Welcome to Zaruma
This charming old gold-mining town (founded in 1549) is a revelation, with its narrow, hilly streets, wooden balustrades decorated with potted plants, a well-kept plaza and quaint Virgen del Carmen church rising above it. The journey into Zaruma itself is part of the appeal; winding up and over lush mountains with gushing streams pouring through the foliage, the final climb to the colonial town feels like the end of a pilgrimage. While most mines are closed to the public, you can visit one – La Mina el Sexmo – and learn about the industry that once made this area flourish.
The nearby secluded Reserva Buenaventura – a cloud-forest reserve – offers nature hikes and magnificent bird-watching opportunities.