Imbabura Province


There’s a bus service from the Carcelen Bus Terminal to the Quito Airport. Blue city buses continually travel between the two points. Service stops at 8:00 pm. Cost us around $2.00 August of 2016.

Carcelen Bus Terminal to Quito Airport




Vitamin C Drips: At various shopping malls in Cuenca, vitamin drips are offered at stores dedicated to that purpose. Comfortable white recliner chairs were lined up in a clean room in the back where a nurse administered the drips. In fact we took advantage of that service several times. Well, we finally found where we can receive vitamin C drips here. At the vitamin store Punto Natural (believe it’s on the top floor) in the Leguna Mall. (This is a chain vitamin store with one also being in the Supermaxi Plaza which does not offer the vitamin drips)  –03/2017


Coconut Oil is being sold at the Coco kiosk. The place that sells delicious coconut ice cream and coconut shakes, as well as, bottled coconut water — in front of the Santa Maria grocery store in the Leguna Mall.     –03/2017


If you ever see Helados de Crema (ice-cream made with cream) try it. In the Caranqui area of Ibarra there are ice cream shops lined up advertising nothing but. The one spot we go to is supposed to be the best and the ice cream is just 50 cents. The coconut has coconut flakes thru & thru — it was delicious. Unfortunately, there is no address–it’s just on the outside of a plaza in a purple building on Atahualpa. Knock if it seems closed. They sell a lot of pan de leche in that barrio as well, which is suppose to be quite good there–according to an American friend. 01/2017



  • New gluten free pastas–quinoa, chia, rice, corn, corn spaghetti.
  • This too is certainly nothing new, however, if one hasn’t yet tried the Smoked Salami from the deli–if you like salami or pepperoni–you’re missing out. There are two kinds, so get the right one–it’s called Salami Ahumado–the one that is not in the paper wrapping. They do a good job — tastes awesome, smells awesome. Get the salami stick weighed. The whole stick cost around $8-10. 
  • Ghee (not new)
  • Almond/Coconut drinks by unrefrigerated soy milks –03/2017
  • English Muffins by yogurts (not new) 
  • Coconut Milk in a carton for $1.19. Near the yogurts. –03/2017
  • Coconut Oil –03/2017 (small jars above the avocado oils)
  • Dairy, Soy & Gluten Free “Cafe” Yogurt (with the other vegan yogurts –03/2017
  • Buffalo Wing Sauce by Spezia –03/2017
  • Raw Sugar–actually, they have always carried this–Azucar Morena Sin Sulfitar Raw Sugar
  • Noticed Dairy, Soy & Gluten Free Almond Yogurt –10/2015
  • Chia Yogurt — 10/2016
  • Eel Sauce for Sushi by Spezia– 10/2016
  • Olive Tapenade is not gone, it’s just moved to where the bottled sauces are instead of the canned olives section.
  • The following items have probably been on the shelves but I am just trying these out now. Crab Pate (good), Salmon Pate, Canned Smoked Mussels. These are sitting by the canned salmon and smoked tuna. (some these have moved –03/2017
  • Smoked pork chops are by the meats. Aleo Vera Drink is in the produce section. –posted 10/2016
  • Organic Cocoa Powder with Ginger, by Pacari (chocolate organic en polio con jengibre, sin azucar.  Hershey’s Cocoa powder is back as well. –10/2016
  • Smoked canned tuna –09/2016
  • The large black olives in the deli case are WONDERFUL! – 07/2016
  • Coconut yogurt free of dairy, soy & gluten – 07/2016
  • Sesame oil – 06/2016
  • New line of spices, plus sea salt 05/2016
  • Burt’s Bees products are at the health store next to Todo Hogar and in Fybeca –01/2016
  • Borax – 01/2016
  • Aji Chipotle — 11/2015
  • Nuez Moscada (Nutmeg by Natures’s Heart) 11/2015
  • Amaretto Essence (Almond Extract is usually there) — 11/2015
  • New Mexican Chili Powder — 9/2015
  • Dried Whole Chilis — 9/2015
  • Arborio rice (for risotto) — 8/2015
  • Grits (Morocho Fino) –(thanks to Sheila & Melinda)
  • Polenta –(thanks to Sheila & Jennifer from Otavalo & someone anonymous)
  • Rice, Soy, & Almond Milk (also at Gran Aki at times)
  • Smoked Salt (bottom shelf with the spices)
  • Imitation Crab (freezer section)


Molasses (Miel de caña)

Also in Tia –04/2017 


Poultier is a high gluten flour. Found in several places. It performs beautifully when making pizza doughs, bagels, and breads. One place to find  it is at: Zenonvillacis y Juana Atavalipa (Walking up Juana Atavalipa from the mercado, on the right corner at Zenonvillacis, the flour is sold at a tienda). Or next to the new location of the spice shop (below), the place is called Abastos Yepez.

