Altitude: 2,225 meters (7,300 ft) Population: 109,000 Phone Code: 06
Ibarra, Imbabura's provincial capital and the most populated highland city north of Quito, is also known as the "White City," due to its colonial whitewashed buildings (though some visitors find it a bit more lackluster than it sounds). Cobblestone streets and red-tiled roofs add to the historic ambiance. In the past, busloads of travelers came to Ibarra to hop aboard the train which rolled its way down to the coastal town of San Lorenzo; unfortunately, this route is currently under construction (and has been for some time). There is an alternative however, and visitors can now opt to take the train on the beautiful, 30-kilometer (18.6 mi) route to the Afro-Ecuadorian town of Salinas.
Ibarra is a peaceful, pleasant place to spend a day or two, with its pretty plazas, sunny climate, relaxed cafĂ© culture and excellent sweets treats (such as the famous helado de paila, a sorbet-like dessert, which is sold everywhere). It is also a good base from which to explore the surrounding countryside, including nearby Laguna Yahuarcocha and the highland hamlet of La Esperanza, which sits at the foot of Volcan Imbabura.
Neighborhoods in Ibarra: Chota Valley, Around Ibarra, Yacucalle,
Other places nearby Ibarra: Lagunas de Mojanda, Lago San Pablo, Cayambe, Otavalo, Peguche, Salinas Valley, Cahuasqui, Tumbabiro, Oyacachi and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve.