Carbon Neutral 100%
Top destinations of the moment in South America
  • Tour Ideas
Trip Types
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions
An update from Evaneos

Ibarra (Ecuador)

Practical information on Ibarra

  • Water Sports
  • Lake
  • Festivals
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
22 kilometres to the north of Otavalo by bus
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Ibarra

Seasoned Traveller
8 written opinions

Ibarra is a city with a pleasant climate located at the heart of the Ecuadorian Sierra. Because it lies at an altitude of 2,225 metres, the winters are mild here, and the summers not too hot. This is a city where the living is good, largely thanks to the weather and the local culinary specialities.

My suggestion:
Try a colada morada – a special drink consumed on the 2nd November to celebrate All Soul's Day – and go for a stroll around the cemeteries. It all gets very lively and exciting when this local religious festival is taking place.
My review

Ibarra is a culturally mixed city located deep in the heart of Imbabura Province. Quechuas, Africans and those of mixed race all live their daily lives together here. The city still has a certain colonial, Christian (it contains many churches) style about it, and the predominance of white buildings along its streets has led to it being referred to as "The White City". The cathedral of Pedro Montcayo is lit with blue and yellow lights after dark to highlight its 19th century architecture. It's something not to be missed under any circumstances!

I also recommend visiting the market set out around the Obelisk when you're in Ibarra. Here you'll find mobile food stands selling fruit juices and "mote con queso" (cooked corn kernels with cheese). I also really enjoyed the "helados de paila" (traditional ice creams) and "el pan con leche" (bread with milk) you can get in the Caranqui district (two kilometres from Ibarra by bus). Don't be at all reluctant to go for a walk around this neighbourhood. I saw some beautiful, highly colourful houses here, with the Imbabura Volcano providing the backdrop.

Finally, and if you have enough time, a spot of sailing on Yahuarcocha Lake – or a ride in a pedalo – is a good way for those who enjoy water-based activities to get out into the fresh air. If you want to venture further afield, I recommend catching the bus that stops in front of the market and goes up to Esperanza, a district located in the heights above Ibarra. You'll find a wonderful hacienda up there, and you'll get to enjoy views of the Cayambe Volcano (when its not cloudy).

The market around the Obelisk
Seasoned Traveller
75 written opinions

Half way between Quito and the Colombian frontier, Ibarra, or "the white town" as it's called, is a small, charming and pleasant town in Ecuador to explore for a day or two.

My suggestion:
The town and region's pride are the several ice cream shops owned by the Suarez family. Don't hesitate to go to one and have a gourmet break.
My review

After Otavalo and before going back to Quito, I decided to go to Ibarra because I had heard good things about it. Only 2,225 m above sea level and surrounded by mountains I was under the charm of the town which I explored on foot for a day.

The centre isn't very big and has some old colonial buildings, a few churches and lots of parks where it was good just to sit and people watch.

The streets are calm and the atmosphere is relaxed. There are electric cables everywhere which spoils it a bit but there you go. I couldn't finish my day without going to try the famous Suarez family ice-cream, and I wasn't alone - the reputation of this family of ice-cream makers extends well beyond the town's boundaries.

Ibarra's quiet streets
Experience added!
You can add more experiences to your trip itinerary before sending it to a local agency
View my trip itinerary