Quito - Things to do?

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Quito - Things to do?

Postby AdamfromCanada » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:27 pm

We'll be heading to the Galapagos on March 24th, and looks like we'll have a day or two in Quito. Anyone have any can't-miss things from that city or the surrounding area?

Also, is the crime as bad as reported? I've heard the same of many cities, but never had an issue in Nairobi or Cape Town or Bangkok...but then, I've always been fairly alert. I assume that if you're paying attention, and not by yourself, you make a hard target.
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby JaliscoJudy » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:44 pm

Check out Buenaventura Cloud Forest reserve. You can do a day trip there that includes breakfast. A guided hike, lunch, some time on your own and transportation to and from.

There's also a condor reserve near Otavalo that's worth checking out.

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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby TravelFun » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:16 pm

I really enjoyed the old city and loved the architecture and it's quaintness. Also a day trip to Cotopaxi was a must-do for me...here's a previous post to this question which will give you some ideas:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=15144&hilit=+quito

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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby elsewhere » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:18 pm

Hi Adam,

I just got back from a trip to the Galapagos and Yasuni National Park (in the ecuadorian amazon). It was amazing! I went to the Galapagos on Gap and went to Yasuni National Park through a different company (manatee amazon explorer) I thought both companies did a great job and highly recommend them both.

Quito was a much better experience than I expected. I also heard that it is dangerous but I found it no more dangerous than any large metropolitan city. Be alert. Don't walk down empty streets. Stay in the crowded parts of town. You'll be fine.

La Mariscal and Plaza Fochs in la Mariscal is the center for nightlife and "gringolandia" you will have no problem finding cheap alcohol, friendly travelers, and a good meal there.

While I was there I thought things were quite cheap compared to US prices. The biggest bargain I found was in the alpaca goods. I bought 2 blankets there from local markets. I found out later that the blankets cost 4-5 times the price you pay if you bought them in the states ;) If you are out there and want to buy stuff to bring home, go to the market in Otovalo where you can purchase directly from the indigenous and the quality is excellent. Everything is in US dollars by the way. They standardized on the US currency several years ago.

Bottom line is Quito is safe and fun as long as you don't stand out as a stupid gringo ;)
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby zebracruiser » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:39 am

The locals really warned me about crime in Quito, but even as a solo traveller I didn't have any problems. Otavalo is a great day trip. Also recommend La Mariscal in Quito.
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby markmol » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:45 am

also check out the equator, it is only 10 miles from the centre of Quito, Gap can organize a car & guide to take you from your hotel, there is a little centre there that shows you how the people lived in the olden days, the guide then takes you to the old part of Quito & tells you of the history.
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby mettekirstine » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:42 am

Hi, I'm also booked on the Quito / Galapagos Cruise with day 1 March 24 :-)
'Comfort Galapagos - 10 Day, g4, Southern Islands - EV10MA'

Anyone else on this cruise?

I am SO looking forward to it :-)
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby espenlok » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:51 pm

AdamfromCanada wrote:We'll be heading to the Galapagos on March 24th, and looks like we'll have a day or two in Quito. Anyone have any can't-miss things from that city or the surrounding area?

Also, is the crime as bad as reported? I've heard the same of many cities, but never had an issue in Nairobi or Cape Town or Bangkok...but then, I've always been fairly alert. I assume that if you're paying attention, and not by yourself, you make a hard target.


Hi Adam!

Thanks for your reply in the Nairobi thread.

I actually visited Ecuador and Quito last year. If you're only going to Galapagos, you'll actually miss a beautiful country. The G Full Ecuador tour which I did was just amazing, and probably my best holiday ever. However, of course the Galapagos part of the trip was the absolute highlight of the trip.

I see that you already got some answers. I can join in with my opinions. First day, you should probably not put in too much in your schedule. It is quite high altitude there, so nice to acclimatize a little. I took the trolley bus (25 c or so) from the hotel area to old town. Really beautiful city! Two nice view points, from El Panecillo (La Virgen de Quito) (take a taxi up there because of safety issues) and even better views from the Basilica del Voto Nacional. I more or less followed the walking tour in LP when I was there, which take you to most of the best sights. For even better views, take the TelefiriQuo. Quite pricey, but an impressive height up there. Choose a day with few clouds, though. I think mornings are the best.

Second day I took the Cotopaxi biking trip. I just booked the tour from the company's office close to the hotel, but you can also book it from G. I think G use Flying Dutchman for their tours, which was also the company I used. Quite nice tour!

What I regret I was not able to do was to take a trip to Bellavista or Mindo cloud forests. Seemed like a great place to go. However, I didn't do the trip, so not sure how is the best way do to it. People from my Ecuador trip that did go to Mindo, organized a private tour, but I got the impression that it was also possible to find a join-in tour.

Also; if you're for a Saturday, you have the possibility to go to Otavalo market. Even I, that generally hate everything called shopping, found it quite entertaining to visit that place. We stayed overnight in Otavalo (quite impressive that when we went to bed, there were no market to see, and when we woke up next morning, there were a huge market there). However, it should be possible to go there in a day-trip. I think it was 2 or 3 hours with the bus. Particularly nice is it that it is generally a market for the locals. The touristsvisiting the market is just a small percentage of the visitors.

Regarding Equator mentioned by someone else in this thread, I didn't go to that place (however, our tour took us to another less commercial Equator crossing point, close to Cayambe). Our G guide in the trip (which was extremely good, by the way), told us that he actually worked in that place some years ago, and he claimed that some of the tricks are fake. However, probaly a nice place to go anyway, if not for any other reason that to be able to say that you have put your foot to Equator. You can also go to this place by local bus and save some money compared to buying a trip (explained in LP). My friends that visited this Equator center also bought a trip (in a ticket boot in the center) to a volcano crater. They really recommended that tour, because they got a great guide, and the place was beautiful.

When it comes to safety in Quito, I actually felt quite safe. We were told Ecuador was among the safest countries in South America. However, someone actually tried to rob me when I crossed a little sqare close to the basilica. They used some stinky liquid that the tried to put over me, and then someone else came over and offered me to bring me to his place to clean it up. Obviously, I rejected his nice offer.
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Re: Quito - Things to do?

Postby zebracruiser » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:36 pm

Just my personal opinion - skip the tour to the equator - very commercial. LOVED the informal stop at the equator near Cayambe mentioned above - would stick to that if you're on your way to Otavalo.
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