The San Antonio de Ibarra woodcarving experience
Whether you are looking for a calm, charming place to spend the day near the city of Ibarra or are in search of some gorgeous wooden decorations and furniture for your home, San Antonio de Ibarra is the village for you to visit.
Having spent most summers as a kid visiting my grandparents at their hacienda in Ibarra, I have had the opportunity to visit some of the most charming and traditional places in the city and its surroundings. One of these places is San Antonio de Ibarra.
How to get there
If you are planning on enjoying a day trip from Quito, then a visit to the province of Imbabura is one of my suggestions.
First, you can find some great options of places to stay in Quito. Nest step is to plan your transportation options.
If you do want to visit several places, it is best to have a car. Or, since the town is located near the city of Ibarra, you may want to spend a night in this calm, cozy city. Here are some great options of places to stay in Ibarra.
Just a short drive from the city center, you find the sign showing the road to San Antonio. If you do not have a car, a taxi will get you there for a decent fare.
San Antonio de Ibarra
The city center is quaint and small, and as you stroll along the main square, you will feel the peace surrounding this village of artists.
The best way to explore the village is by foot and walk inside some of the more than 15 wood carving galleries and workshops. Once there, you realize why this village is often referred to as the “wood carving capital of Ecuador, as stepping into one of the shops will fill you with awe on the myriad of motives and decorations made with wood to be found.
Is it possible to create such delicate and gorgeously decorated items in wood? The options are plenty as well, and creativity here is combined with practicality.
I, of course, included a visit to San Antonio de Ibarra in the itinerary I planned for my in-laws together with my grandma and parents when they visited Ecuador.
Luis Potosí workshop and gallery
A mandatory visit if you are in San Antonio is to visit Luís Potosí’s workshop and gallery. There you will admire some lovely works by this artist that include delicate decorations with Inca-inspired themes, religious imagery, and many other artifacts that make for incredible decorations to your home.
For us, it was a great place to get some leaf-shaped bowls, and as a gift from grandma, we got a lovely flower wood decoration for our living room.
It is pretty impressive to witness how this village has preserved this tradition for hundreds of years. The artisans in San Antonio de Ibarra work sculpting with murals, religious imagery, statues, and modern art items.
The town offers its visitors a wonderful experience for all senses. Its shops showcase magnificent wood artifacts and also offer some gorgeous vistas over the city of Ibarra.
You can always book a car to take you to Ibarra and ask the driver to make a stop in San Antonio de Ibarra, usually for a small extra fee.
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If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands. This is an excellent source of information and tips, maps, and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. I like the option of having a hard copy version where I can take notes and have them at hand.
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