Ecuador // The northern sierra //


Buses to La Esperanza (every 20min, 30min trip; last bus 7.30pm) leave Ibarra from the Parque Grijalva, a few blocks south of the obelisk. Tell the driver you want a hotel, otherwise you’ll be taken to the end of the village about fifteen minutes away. Casa Aída (t 06/2660221; $11–15) is the best, with a restaurant, simple and pleasant rooms, a two-floor thatched cabin, and clean, shared bathrooms and hot showers. Another option is to stay at the nearby indigenous village of SAN CLEMENTE, which runs its own community ecotourism project, called Pukyu Pamba (t 09/9161095, w; $22 or $35 per person per day depending on comfort of the house, including three meals and activities, except for horse rides $10 and trips using 4WD vehicles $15). Visitors can stay with families, learn about embroidery, hear local musicians and join in dances, go on hikes or a four-day trek to Nueva América, horseriding with local guides, learn Quichua and generally get to know about the community. Buses leave from the same Parque Grijalva in Ibarra about every two hours (40min).

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