This picturesque village is set against the sloping flanks of Volcán Imbabura (4609m), 7km south of Ibarra. The village is a respite for the road weary as well as the best spot to climb Imbabura. To climb the peak, start early in the morning and follow the escalating ridge 2000m to the summit, 8km southwest. The last stretch is a scramble over loose rock.
The smooth Panamericana snakes north from Ibarra, offering plenty of pavement to spandex-clad cyclists, who pound up this punishing route on weekends. Entering the Río Chota valley at 1565m, the road drops sharply. Round, dry hills covered with cacti surround a lush green valley floor fed by the chocolatey river.