charming colonial town of Ibarra, 22km northeast of Otavalo, is the
provincial capital of Imbabura. The city is only a 2 hour drive from
Quito. Many of Ibarra's houses are built in the colonial style and
their red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls have given Ibarra the
nickname of " The White City".
In Ibarra there are well-preserved parks such as Moncayo Park and La
Merced Park. Art exhibitions are displayed in the Catholic University,
the Universidad del Norte, the Culture House, and the Colegio de
Arquitectos. There are also several museums with archaeological,
numismatic, philatelic, and paleontological displays, among others.
Ibarra itself has a mild, humid climate, and is set in the midst of
orchards and gardens.
Ibarra has a unique blend of students, mestizos, highland Indians and
Afro-Ecuadorians from the nearby Valle del Chota, a combination that
gives the city an exciting multicultural edge. When you're through
relaxing in its leafy plazas, take a stroll around the train station
and market area which is always abuzz with interesting activity.
Market day, a bustling local affair, is Saturday, Ibarra has
manufactures of cotton and woollen fabrics, hats, sandals (alpargates),
sacks and rope from cabuya fibre, laces, sugar and various kinds of
distilled spirits and cordials made from the sugar-cane grown in the
the local men play pelota de guante, a strange Ecuadorian paddleball
game played with a small, soft ball and large, spiked paddies that
look like medieval torture implements.
Ibarra, which was founded in the early 17th century, is also a
bishop's see. There are also quite a few festivals held annually in
Ibarra, such as the Fiesta de los Lagos which is held on the last week
of September. The El Pregon and Virgen del Carmen are both colourful
events with parades and festivities. They are held on July 16th. The
town has a wealth of hotels, bars, and restaurants that serve
delicious local cuisine. continues...