Things to do in
Imbabura Province

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Our most recommended things to do in Imbabura Province

Otavalo and Imbabura Sightseeing Tour from Quito

1. Otavalo and Imbabura Sightseeing Tour from Quito

Depart Quito and journey towards the Guayllabamba valley to see the Quitsato Sundial in La Mitad Del Mundo, built to share the astronomical knowledge of the pre-Hispanic cultures of the region. Pass over the line of the equator and continue towards the largest indigenous market in South America. Shop for souvenir textiles and traditional crafts at the Mercado de Ponchos, where the locals sell tagua nut jewelry, fake shrunken heads, hand-painted trays, spices, spools of wool and other interesting items under mushroom-shaped umbrellas. Get back to nature at the Peguche waterfall, popular with the locals who go there to take a sacred bath on the eve of Inti Raymi. Continue towards the caldera lake of Cuicocha in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve (excluding holidays) and get stunning views of the Cotacachi Volcano before driving back to Quito.

From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

2. From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Quito and discover the ease and beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside. Depart from Quito through the Pan-American North Highway via Cayambe. Passengers will have the opportunity to taste the delicious Bizcochos de Cayambe, a type of cracker or bread baked in a clay oven, greatly paired with local cheese or caramel sauce. Afterwards, make a brief stop at Miralago to admire a wonderful view of Lago San Pablo. The tour then continues to Otavalo where Otavaleños (natives) set up a market in which a bartering manner of shopping is taken place. The market hosts a variety of different handcrafted items. You may choose between staying in this area and enjoying more time at the market (a bus will pick you up at the end of the tour*), or you can continue the tour to visit Cotacachi and Cuicocha. If you continue the tour, journey to the town of Cotacachi, recognized for its leather clothing and crafts. On the way to Cotacachi, visit an Andean instrument workshop, "Ñanda Mañachi", located in the area of Peguche, to spend some special moments with the local people and understand the Andean culture. In Cotacachi you have enough time to visit the village and leather goods shops, as well as free time for lunch (not included). Later, visit the Ecological Reserve where the Cuicocha lagoon is located, inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano. This originated after a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. And if the weather permits, it will be possible to make a walk by the lagoon with the chance to sail in the crater of the volcano in small boats (at an additional cost). *Bus will wait for 10 minutes in Otavalo to pick you up if you have chosen to stay there, and after that will return to Quito and your respective hotel or starting point.

Otavalo: Small Group Market Tour from Quito

3. Otavalo: Small Group Market Tour from Quito

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Quito, and then journey by private vehicle towards the lively indigenous bazaar of Otavalo Market. Make brief stops at the village of Guayabamba and get an amazing view of San Pablo Lake and the surrounding landscape. Try some of the local biscochos (cookies) typical of the region along the way. Visit a weaving workshop in Peguche to learn about the handmade artisanal products and clothes typical of the region. Get back on the road to arrive at Otavalo Market and join the locals who come to sell their wares at the most spectacular market in Latin America. Buy unique souvenirs or just watch the hustle and bustle of the market vendors. Stop for lunch in the village of Cotacachi before making your way to the beautiful crater lake of Cuicocha at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. Return to Quito at the end of a day full of activities and get dropped off at your hotel.

Otavalo: Private Tour from Quito

4. Otavalo: Private Tour from Quito

Otavalo is a gorgeous and enchanted town. You can embark upon a complete tour for which you can customize your itinerary but the program below is the most recommended. It is also possible to make a stop at a rose farm and get an explanation of the growing process. Otavalo city is Ecuador's most representative city in the Highlands due to its amazing handicraft work, beautiful lakes, falls, delicious gastronomy and very kind and polite people. Itinerary  8:00 AM: Pickup at hotel in Quito and start driving to Otavalo10:00 AM: Coffee or chocolate and local biscochos at Lago San Pablo11:00 AM: Visit to the Condor park including a bird show with Eagles and Hawks12:30 PM: Visit to Otavalo’s market and have local lunch2:30 PM: Visit to Cotacachi’s leather town or Peguche waterfall4:00 PM: Drive back to Quito Note: All hours are approximate, except for the starting time.

From Quito: Otavalo Indian Market and Rose Farm Shared Tour

5. From Quito: Otavalo Indian Market and Rose Farm Shared Tour

Depart from the meeting point in Quito and head towards the colorful town of Otavalo and the most famous Indian fair in South America. During the drive, get unforgettable views of peoples and communities, while conducting their activities and daily life. Stop at a rose plantation to learn all about the fifth main industry of Ecuador. Experience every step about the process of growing, harvesting, and exporting roses to all over the world. During your visit, admire and photograph the beautiful valleys and snow-capped mountains that are surrounding this worldwide-known region. Then, go to the viewpoint of the Laguna San Pablo, at the foothills of Imbabura volcano. Afterward, you'll arrive at the Otavalo Indian market or “Plaza de Ponchos” showing varied handmade indigenous crafts all through the main streets of the town. After lunch, explore Cotacachi village, rich in the production of fine leather garments, which are displayed and sold in small shops along the center of the city. Finish off with a drive uphill towards Cuicocha Lake, located inside the crater of Cotacachi volcano (16,200 feet), before traveling back to Quito in the evening.

From Quito: Otaval, the Plaza de Ponchos Market, & Cotacachi

6. From Quito: Otaval, the Plaza de Ponchos Market, & Cotacachi

Discover a wide array of local crafts on this day trip from Quito to the vibrant Plaza de Ponchos market in the city of Otavalo. Visit a fabric gallery at Casa Condor, an Andean Music House, and travel to Cotacachi to look for leather goods. Be picked up by your local guide at your accommodation in Quito. Relax on a scenic drive through the Guayllabamba countryside and stop to savor a custardy chirimoya fruit. Continue to the Andean highland city of Otavalo.  Head to the Plaza de Ponchos market where local crafts from northern Ecuador are sold. Peruse the colorful shops before continuing to the Casa Condor gallery for a demonstration on the traditional preparation and coloring of wool. Delight your ears at the Andean Music House where a musician will show you how Andean instruments are used in local performances. Drive to the charming town of Cotacachi to check out some fine leather products that the area is well-known for. Have the chance to stop to purchase a local lunch before returning to your accommodation in Quito.

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What people are saying about Imbabura Province

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 45 reviews

Even the establishment of contact was exemplary. We were informed in good time and in detail, even a pick-up at the hotel was made possible. The guide was always safe and focused. We stopped at the agreed points and explained a lot. There was even a small tasting. The equator is not the museum building mentioned in many travel guides, but rather the point at which French researchers measured it in the 18th century. Relatively unspectacular. We went on to the crater lake. Also quite a "normal lake". Again the guide explained a lot of things worth knowing and also stories about the origins. The highlight of the market in Otavalo. Manageable from my point of view. Lots of booths, but their offerings were very similar. My personal conclusion: when you consider the long journey…. could be canceled on a tight schedule

Super organized tour, Otavalo is definitely worth a visit, but the stops at the monument, the waterfall, the hardware store, etc. make the tour special and definitely more exciting than just taking the bus from Quito to the market in Otavalo drive.

Our guide Dani and driver Hector were very pleasant, knowledgeable and fun. We had an amazing day thanks to these two gems!!! Thanks so much guys- we will always remember Ecuador in a special way because of you!!

Our guide, Daniel, was very knowledgeable and professional. We saw some beautiful places n learned a lot about volcanoes. The shopping bazaar was exactly what we were looking for. A great value for a full day.

Andrea was amazing! A great trip and a great guide.