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An update from Evaneos

Imbabura (Ecuador)

Practical information on Imbabura

  • Encounters with locals
  • Volcano
  • Lake
  • Festivals
  • Music
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
Two hours from Quito by bus
When to go
From October to April
Minimum stay
One week

Reviews of Imbabura

Seasoned Traveller
9 written opinions

Imbabura Province is one of the most well-known places for tourists to visit in Ecuador. It's possible to go on an organised tour of the region, and this is an option open to all tourists. It's essential to include Imbabura on your itinerary if you want to see and explore the Ecuadorian Sierra.

My suggestion:
Visit during the Inti Raymi festival season. This will give you the chance to experience a side of Imbabura Province you don't normally get to see, and you'll have genuine opportunities to meet members of the indigenous population, the Quechua Indians.
My review

Imbabura Province is one of the regions to discover and explore when visiting Ecuador. With many volcanoes, lakes and fertile Andean valleys making up its landscape, the area has some very beautiful scenery. Because the area is inhabited by various indigenous groups, It's also one of Ecuador's most culturally rich and vibrant regions. This makes the province a very interesting and rewarding place for tourists to visit, with opportunities to encounter various types of local craftspeople, e.g. the weavers of Otavalo, the wood sculptors of San Antonio, and the leather workers of Cotacachi.

Local produce grown on the steep, fertile slopes of the Imbabura Volcano can be bought at the region's markets, especially that of Ibarra. The stalls of the market traders are adorned with coffee beans, apples, Yucca and various fruits and vegetables. Don't be at all reluctant to visit a traditional restaurant and enjoy local dishes such as "la fritada", "el mote con caso", "las humitas" and "el seco". Serenaded by a group of traditional Andean (Otavalo) musicians, you'll have a delightful time.

And finally, for lovers of the great outdoors, the lakes of Yahuarcocha, Mojanda, San Pablo and Cullicocha are all wonderful places to explore, whether it's by pedalo, on foot, or on horseback. It takes no time at all to fall under the spell of these crystalline lakes surrounded by hills and fertile plains. If you want to really find out what the region's agricultural areas are like, head off on the road to Zuleta, south of Ibarra: you'll see beautiful haciendas all the way to the national park of San Marcos. That's where this region ends and that of Cayambe begins. Enjoy your visit!

Yahuarcocha Lake, Ibarra
Julie Olagnol Seasoned Traveller
91 written opinions

The Imbabura volcano is in the north of the country, not far from Otavalo.

My suggestion:
Try to stay with the locals in the area, in La Esperanza for example, to discover and experience the lifestyle of the northern sierra.
My review

During my holiday in Ecuador I was able to visit the area around Otavalo and Ibarra with a friend who is native to the region. First of all we hiked towards San Pablo lake, where the views of Imbabura and Cayambe are simply beautiful, then we did some boating in the laguna Cuicocha, a crater lake at the foot of the Cotacachi volcano. 

Imbabura towers over this region in the north of Ecuador. Even though it's far from being the highest in the country, this extinct volcano has the undeniable advantage of often being free of cloud cover, so it's easy to get a good photo. 

A sweet little legend tells the story of how Mother Cotachachi covers herself with snow when Father Imbabura comes visiting during the night! Climbing Imbabura is relatively easily achievable when compared to some other volcanos, such as Cotopaxi or Chimborazo.

The Imbabura volcano