Several famous ambateños (people from Ambato) had quintas that survived the earthquake. They were probably once considered countryside homes, but today they are right on the edge of this growing city. La Quinta de Juan León Mera – set on the banks of the Río Ambato in the suburb of Atocha, about 2km northeast of downtown – is the best of the area’s haciendas, and houses a museum and botanic garden.

The estate, built in 1874, has period furnishing and is set in the Jardín Botánico La Liria, a lush garden with more than 200 plant species and a trail down to the river. Just on the north side of La Liria is the Museo Histórico Martínez-Holguim, another period quinta formerly owned by a famous mountain climber. To get to the complex by foot, walk northwest on Montalvo, cross the river and turn right on Av Los Capulíes. Buses for Atocha leave from 12 de Noviembre and Espejo. Taxis to the quintas from downtown cost $2.