what you get: rooms with private bath, WiFi, and cable ...
Latacunga, Ecuador

Hotel Rodelu

The rooms are comfortable, with private bathrooms, cable TV and WiFi, and there\'s free use of communal computers if you don\'t have your own, but considering the lack of both breakfast and light ...
Latacunga, Ecuador

Hotel Central

On the corner of the main square, the Hotel Central has been around for 30 years, run by cheerful owner Viola. It has built up a healthy reputation in that time, particularly with tour groups. It\'s ...
Latacunga, Ecuador
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