Quito and the whole experience of Ecuador are the reasons why I initially panned this whole trip. Since being a little child the once in my life I wanted to experience the amazon rainforest and Ecuador’s biodiversity has always fascinated me.
So let’s get back to Quito.
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and second highest capital in the world. It lies about 25km south of the equator in the centre of Ecuador, in the Andes mountains at the foot of Pichincha.
Reading beforehand that Quito has 40km in length, we only really realised how big it really is when it took us 45 mins from the bus station to the city centre on a straight and empty road.
In the Centre lies the colonial old city. In the South you find the industrial and residential area. In the North lies the modern area with shipping centres, financial district and high rise buildings.
Easiest way to get around Quito is the MetrobusQ network. A network of fast busses run all the way from the south to the north that cost only 25 centimentos one way. A metro system is under construction and should be opening in 2019.
With our hostel located in the centre-north part of Quito it was easy to get to places. 10 minutes on the bus away we visited the old city centre. First destination for us was the independence square or locally known as Plaza Grande with the Catedral Metropolotana de Quito and other colonial buildings flanking it.
Around the plaza and in all parts of the old town are many Cafés, little restaurants, shops and Churches/Cathedrals. Right next to it we found ourselves walking into the cultural centre. It’s located at one of the squares corners and hosts a range of arts exhibitions, a Café, a public library and a rooftop from where you have a great view over parts of the city. It’s a very bright and warm building from the inside, with pretty stairwells and a well looked after courtyard.
A twenty minute walk straight up north of the plaza lies the Basílica del Voto Nacional, which we visited. This Roman Catholic Church lies up a little hill watching over the city. We have in fact not visited the church itself rather bought tickets for the tower, which you only reach walking on top of the nave along a narrow path to the actual tower. From there it’s a iron staircase that will take you to the top of the tower from where you can oversee the whole of Quito. It’s a far and amazing view that reveals another face of Quito.
Another way to get a greater view over Quito is to take the TelefériQo in the western centre up to the upper slopes of the Ruku Pichincha, an active volcano. The cable car takes you up to around 2,5 miles altitude. From there you can follow many hike trails to different view points, one of which will take you up to the summit of Pichincha.
Our hostel was close to Plaza Foch in the Mariscal Sucre district. The square and lanes around are filled with restaurants, bars and clubs of all kind and busy every day of the week and stroke us as a great place to meet people and have a drink.
Quito is the heart of Ecuador’s gay life, a Country that is otherwise very reserved and conservative.
Read about some LGBT History in Quito and our experience here.
Quito is definitely a city to visit to experience history and a modern metropolis.
All photo credits belong to Nadine Kremer