Ibarra Tourism

Ibarra - Ecuador, is a canton of the Province of Imbabura in the northern highlands of the country. Discover here the tourist attractions, history, culture, tradition and gastronomy of the so-called white city.

Ibarra, the White City

Ibarra is the capital of the province of Imbabura located in the highlands of Ecuador. San Miguel de Ibarra is the beautiful and captivating, in all of Ecuador it is known as the ‘white city', this is due to the white color of its houses and that begins the tradition of having white facades after the reconstruction of the city in 1872, after having overcome the great earthquake of 1868. They also usually call it: City that always returns, for its beautiful dream landscape that receives the traveler and visitor upon entering the city; also in the background you can see the imposing Taita Imbabura and benefit from the protection of San Miguel Arcángel.  Ibarra enjoys a cozy climate and summery weather.

From the city you can also see the Cotacachi volcano, which after a heavy rain and cold night usually "dawn with its snowy cusp" and the sky completely clear in winter. A show for the eyes of locals and tourists.

The city of Ibarra is a tourist destination, where it is possible to glimpse and enjoy each of its rural and urban parishes, its cuisine and handicrafts such as embroidery, saddlery, wood crafts, mud, and stone made by skilled hands.

Ibarra parishes

How many urban and rural parishes does Ibarra have?

It is conformed 4 urban parishes:

  • San Francisco
  • The Tabernacle
  • Caranqui
  • Alpachaca
  • Priory

And for the 7 rural parishes that are:

  • San Antonio
  • The hope
  • Angochagua
  • Ambuquí
  • Salinas
  • The Carolina
  • Lita

Ibarra Weather

The climate is characteristic of the valleys of the Ecuadorian mountain range between dry-Mediterranean temperate with influences from the arid subtropical highland climate, since Ibarra is in a valley and has an average temperature of 18 ° C, with the lowest record of 13 ° C and the highest of 22 ° C in July. We recommend you to wear clothes for warm weather but take into account the cold at night and not to miss a not so hot coat and especially the sunscreen and repellent.

Ibarra tourist attractions

Ibarra offers you to spend pleasant moments in contact with nature, living the adventure, while also having the change to do religious tourism.

  • Mirador San Miguel Arcángel: Located on the top of a hill east of the city; It has become a traditional place that allows you to appreciate the total extent of the city and the majesty of a landscape surrounded by volcanoes and lagoons. Here is a huge statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, patron of Ibarra.
  • Loma de Guayabillas: It is a hill that can be seen from all over the city and is located near the Tahuando River, is part of the Guayabillas Protective Forest and has the necessary facilities for a family walk or a refreshing walk through the forest.
  • Yuracruz: this high hill allows us to better observe the natural landscapes of the province, from this place it is possible to practice paragliding and appreciate the Yahuarcocha lagoon.
  • Chota Valley: With a large Afro-Ecuadorian population, a tropical climate with a radiant sun that is never lacking, with flora and fauna specific to the area. It offers tourist activities such as rafting on the Chota River. There are also handicrafts (clay masks) and traditional and famous bomb music. This place enjoys a pleasant climate and is the cradle of the best Ecuadorian soccer players.
  • The Cathedral: Located in the heart of the city, is the central diocese, built after the Ibarra earthquake, has several works of the art school of Quito, basic of the Baroque, its altars are made of gold leaf and has 12 chapels.
  • Basilica "La Merced": You can see that its altar is covered with gold leaf; It was built after the great earthquake in Baroque and Renaissance style, and has 9 main and 7 secondary chapels.
  • Episcopal chapel: it was built before the earthquake of 1868, and is located next to the cathedral, it has works of art from the colonial era.
  • San Agustín: located just one street from the Cathedral, shelters art prior to 1868 and was one of the stages of the battle of Ibarra (1823).
  • Church of San Antonio: it is said that Simón Bolívar took refuge inside the Agualongo troops, is located in the parish of San Antonio de Ibarra, 10 minutes from the city, on the outskirts of the urban sector.
  • Yahuarcocha Lagoon: A place where you can go boating or taste a variety of typical dishes such as trout or tilapia in the surrounding area.
  • Basilica of "La Dolorosa": Restored on the ruins of “La Compañía”, another of the temples that did not survive the earthquake of 1868. The Basilica of "La Dolorosa" was razed by the earthquake of 1987. The Basilica is characterized in that it has parts of the old Temple and other sections of the new Temple, after the 1987 earthquake.
  • Mirador Muchanajo Rumi of Angochagua: In the Angochagua parish there is a viewpoint, also hiking is done in order to get to the place and enjoy the magnificent landscapes.

Distance from Ibarra to other cities

  •  Distance from Ibarra to Quito 129 Km
  •  Distance from Ibarra to Guayaquil 611 Km
  •  Distance from Ibarra to Esmeraldas316 Km
  •  Distance from Ibarra to Tulcán  136 Km

Typical food of Ibarra


The culinary offer of Ibarra is unique and is based mainly on traditional sweets and salt snacks; the delicious pan ice cream, the nogadas, also the hard maize pasties, blackberry arrope, Caranqui milk bread and the famous alpargate: consisting of fries, potato tortillas, fried eggs, hard maize, avocado, wind pie and pickles, other typical dishes of Ibarra are the sango de machica, barley rice with watercress, shampoos, morocho empanadas, locro de sambo, humitas.

Festivities and Traditions of Ibarra

The most important festivities of this city are those of Spanish foundation, they are held at the end of September and they bring together a  wide number of activities for almost two weeks, among which the famous “Fox Hunt” celebration that consists of the persecution on horseback of a rider who is designated every year as the fox, this activity and the subsequent celebration takes place on farms located on the outskirts of the city.

In April, the “Festivities of Retiurn” of Ibarra are celebrated, commemorating the return of the ibarreños survivors of the earthquake of August 16, 1868; who were for 4 years in Santa María de la Esperanza. For the locals "The corner of the coconut"; Palm tree survivor of the earthquake, remember the hard work and will of its inhabitants to be reborn triumphant from pain.

Ibarra history

It is said that the reason for the creation of Ibarra was clearly due to the commercial need of the colony, the plan was to be located between Pasto and Quito, and as close as possible to the sea. At that time, commercial trips between the two cities provided Ibarra with a large commercial influx, which is why it was always considered as a town in continuous progress. The productive heyday made Ibarra grow rapidly and its attributes for agriculture achieved the development of the area. The beautiful town of San Miguel de Ibarra was installed in the famous Caranquis Valley, on legitimate grounds of Mrs. Juana Atabalipa, natural granddaughter of the Inca Atahualpa. It is still possible to find ruins of Inca constructions in the city.

The great economic and cultural progress that Ibarra had achieved was interrupted during the early morning of August 16, 1868, a great earthquake devastated the city and the entire province, it is said that it was felt in Esmeraldas, Pichincha, the East and northern Colombia. The city was almost completely destroyed and the tragedy claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people. Those who survived this event moved to the plains of the now Santa María de la Esperanza parish, where they started again and lived for four years. At that time Gabriel García Moreno was commissioned by the President of the Republic to rebuild the city. In the end, on April 28, 1872, the locals returned to the new city from La Esperanza.

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