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   ANDES ...
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The province of Imbabura is located in the central western basin of Chota between Boliche towards the north and Mojanda-Cajas towards the south.  The province exhibits beautiful rolling hills and fertile valleys such as Ibarra, Otavalo, Atuntaqui y Cotacachi. 

Chota can be found located at an altitude of 1,535 metres and Juncal at 1,646 metres.  Ibarra is situated on a wide plain at an altitude of 2,228 metres. 

The most important foothills of the province along the cordillera are Lanchas, Cayapas, Toisan and Intag and the mountains of Quisoya.  The central cordillera is called Pimampiro y de Cofanes.


There are several rivers running through the province.  From east to northeast runs the River Chota, whose origin is called Chamachan, the current increases as it is replenished by other rivers descending from Huaca and others with lighter currents to form the Ambi, which joins Chota near the village of Mira.  The River Ambi runs into the pacific ocean. 

Towards the northeast, in the Transandean region, runs the River Lita.  Towards the east flow rivers Due and Condue which join up in Aguarico, a tributary in Napo. 

Last Updated 10th August 2006 (DLW)

San Pablo (Imbacocha)

This lake occupies an extensive area on the outskirts of the hills and the elevations of Cusin and Mojanda. The lake is situated at an altitude of 2,600 metres , at three kilometres from the town of Otavalo . This is the province’s largest lake. It measures some 3,950 metres east to west and 2,650 metres north to south and reaches depths of up to 48 metres in the centre. The water’s temperature is an average of 8 degrees centigrade. San Pablo is a beautiful lake which attracts visitors from all over.

Cuicocha (lago de los cuyes)
This lake is situated in the southern part of the Cotacachi hill at an altitude of 3,068 metres . The lake occupies the interior of an old crater. There are two small islands in the middle of the lake, which is replenished by the water flowing from the peaks of Cotacachi. Lake Cuicocha measures 2,300 metres wide and 3,200 metres in length. The Panamerican highway towards the north leads to the lake by taking an asphalted side road extending 18 km which crosses the town of Cotacachi , a town celebrated for its leather goods.

Yaguarcocha (lago de sangre)
Situated only three km away, this is the closest lake to Ibarra, near to the Panamerican highway. The lake measures 1,700 metres in long and an equal distance in width, although it used to be much bigger covering the entire sector of Tahuando in the colonial era.

Lagunas de Mojanda (Mojanda Lagoons)
There are three main lagoons: Caricocha also known as Laguna Grande ( Grand Lake ), Huarmi-cocha or Laguna Negra ( Black Lake ) and Chiriyacu or Laguna Chiquita ( Baby Lake ). The three lagoons are linked by paramo paths and sheltered by two mountains, the Fuya-Fuya towards the west and Yanahurco towards the east of Lake Caricocha , which is the biggest of the three.

Mount Imbabura

Mount Imbabura reaches an altitude of 4,630 metres situated almost in the centre of the Chota basin. It is not snow-covered but its cone dominated the region. Mount Imbabura is of volcanic origin and has been studied widely by geologists who have concluded that there are eruptive cones in at its summit (Asaya, Cubilche and Cunru).

Mount Cotacachi

This is the province’s only snow-capped mountain. It reaches an altitude of 4,937 metres and belongs to the Ecuadorian volcanic group. On its southern slopes is the Cuicocha crater, which filled with water, hence creating the lake of the same name.

Mount Cusin-Urco
Also known as San Pablo-Urco this mountain is situated on the province’s border, surrounded by three volcanoes: El Mojanda, el Imbabura and el Cayambe, all of which are larger. The main feature of this volcano is its eruptive cone, Muyurco ( 3.226 metres ) which elevates towards the south west and is principally formed of lava.


The urban population has been increasing at a rate of around 3.6 per cent. This rapid increase is not, however, taking place at the same rate of economic development or improvement in living standards. With regards to the rural sector, many inhabitants have abandoned the region due to poor economic conditions and employment opportunities.

A current problem is the lack of housing available. The average number of people inhabiting a room stands at between three and five. Urban growth is mainly concentrated in the town of Ibarra .

The majority of the population consists of indigenous working in the manufacturing of artisan goods or agriculture.


The temperature varies according to the regions of the province, but averages between 13°C and 18°C all year round. The valley of Chota is the hottest sector, with the town of Ibarra the second warmest. The coldest areas are Otavalo and Cotacachi.

Last Updated 10th August 2006 (DLW)

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