Quito: what to do there

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Quito: what to do there

Postby graybeard » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:58 pm

I'm considering a Galapagos trip next year and in researching it looks like USA flights to Quito all arrive in the early/late evening. Therefore, arriving the day prior and booking an extra hotel day at the (overpriced) arrival hotel (Hotel Quito) seems to make sense.

The question: any suggestions for a day activity on the first full day in Quito before the GAP meeting that evening? Yes, I did look at some the the "extra" activity add-ons offered by GAP, but they were all priced for two folks and I am traveling solo.
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby TravelFun » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:41 pm

Ahhh Quito...a very cool city with its contrasts between old and new. This is what I did and really enjoyed whilst in Quito:

In Quito: The Old City is the historical centre with small quaint streets with many churches each with its own unique architecture/character such as...El Sagrario, La Compania, La Concepcion to name a few and a must is the Basilica, I loved the structure of the many gargoyles and stained glass windows. Head off to Cerro Panecillo where there is a statue to the Virgen de Quito. A must-go short excursion by bus is to Mitad del Mundo, the location of the equatorial line...one place where you can have foot in each hemisphere! Real cool. I did all these and would highly recommend them.

I also took a day trip from Quito (using a local agent) to Cotopaxi and did a 3hr trek to the refuge...you will need to check the weather conditions beforehand.


Plus some safety tips:

There are safety rules...some what you would do at home and some for Quito only:

1. In the evening/dark always take a taxi no matter how short the distance (within reason)
2. Stick to busy streets - in the evening not far from my hotel there would be groups of men just loitering and drinking on the corners of the streets (not everywhere so don't worry)
3. Don't carry too much on you and pickpocketing is a concern in the touristy areas
4. One thing to stick to: if you visit the monument Virgen de Quito on the hill Cerro Panecillo then do not walk up the hill but take a taxi from the Old City and the taxi driver will wait for you and then take you back down. Do negotiate the rate beforehand although taxis are cheap.


Just be aware of your surroundings and you'll have a great time.

Happy Travels!
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby JaliscoJudy » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:24 pm

I like the day trip to Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve -- especially if you like birds. For me, seeing the plate-billed mountain toucan and all the amazing hummingbirds was worth the trip! (Here's a link with photos of the toucan: http://www.nfss.org/Birds/Species/Softb ... -Bill.html) It's an early morning trip, but you really get a good day's aventure with breakfast, lunch and a 4-hour guided hike to check out the forest. You can book through GAP or save a few dollars if you book direct with Bellavista. (I think BV picks you up earlier, which I thought was a good thing.) Their driver, Johnny, is really good; he didn't scare me once, which is truly amazing for an Ecuadorian driver.

In Quito, I like the old city, San Francisco plaza, crafts shopping near the intersection of Juan Mera and Jorge Washington streets, all walkable from the 25 cent trolley that you can also walk to from Hotel Quito at the other end. Other walking destinations from HQ include the famous artist Guayasamin's former home, now gallery and museum (not super close but walkable -- expect to hike a big hill), a little anthropology museum on La Nina, and another small but interesting museum above the Olga Fisch gallery (up less of a hill). Cabs are readily available too and not super expensive.
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby graybeard » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:25 pm

Thanks folks. Good intel.
Now to sort the ideas out and make a decision.
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby maryamal » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:15 am

I was in Quito solo last January. Personally, I would skip the mitad del mundo, but it's a matter of what you prefer. I definitely recommend the craft market on Jorge Washington. I found Hotel Quito to be a bit remote and preferred to stay in town, making walking to sights much more accessible. Also did a day trip to Otavalo - less commercial stop at the equator on this trip as well as beautiful views along the way. GAP (or anyone else I'm sure) will price a trip for you solo, or will try to have you join others if possible. Of course, you pay for going alone. Might want to see if anyone else on your trip would like to plan activities with you to save costs. I had no issues in Quito but the locals heavily warned about increasing crime and not going out alone at night. Enjoy!
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby jaycw » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:29 am

Otavalo was one of my favorite places in Ecuador, plus you have the largest outdoor market in south america there which is really fun even for non shoppers like me ;)
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby Nautitalk » Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:18 am

I normally don't flog restaurants as there are lots of food guides to do that but I found the view from the Cafe Mosaico as a must see in Quito. Its on a hill overlooking downtown and has a great terrace with folding doors that they open up on warm nights, to get a better view of the city. As for the food, the vegetarian lasagna, Moussaka with a side soup included was way too much food. The club sandwich was great to. If you don't take the lift ride, sight seeiing ride up the hill which is in another part of the town, than this is the next best. I wanted to try the lift ride, but usually the tops of the mountains were in the clouds.

Go for the view and watch the city light up.
Warning, non of the taxi drivers know where it is and go to the wrong side of Itchimbia. If down town, go up Julio Castro and turn right at the top of the hill.
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby graybeard » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:50 am

More good info. TX
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Re: Quito: what to do there

Postby mich510 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:58 am

Go to Cotopaxi! It is easy and cheap (about $35 for the whole day) to book a trip that takes you on a hike up to the glacier part of the Volcano. I forget the company I used but if you just google Cotopaxi day tours you should be able to find some companies no problem...don't pay over $50 though...unecessary.

If you do want to climb, make sure you take some time to get used to the altitude first. If this is your first day at high elevation...you might want to skip on Cotopaxi.

Enjoy!
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