Ibarra is the capital of Imbabura Province and only two hours northeast of Quito. North of Ibarra, particularly the Chota Valley and the area around the town of Salinas, is one of the hotspots of afro-ecuadorian culture, and its dances, music, arts and traditions add a huge portion of colour and rhythm to the cultural diversity of the Northern Sierra. With several museums, handicrafts workshops, art exhibitions, music and dancing groups, there are many ways how to learn more about afro-ecuadorian people, their culture and history. The region also offers fascinating protected areas like the El Ángel Ecological Reserve, natural hot springs like the ones in Chachimbiro, organic farms open to visitors, colonial villages like Cahuasqui or Pablo Arenas, and spectacular scenery in general.
There is no better way to see the region than taking a ride on the Liberty Train between the city of Ibarra and the town of Salinas – one of the most beautiful railway sections in Ecuador and the whole of South America.