Discover the Appealing "White City" of Ibarra
A colonial town with small cobbled streets just 45 miles away from Quito, Ibarra is the capital of the Imbabura province. Ibarra is situated between the Imbabura Volcano and the Tahuando River and has quite a peaceful environment. The weather is generally pleasant, making it the ideal spot for someone looking to 'get away from it all'.
Ibarra was founded in 1606 by the Spanish who built many beautiful churches and other public buildings, giving the city its distinct Spanish style. Many of the original buildings were destroyed in the 1868 earthquake, but the character of the place was by no means lost. The two plazas – Parque Pedro Moncayo and Parque Victor Manual Peñaherrera – are still as gracious as ever and they provide the perfect place to spend an evening cooling down. Most of the houses are built in colonial whitewashed style, which has resulted in Ibarra being dubbed 'The White City'. As you make your way around the cobbled streets you will find some architecturally interesting buildings. The Santo Domingo church is popular as it houses an art museum, while the San Agustin and the Basilica de La Dolorosa are beautiful to behold.
Every Saturday is market day and this is the best time to go shopping. Brightly colored stores displaying the wares of locals can be an enjoyable experience and a great place to find a bargain. 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 Pregón Virgen del Carmen are both colorful events with parades and festivities. They are held on July 16th. If you are not shopping or are visiting when there are no festivities, you might try the local restaurants that specialize in indigenous food, as well as the clubs and discos. If you're looking to try a new sport you could try paragliding or the local sport of 'paddleball'.
Ibarra is a wonderful place to spend a holiday and it is already popular with tourists. Noticeably, the place has not been overridden with foreigners and still maintains a distinct Ecuadorian feel. The streets are wide and the plazas create an open feel that further helps a person to relax and enjoy their time spent here. If you do not feel inclined to spending your holiday here then it would be wise to at least make 'The White City' a part of your stay in Ecuador.