Sal en Grano is another salt of choice for us, as it is all natural and very easy to find here in Ecuador, but you must grind it yourself. That salt is found around the mercados and is usually 10 cents per pound.

The booth selling spices in the Cotacachi mercado has sal en grano already bagged, but they’re selling those pound bags for 50 cents. A bit more expensive. You should only pay 10 cents. Same in Cuenca. Again, you must grind it yourself, much like the Himalayan salt.

Big Donut in Ibarra


Big Donut — Now also in Cotacatchi

Miss the American style donuts? Miss Krispy Kreme donuts? Well look no further than Ibarra. There are two places actually. One is at 7-58 Bolivar in El Centro for take-out only, and the other is somewhere close by with table and chairs. They have chocolate eclairs, cake donuts, jam filled donuts, caramel filled donuts, etc., and they are delicious, as in Krispy Kreme delicious — no joke! Thank you Ben for this wonderful find! –October 2015


Intag Farm Products in Ibarra

Products from Intag

Ibarra’s Natural Artisans Market:

On the 1st & 3rd Fridays of each month in Parque Moncayo there is an organic market.  And on the 2nd & 4th Fridays at Plaza de Aguila/Plazoleta Francisco Calderón–there is an organic and non-organic market. And, each Wednesday the non-organic market is there. You can find things like honey, bee pollen, coffee, artisan breads, turmeric, chia seeds, smoked meats, phenomenal  cheeses, salsas and much more. A British man and his wife who live in Intag helped get this all started.  –Updated September 2016 (Thank you Brendan)

Phenomenal Cheeses and Smoked Meats

Phenomenal Cheeses and Smoked Meats

On Weds. and Saturday mornings, a large farmers market emerges right next to the bus terminal, where local farmers set up. The produce is fresher and much of it is grown with less chemicals, some organically–our red lettuce guy and our basil lady insist that all their produce is organic. The prices are better and other items can be found there, such as homemade butter, professionally packaged dark chocolate, freshly roasted coffee, honey, and sometimes fresh cream. It starts early and Saturday’s are quite busy, and a better day to go. There’s even music at times. We have also found a bread very similar to Mexican sopapillas  — delicious. 


Herencias Artesanias, 1-41 Antonio Cordero. Near the Amazones Market, around the corner from our spice shop–below. A neat shop for clay baking/cooking pots, baskets of all kinds, wooden utensils, all kinds of stuff. There are a bunch of baskets out in front.


Mi Tio, a small grocery store across from the bus terminal, but heading toward the Amazones Market. We’ve been coming here for a while, buying our Snow Mints or Chao mints, as well as our almonds by the pound (which we now get from a spice shop). But then we started noticing how many tienda owners come here to stock the shelves of their little stores. So then we began to look at other items, such as flour, some spices, oil, etc. — good prices. This store also carries odd flavors of essences, like mint, rum, and pineapple, for instance. They take cash only.

Raspberry Marmalade

Raspberry Marmalade

Update: They have banana essence again, and chocolate essence now. They also have Raspberry Marmalada.




PC Tools, Juan Jose Flores y Av. Mariano Acosta 15-95. They fixed our Epson printer and had it running beautifully the same day. The guy knew what he was doing; he was honest and the price was fair.


Hong Kong Market, (CLOSED – posted 6/2016) Fray Vacas Galindo y Mariano Acosta  (Across from the Grand Aki). For imported Chinese goods, etc, such as good egg roll wraps (large and small), good wasabi, great chili oil, Hoisin sauce, an awesome imported hot chili salsa with peanuts, sushi wraps, etc. etc. We bought a very large (commercial) steel wok for $12.00 (I love it), they also have a commercial one with a single long handle for around $27.00. Although, they do sell small woks for home use for around $12.00 also. Nice little store and Carlos (the owner) speaks English. Tel: 062604546. He opens up at 10:00 am. 

Update: Unfortunately, because of the restricted import laws, he is low on certain items now. But has supplamented his income by opening up a Chinese restaurant:  Chifa Tao-Tao, Av. El Rotorno y Rio Blanco Esquina, Los Ceibos


Spice shop

Spice Shop

Nut & Spice Shop: (January 2016) They moved across the street to a larger location, same street as the deli below. Now you can walk around inside the shop. Across from 1-26 Juan Francisco Cevallos y Obispo Ceasar Mosquera. This is where we buy our spices by weight. (Some items may not be listed on their sign). They sell nuts and seeds by the pound. You can find dates, cloves, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pistachio, and pumpkin seeds. And they sell large bags of baking soda and also sell bee pollen & honey. 



