Ecuador 3: Ibarra, El Angel Eco Reserve and Gruta de la Paz

Ibarra is known to most overlanders passing through Ecuador to Colombia due to Finca Sommerwind- a convenient stopover to explore the area.

Als Overländer in Südamerika ist nichts schöner als ein Campingplatz, der sauber ist, alle Waschmöglichkeiten bietet, hausgebackenes Brot, wochenends Kaffee und Kuchen sowie die Möglichkeit, hierhin Ersatzteile zu verschiffen oder gar den Wagen stehen zu lassen zwecks eines Heimaturlaubes. Bei Hans und Patrizia fehlt es an nichts, und es ist wie ein zweites zu Hause.

Once settled in at Finca Sommerwind, which is situated next to Lago Yahuarcocha (in Quechua lingo meaning Blood Lake), and close to the autodrome, we started cleaning vehicles and clothing, then visited the old town centre of Ibarra – not as spectacular and as elaborate as others, but still worth a short visit.

On the outskirts and overlooking the lake, the statue of arcangel Miguel, the patron of Ibarra was next on our list.

To escape the weekend noise of the pending motor race at the autodrome, we decided with Bernd and Marion to explore the area and take a drive via the town of Mira ( where we come across a grand parade of honking trucks from a race) into the El Angel Eco Reserve to see the Frailejones (Mönchsgewächse) that can withstand the cold of the Paramo weather due to their hairy leaf structure.

We proceeded to camp in an area where the old Polylepis trees grow ( 15mm per year and up to 1500years old) that get rid of parasites etc by shedding their bark in a paperlike fashion. Again, due to the altitude, the night was cold, but we found an excellent spot to camp wild.

Our return journey took us past the Gruta de la Paz, a church in a grotto and pools of healing waters in the river that runs from the grotto. Many people visit this holy place on Sundays and partake in the mass celebrated inside.

The road to and from the grottos is narrow and some reversing manoeuvres were required when busses tried to pass us.

This post covers to 5th September 2016.

Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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