"b1bob goes country even in Ecuador" Provincia de Imbabura by b1bob

Provincia de Imbabura Travel Guide: 191 reviews and 735 photos

The Province of Imbabura is only 80 km. (50 miles) north of Quito on the Pan American highway. However, it was a world away from the daily rush of urban life. Early one Saturday morning, Sergio, Christina, Thea, and I left Cumbayá for a day trip to the countryside. I am going to include a few things from the rural parts of Pichincha in this page because Quito is my town page and this is my country page. When I think of Imbabura, five things come to mind:

- Native Americans
- lakes
- textiles
- woodwork
- cuy

As suburbia gives way to the countryside, the first thing you notice are the hot houses in which Ecuador’s rose industry thrives. Northern Pichincha and Ibambura are also dairy country. There is a special cheese here called queso de hoja. As you go down along the Pan American highway, you begin to see the lakes. On the way to the market in Otavalo, you pass by Lago San Paulo. Clothes in the city are very expensive, but the textile mills here make the savings well worth the price of petrol driving from the city. If you are interested in woodwork, the village of San Antonio de Ibarra is home to expert wood carvers. All along the road are fritaderías and cuyerías, restaurants that only specialise in pork and guinea pig. You can get both delicacies in the city, but you pay half in the countryside of Imbabura. Sadly, this was only a day trip, but going here had more impact than anything else in the entire 10 days I was in Ecuador.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cheaper prices, a slower paced way of life, a more picturesque landscape.
  • Cons:Bad roads in spots.
  • In a nutshell:When you visit Quito, you have to come here.
  • Last visit to Provincia de Imbabura: Nov 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 20, 2007
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Reviews (15)

Comments (19)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I've enjoyed this page, so much I like here! Wonderful markets, the wood carvings and even the guinea pig looks pretty good to me!

  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo
    May 25, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Hey Nat, helpful tips and great photos of "Ecuador" ... :)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    I drank a lot of Tomate de Arbol-juice when I was in Ecuador, but unfortunately I never tried cuy. I have to do that next time!

  • malianrob's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    Hi Nat, Imbabura is my favorite place in Ecuador. I love the counrtyside.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    I like your tips on local food especially. Haha, I am not sure if guinea pig is available anywhere in Poland. My dream is to drive from Alaska (the Arctic Ocean) to Tierra del Fuego :-)! I should save to buy used fwd car in the USA to do it.

  • MikeAtSea's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2009 at 7:36 AM

    Awesome!! The Pan Americana - one of my biggest travel dreams!! Stunning page! Michael

  • ligaya's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2008 at 6:51 AM

    magnificent. thanks a lot. great page.

  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    I loved the tomate de arbol all through Ecuador, and the aji they made from it. I slathered it on everything. mmmmm.

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2008 at 11:02 AM

    Bob, the fried cuy looks interesting. Also, I like the photos of the street vendors. Best from New Jersey, Bill

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Dec 27, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    I'm glad to see that you ate the petite pigs. Wouldn't be a successful trip to the country without that experience.


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