ADDRESS: At 1-26 Juan Francisco Cevallos y Obispo Ceasar Mosquera
is where we like to buy our milk at times, because they carry a brand that is only pasteurized, but professionally packaged the same as all the rest. (They do sell the ultra-pasteurized stuff as well). We also buy a Kilo (2.2 lbs.) of butter for $6.00. Their peanuts by the pound are a little fresher and a good price- $2.00. Also…

  • Fresher Cream: They sell thick cream in clear unmarked plastic bags (a liter or less). They claim it is unpasteurized. Many times it has a consistency like sour cream–thick. Cream like this can also be bought in Cotacachi.
    And, their homemade sausages are absolutely delicious. An Ecuadorian friend from Guayaquil loves them so much that whenever she visits, she stocks up and takes a bunch of those particular sausages back home with her via a bus.  –Someone makes the sausages according to their specks, that is why some are prepackaged.
  • Update 9/2015: They have a cheese filled sausage also, plus smoked bacon. –Thanks Brenden, from Otavalo!
  • A side note for those who love peanut butter: I read about a couple who decided not to move to Ecuador. One of their big deciding factors was how expensive peanut butter is in this country. And two of our friends who love it, do not buy it for the same reason. The Schullo brand – 490 g jar – sells at Supermaxi for around $6.00, (update 11/2015: over $9.00 now) however, if you own a Champion Juicer, for instance, you can easily make your own, and just about fill up that 490 g jar for $2.00.(the price has even gone down to $1.50 at times). We make our own, ending up with the best peanut butter. Fred now eats it more than me, and he never ate peanut butter in the past. For the same price, this deli has homemade peanut butter as well, but it is pretty dry, so oil needs to be added.


Mora SyrupMora Syrup
In Ibarra, they make a Mora (Blackberry) Syrup that is delicious. Near Parque Pedro Moncayo and Plaza de Aguila, there is a government building that literally looks like a large castle. In front of that building vendors are lined up selling the various syrups and more. Several shops in that part of downtown sell them as well. PS: No preservatives.


IMBAVET Clinica Veterinaria

Juan de la Roca 2-84 y Dario Egas Grijalva Esq. (Pilanqui)Tel: (06) 2606 517 Cell: 0999 815 466. They also do dog grooming. The Vet speaks some English, however, his wife speaks it very well. Good caring vet.





El Vecino Helados, Coffee, & Beer — Right in front of the park, opposite side of the church. Besides lots of different ice cream flavors, they also have dairy free ice creams including chocolate. Reminds us of the Chocolate Italian Ices from New Jersey. –04/2017



Panaderia Pasteleria Chocolatte way down on General  Enrique, two blocks past the principal park, on the left just one door down from Rocket Food. This is a very small bakery serving some cookies and pastry with, you guest it, chocolate. For one, the baker has been to the States. And, after popping in here a couple of times, I came to notice that he has Italian style cookies — cookies with a chocolate fudge center, jam filled centers and cookie sandwiches coated with chocolate. He’s given me little somethings to taste, and one sample was a small delicious light and airy donut looking pastry — plain or with icing on top. Anyway, a few of his delectables are slightly distinct from the usual. We’ve also tried his whole wheat rolls. They were on the heartier side yet soft — soft enough for a quinoa burger. — 11/18/2015  (Side note: He bakes on the premises, he’s always wearing a bakers cap when I see him, and his baked goods on the counter are usually covered with a heavy plastic for protection).

Italian style cookies

From Panaderia Chocolatte



boemios, Ecuador

A delicious chocolate cake they call a Boemio

If one hasn’t tried a Boemio, as I was told these balls of moist chocolate cake are called, they are a must. I love um. And apparently, some are made with rum?, so someone said — doesn’t matter, they’re good. El Mejor Panaderia which has since changed their name to: Tu Sabor Cake Shop                 in Atuntaqui just up from the principal park on General Enriquez, makes them the best–in my opinion.  

Cheese Farm

Queso de Montana Yanayacu



Queso de Montana Yanayacu, Santa Fe 5 C.C. – Finca Yanayacu, Atuntaqui
For real and out-of-this-world Swiss style cheeses, and raw milk from Jersey cows.
Contact number: Patricia Hidrobo 0991920487 (she speaks English). You absolutely must call first for an appointment.
A cheese-maker from Switzerland stayed there for 6 months and taught the family how to make Swiss style cheeses. After he studied what the cows were eating, he then said, ‘okay, these are the cheeses you can make…….’ Well, their cheeses are quite excellent. Also, the Ecuadorians love this very soft cheese called Fresca, so the family asked the cheese-maker if they could craft that cheese as well. His response was: “that’s not cheese!”. We agree. However, in the end, he did come up with a formula for a nice Fresca cheese, better then any you’ll find in the grocery stores or markets.

