I’d like to share with you our short experience in Quito. We arrived very f. late at night, with a bus from the hawt amazon. We went straight to bed at Hostelito, similar to Cusco in a dorm with double beds (13$). The night we arrived it was the big night of the Fiesta de Quito, which is always at the beginning of December. There was music on the street, party buses in all of the city.
The next day we went first thing to the Jardín Botanico, which was a 20 min walk away. Miguel, our guide in Cuyabeno had recommended the Vivero, where we could see the Anacondas which we had not seen yet in the wild. The botanical garden and vivero are in a big city park that features different educational places like these. There’s also plenty of sportive activities that can be enjoyed here or pedalo rides on the little artificial lake.
After visiting the snakes we walked down the Avenida Amazonas all the way through El Mariscal (Party zone) to the old center of Quito. On the way we found a food market and many people enjoying lunch (I think they came from church). We mingled between the locals and had ourselves some traditional food and enjoyed this festive sunday atmosphere. Then we continued our way. El Mariscal did not impress us much, since it was the middle of the day the bars were closed and we experienced more of a shopping area. The café’s and resturants here become more fancy as well as the hotels (Hilton etc.). Around the corner of avenida amazonas we found the artesanal market: booth after booth of the best souvenirs in Ecuador, chocolate, textiles, jewllery and more. I found some silver earrings for myself here.
Then on we went through another park, got lost, found our way again and finally arrived in the old center. Here the architecture is still colonial and many churches everywhere. We visited a the main plaza, where we had our first hot chocolate with cheese… Say what? Yes, luckily the cheese on the side though (at 7campesinos). Not bad actually, don’t judge. We strolled around a bit more between the very busy streets (sunday and Quito’s anniversary). Our last stop was the cathedral where we went up to the towers and enjoyed a spectacular view over the city. Next to the cathedral the party busses were waiting and people were eating, drinking and dancing before hopping on the bus. We on the other hand started our walk back to our hostel.
At dinner time we made our best discovery in Quito: Top Ten Burger, a fast food restaurant, where you can assemble your own burger and have unlimited fries and drinks. Heaven! Plus they have 4 veggie alternatives.
Quito is also a good spot to do a day tour to Cotopaxi, the most active volcano (last eruption 2015) in Ecuador. To get there you can join a tour or do it by yourself. If you decide to go on your own, you’ll have to go to Quitumbe bus terminal which is veeery much south of the city, means by car 20-30min drive to get there. Then a bus with destination Ambato, where you tell the helper you want to get out at Cotopaxi entrance. They will drop you off basically on the highway but just go up to the bridge and cross it to the other side. There are guides waiting to take you on a tour through the national park. The visit includes a stop at Laguna Limpiopungo and of course the volcano. The cars can drive quite a piece up the volcano. Then it’s all about walking. Since it’s on high altitude (above 4500m) you’ll walk pretty slow. The first point is the refuge at 4800m, a proper house where you can have a soup, hot chocolate or coca tea. From there you can decide to continue to the start of the glacier, which is another 25min. Of course the views are spectacular! Also, on the way to and from the volcano there’s wild horses, foxes and wolfs which you might spot 🙂
All in all we enjoyed Quito even though it was a short stay. The worst I think was the way to the bus terminals, but once we figured out the metrobus it went easier and much cheaper. Quito was again at 3000m altitude but a very dynamic and modern city, worth a visit.