Ibarra is the provincial capital of Imbabura.
capital city of the province of Imbabura, in the
though in practice it seems
more of a sleepy little provincial town. The city is
enough, with various charming old buildings and pretty parks, but there
are few sites of interest to tourists and finding
anything to eat after 6pm is nigh impossible. Be prepared,
stock up on snacks for supper.
Ibarra takes laid back to a new level. At
time, around half of the businesses in Ibarra appear to be closed,
apart from the Tourist Information stand at the bus station, which
seems to be closed on a permanent basis. Even when actually
for business, shops in Ibarra tend to have limited stocks and not much
choice. For almost any kind of shopping, whether it be
clothes or groceries, you are probably better off going to either
one saving grace is the
availability of wonderfully rich, European-style cakes at Pasteleria
DeGloria, on Rocafuerte, between Pedro Moncayo and Velasco.
The cinnamon rolls are perhaps the best you will ever taste,
and there is also a range of cheesecakes, brownies, flans and cakes to
transport hub and can be a good
place to break the journey from Colombia to Quito or vice versa.
Ibarra bus station (Terminal Terrestre Ibarra) is clean and
really worth going out of your way to visit Ibarra unless you have huge
amounts of time in Ecuador. However, if you've been on the
or in big, bustling cities for a
while, Ibarra could be a relaxing place to spend a day or two just
sitting in parks, admiring the attractive architecture, eating cake or
the local blackberry syrup and
catching up with yourself. If you want good wine, you'll need
to bring it with you.
range from cheap hostels up to reasonably smart hotels.
hostels with cheap rates which then suddenly up them in the morning,
claiming an extra fee because you did not check out before 7a.m., or
other spurious excuses. Hotel Plaza Victoria is clean and
reliable with friendly, helpful staff, and good value at around $25
including breakfast on their rooftop terrace (a great location on any
festival day, as parades tend to pass right along the street below).
In any hotel in Ibarra, it may be wise to ask for a room
doesn't face onto the street if you wanter a quieter night's sleep.
your luggage in an Ibarra
hotel, you could make a day trip from here to Otavalo's
famous market. Another
option is to hike to the top
of Imbabura Volcano. You'll need a guide - try a travel
agency in Ibarra, or ask at Casa Aida in La Esperanza, a half hour
journey from the city - expect to pay perhaps $25 for the guide and
another few dollars for a camioneta to the start of the route.
to Ibarra: Ibarra is about 2
and a half hours by bus
(buses every 15 minutes or so) and around the same from Tulcan, on the
way to the Colombian border. Otavalo
is around half an hour away on buses which leave every 10 minutes.
Buses from Ibarra on the very scenic route to Cayambe
(around 2 and a half hours) pass through Zuleta
(about an hour) - avoid this route in very wet weather as part of the
road is quite rough and may become impassable.
Spanish & other Vocabulary for visiting Ibarra, Ecuador:
Pasteleria: patisserie, cake shop
Ibarra Tourist Information. Provincial Capital of Imbabura,
Ibarra is attractive with a
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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