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Ecuador travel north Andes Carchi & Imbabura

Jewels of the North

Imbabura is a tourist symbol of Ecuador, its human element is its handcrafts and magnificent landscapes of mountains and lakes, called the Suiza of Ecuador, make the province an obligatory destiny. The province of Carchi is traditionally farm then tourist, but is now an integrated to tourism, not only as a path to and from Colombia, from which resources are generated, as well as for its attractive nature and culture. The view from the Paramo del Angel, is one of the surprising and majestic, and infamous.

Furthermore its geography, these provinces are characterized for their particularly interesting ethnic and cultural aspects. The most common race are Otavalos, hard working and proud Indigenes creator of marvellous handcrafts and other products, like wool and cotton clothing, rugs, musical instruments, ornaments, etc. Their common wardrobes are simple and beautiful. No one can afford to miss the festival in Otavalo on Saturdays, Festival of Colour and Music. There are other ethnic races with different distinct wardrobes that are beautiful; in the valley of Chota you will find black o afro-Ecuadorians population equally proud of their ancestry, who conserves their old customs. Music and traditional dancing, with bottles over their heads, is not a miss between the Andean black populations, as well as in the coast, Esmeralda’s.

Bio-Geographic Aspects:

Carchi and Imbabura vary a lot geographically. They possess glaciers, to humid tropical jungles, going through landscapes, cloudy jungles, placid Andean valleys, and deep dry valleys. The majority of its landscapes are humid, with a singular botanical and zoological richness, like the mountain range in the east, as in the west. There are few landscapes unexplored like the Puruhanta, where the Mountain Moose or Great Beast (Tapirus pinchaque) and Spectacled Bear can be seen. The most spectacular landscapes are probably from El Angel y Guandera in the eastern side. They are characterised by their vegetal formation of frailejones, plants with daisy flowers with strange appearance of furry palms, which reach 2 to 3 meters tall, which extend throughout the landscaped all where can see, something not worth missing.

Andean valleys


Are fundamentally agricultural, many landscapes like Andean valleys in the north contain many ponds and lakes. One of the most spectacular is the Laguna de Cuichocha, formed in a volcanic carter with two internal islands. In Carchi, you can still find small surpluses of Andean forests in inner slopes of the central valley. The dry Andean valleys are very interesting, like the valley of Chota. To these deep valleys surrounded by mountains, are difficultly reached by clouds. With its plants, like acacias o algarrobas y other spiny plants, one would think that they are in the African savannahs, waiting for a lion’s roar. Without this happening, one would enjoy the bird watching, easy to find in the dry forest, like the Hiuracchuro, with a black and yellow colour and the very reddish Petirrojo.


In Cuendina, Carchi there have found palaeontology remains from the end of the last Ice Age, more than 12000 years ago, including petrified bones from mastodons, packs that used to wonder the cold Andean valleys back in the era, and were hunted down by the habitants of the pre-ceramic cultures.

The cloudy jungles to each side of the mountainsides are particularly good representation f these provinces. In the western opening you can find the ecological reserve, Cotacachi-Cayapas, and in the east, in the north zone of the ecological reserve Cayambe-Coca.

Towards the western zones below Carchi and Imbabura you can find humid tropical jungle like Choco, one of the most important and bio diverse in the world. In this section exists the Bi-national Reserve Awà, managed by the indigenes Awà of Colombia and Ecuador. In Imbaburara you can find in its lower zone, Ecological Reserve Cotacachi-Cayapas.

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