Imbabura is a strato volcano located 40 miles (65 km) north of Quito. There are two main summits on Imbabura. The higher peak (100 m/328 ft) is reached by traversing a knife edge crater rim from the north summit of the normal route.
The peaks of Imbabura were once glaciated, and used to serve as an important ice source for the nearby villages. People would climb high onto the mountain to get ice from the glacier and carry it back to sell at the markets in the villages of Otavalo and Ibarra. Today the village of Otavalo is still famous for its large market, although it is now largely a craft market selling items such as vibrant textiles, wood carvings, and the Panama hats (which actually originated in Ecuador).


Traversing the Crater RimImbabura's steep slopes make it a good acclimatization climb for those preparing for Ecuador’s famous high altitude volcanoes.
Highlights include hiking through tall grass páramo and rocky outcroppings followed by lush vegetation higher on the mountain.
Imbabura overlooks San Pablo Lake, Ecuador’s largest natural lake. On a clear day you have a beautiful views of the northern part of the so-called "Avenue of the Volcanoes", including Cayambe, Antisana, Ilinizas, Volcan Chiles and Cumbal located in Colombia.


Day 1View from the Top

  • Pick up at Quito at around 7:30
  • Travel for 2 hours to Hostel Casa de Aida at the base of the peak
  • Visit the Otavalo Market or Cuicocha lake on the way
  • Lunch in Otavalo or Cuicocha

Day 2

  • Early start for the 6-7 hours hike
  • Box lunch
  • Two hours drive to Quito
  • Descend to the vehicle
  • Back at Quito by 19:00

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Also see our Interactive Map.



Imbabura - Highlights

The Imbabura Trekking Excursion offers you the following highlights:

      • Volcano near Quito.
      • A good second acclimatization hike.  
      • A non-frequently visited trekking peak.  
      • Excellent views of the northern Avenue of the Volcanoes Cayambe, Antisana, Chiles and Cumbal (in Colombia).
      • All year round trekking.

Imbabura - Logistics

Duration: 2 days

Access: Drive in and drive out

Seasons: All year round

Pre-requisites: Acceptable physical condition

Equipment: Trekking Excursions Gear List
Please download the Pdf


Difficulty Level:



Imbabura - Suggested Combinations

We suggest the following itinerary, including the Imbabura hike and a Climbing Excursion.
1. Pasochoa
4.200 m / 13,800 ft
2. Imbabura
4.630 m / 15,190 ft
3. Cayambe
5.800 m / 18,900 ft

Trekking Excursions

Andeanface can develop a tailor made itinerary that will give you the opportunity of making the most out of your time, budget and specific interests. We offer the following Trekking Excursions; please contact us ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for more information, suggestions, and prices about hiking in Ecuador: 
Guagua Pichincha