We’ve taken a several groups to this farm and their cheeses are a hit with everyone!




Two important resources ‘The List” Newsletter and Cota Notas Newsletter which come out each week via email.


Recently we got to try out some of the gluten free breads, and the various gluten free crackers made in Cotacachi. Not to mention, the gluten free chocolate cake made at the bake shop next to Cafe Rio Intag. You’d never think that cake was gluten free! Next door, on Thursdays mornings at the small mercado there, some gluten free breads can be bought. And, just steps away at a shop called Prana, are excellent gluten free sandwich breads and excellent gluten free crackers. Buy their delicious hummus to spread on top! Order ahead. –06/2017 


Big Donut in Ibarra

This BigDonut is in Ibarra.

BigDonut is now in Cotacachi as well! On Leather Street going down to San Francisco Park, one block before the park on the right side. 03/2017


Organic Market next to bus terminal on Sundays from around 6am to 10am. We like this market and go each Sunday, but the earlier the better.


Natural soaps! Including laundry and dishwasher soaps. –See Sarah at the the artisian market in Cotacachi Thursday mornings at 11:00.


Supermercado 10 de Agosto

On Leather Street — Well, we’ve been to this little supermarket about 3 years ago, but nothing in particular caught our eye then. Perhaps my memory is failing me, but this time around there seemed to be more stuff — imported items from the US. I now have a better sauce for my buffalo wings! She had many of the familiar items including coconut oils, Velveeta Cheese, maple syrup, huge containers of spices, canned goods, etc. She told me to just let her know if I need something in particular and she’ll try to get it — who knows? –October 2015.

She recently pointed out to me the large bag  of  coconut flour that she carries–September 2016.


Coo Coo’s Nest One of my favorites happens to be a York Peppermint Patty. Well, I got my fix, as the Coo Coo’s Nest had homemade peppermint patties, and they were awesome. Not to mention, they have homemade ice cream, pies, muffins, quiches, etc., etc. Good quiche, fyi, and the chocolate pecan pie was a gigantic piece of heaven!

Artisian Market at the Solid Rock Plaza every Thursday morning. Actually, there are 3 markets now. Starting around 9am, as follows:
— Across from San Francisco Park
— The Solid Rock Plaza
— Parque Matriz

Those phenomenal cheeses that I spoke of above, in Ibarra’s artesian market, are also here Thursdays, as well as organic produce, homemade sauces, Himalayan Salt and Sea salt, and much more.

A garage sale at the Coo Coo’s Nest/Solid Rock Plaza every 2nd Sunday.  –Around 9ish.

L&S Artisan Meats:   L&S ARTISAN MEATS

Thanks to this year’s annual chili cook off, my husband and I now know where we can get hormone and antibiotic free chickens, sausages, bacon, and other speciality meats! Just tried the chipotle chicken sausage — awesome! Living in Atuntaqui, we have been a little out of the loop since moving from Cuenca and remodeling our apartment here — no longer! We like everything from them thus far — good smoked ham hocks!

Kokopelman Seed Sanctuary

Sitting on several acres, this little piece of paradise sells not only organic vegetables, but, as their name suggests, various seeds are also available for those with a green thumb. We bought some plants — lavender and a stevia plant. In their restaurant there are various natural products for sale, also — from skin care products, essential oils, teas, to organic extra virgin coconut oil, etc., not to mention, exquisite pottery crafted by a local artist. A menu of the day is prepared by a German chef, serving delightful vegan breakfasts or vegan lunches.

Creaciones Gilmar (Leather Goods for J.W.)
Esmeraldas 12-22 y 9 de Octubre (Esmeraldas is off of “Leather” Street)
A family in Cotacachi makes leather bible covers, and lots of stuff for the ministry. Heard they sell to two companies in the States, but you can’t beat the prices here. This place is in a residential area, so knock. And as we understand, there may be one other establishment in Cotacachi that sells items very similar.


fincaFinca Organica, Mostly every Thursday at about 2:00 pm this farm sells organic fruits and vegetables just outside Cotacachi. English speaking. Get on their email list for what will be available each week. They carry the not-so-typical items too — like a red pineapple at times.






Dr. Jakob Nieben, General Medicine and Surgeon, 8-16 Bolivar y Abdon Calderon, Tel. 0992472778. Office hours 9-6 with a lunch from 1-3 and possibly Saturday mornings.

I don’t really like posting doctor recommendations, however, I did appreciate it when he was recommended to us years ago. He is a German doctor and charges $15.00 for a visit. For the longest time he was charging only $8.00, but since obtaining new equipment he felt the need to raise his price. He does speak excellent English, Spanish, and of course, German.


Organic Market

Saturdays 10am to 2pm.  In the patio of the vegetarian cafe Oraibi at Sucre y Colon.