The Imbabura Province around Ibarra, the White City, is an area I hope to explore more deeply. We have visited for the famous Cacería del Zorro, a horse race named for the English practice of hunting foxes with a unique twist all its own. We have watched the grand parade that takes place along the city streets of Ibarra on the morning of the race. This single event is a great way to get to know the culture of Ibarra because it shows the blending of cultures that so define the area. There are grand horses and riders, in European-style riding gear, and small ponies mounted by chagras, local cowboys. The parade includes the youngest citizens, often toddlers sitting on the saddles in front of their parents, and the oldest, proudly smiling while astride their lovely horses. Everyone wears their finest gear, whether it is the latest polo shirt of their club, the traje típico of their native culture, or fine dresses and long coats of old.
On these visits, we have walked around the city center eating helado de paila, an ice cream dish sometimes compared to American sherbert. We have explored the church, the central plaza, and some of the smaller shops dotting the center of town.
I have a wish list of places and events I still want to see like the Paseo del Chagra which takes place in May every year. The small community of Zuleta is famous for its embroidery and the road to take us there lies just outside Ibarra. There are high mountain lakes, hiking trails galore, and a hacienda or two that just beg for our attention. If you have a favorite place in Ibarra that you would like us to see, please let us know in the comments below!
We know these photos barely scratch the surface of this beautiful province.
Click on any photo to open a slideshow with further descriptions of each photo.
More Articles about the Imbabura Province, Ibarra
If you would like to read more about the Imbabura Province, near Ibarra, check out these articles:
Ecuador Por Mis Ojos
Recently, the Instituto Geografico Militar of Ecuador and I released a book of photography, Ecuador Por Mis Ojos. This post shares photos from that book.
If you would like to see other photos from the book, please check out:
I have a love affair with the Tandayapa Valley. It was the first place we visited after moving to Quito, Ecuador. It was a magical experience, leaving the big city, driving through the dry and dusty valley of Mitad del Mundo, and then winding through mountains thickly covered with cloud forest. The high mountain slopes are a stunning dark green with an occasional bright spot of purple flowers growing on a vine or the flashing silver of the leaves on a cecropia tree.
The Imbabura Province is best known by tourists for the market town of Otavalo. Visit on a Saturday to visit two completely different style markets. One is the Feria de Animales where farmers come to buy and sell animals. Locals can buy everything from a well-trained horse to an edible guinea pig, from a fighting rooster to a cuddly puppy, and everything and anything needed for the farm. The second is the market that takes over the city streets of Otavalo. It is part tourist market with vendors selling local blankets, instruments, and artwork. And it is part practical, with vendors selling shoes and clothes for school kids, underwear and socks for all, chains of golden beads, embroidered blouses, and long black skirts, all worn by local women.
The Wild Horses of Cotopaxi are one of the best reasons to visit this national park just outside of Quito, Ecuador.
The History of the Wild Horses of Cotopaxi
Before the arrival of horses to South America, native tribes walked everywhere and used pack animals like llamas and alpacas to carry heavy loads. Horses arrived with Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s, precipitating a change in culture. Part of that change included the creation of large haciendas which covered huge expanses of land. The land supported large herds of cattle which grazed on mountain pastures for most of the year. The haciendas needed horses to herd and corral these heads of cattle.
On the days of November 1 and 2 throughout the Ecuadorian Sierra, families and friends will gather to celebrate Día de los Difuntos or the Day of the Deceased. Although the celebration is reminiscent of the Day of the Dead festivities found in Mexican and Mexican-American communities, it has a flavor all its own.
The Cañar Province of Ecuador is most famous for the Cañari-Incan Ruins of Ingapirca. They are the best preserved Incan ruins in Ecuador. These ruins originated with local people, the Cañari, and the Inca built on top of them during their short occupation in Southern Ecuador.
Few visitors know that other ruins are dotted across the Cañar Province and that a tourist could spend several days exploring the area.
When we visited Puerto Chino, we weren’t sure what to expect. I imagined a small port and evidence of a long-gone fishing village, probably founded by the Chinese. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Hike Puerto Chino
Heaven knows why I didn’t read up on Puerto Chino before we went. There was an unexpected hike, for which we came unprepared. The trail is in the full sun. Water is a necessity for this trail, especially in hot weather.
But the trail is great for seeing birds like Galapagos Finches, Mockingbirds, and Yellow Warblers. And the hot sun encourages Lava Lizards to sun on rocks directly along the trail.Read More
The Yanacocha Reserve is a real treasure of the Pichincha province and deserves to be recognized on its own.
I have probably visited the Yanacocha Reserve more than any other place in and around Quito. Part of me just loved the drive – a graveled road in fair shape that meanders through high altitude farmland and provides views of the Andes, chain after mountain chain. And part of me just wanted to walk the path through this high altitude cloud forest to see the small hummingbird garden about an hours hike in. Every visit was an escape from big city life.
The Interpretation Center on the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos is much more than rooms full of maps and photos. In fact, although the exhibits are worth seeing, we recommend spending much more time walking the trails.
The day of the annual Cacería del Zorro horse race is guaranteed to be action packed from morning until night. The excitement begins with a parade down city streets, continues on to the race track at Yahuarcocha, a high altitude lake nestled into the base of the volcano, Imbabura, and ends with parties in bars and clubs all over town.Read More