Blogs from Historical Center, Quito, North, Ecuador, South America


South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 10th 2014

Quito - Day 17 This was our last morning in Banos. We really enjoyed our visit here. The first morning at the hostel we didn't realize that breakfast was included, so we made our own. The next two mornings we were treated to rolls, yogurt, fresh fruit, granola and coffee. The staff here was very friendly and accommodating. We expected to call a taxi this morning, but the hostel manager drove us to the bus station. Today we headed back to Quito. We got to the bus station earlier than we expected, so got the 9:00am bus. The 3.5 hour ride was very reasonable ($3.50 per person), as is all transportation here. We had reservations far north in Quito, so we would be fairly near the Ofelia bus station. Tomorrow we go to Mindo, and this ... read more
Feathered friends

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 1st 2014

We landed in Quito on a Friday night, into the midst of a crazy fiesta rampaging in the square outside our guesthouse - multitudes of people, fireworks, police in numbers, helmets and riot gear, music, dancing and lots of noisy action...... In the San Fransisco square at 9pm it felt very edgy, especially when our host had suggested we not venture too far...... in Quito's old quarter, or Centro Historico as the locals call it... the fiesta, we found out, is just a warm up for an annual festival which dominates early December, leading to foundation day on the 6th; it's a time of bullfights, flamenco dancing, outdoor concerts and non stop bus-top revelling....... Ecuador's capital is a remarkable city in an extraordinary setting. Declared one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978, ... read more
Quito Cathedral
Quito's TelefereQo
After a big night out in Quito

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 26th 2014

Quito - 11/26/2014 - Day 3 We both got a little sunburned yesterday. The sun is high and the air thinner, so more susceptible. Ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed out. Fresh tomato juice and papaya today. For the coffee, they give you a full cup of hot milk/cream. You then add instant coffee, cocoa, and sugar to taste. Today we decided to take the tram up the mountain (Volcan Pichincha). Our plan was to take a shuttle to the base, but because of limited Spanish we ended up on a city bus. But that's part of the adventure. Cheap ride at $.25 each. It wasn't a direct route, we drove through much of Quito before we got there. There are many buses and they are very crowded. Sometimes you see people hanging on the ... read more
View from the tram
Quito Cathedral by night

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 25th 2014

Quito - 11/25/2014 - Day 2 After breakfast, we decided to take in the sites of Quito. It was a drizzly morning, so we grabbed our raincoats and took off for a walking adventure. The city is very hilly, lots of pigeons and dogs! Looking up the hill you can see a large angel statue, looking down you see the tops of red tiled roofs. Many shoe shine stalls, vendors selling their wares under umbrellas, lots of traffic and honking horns. The public transportation here consists of many cabs, buses, and streetcars. We found the businessmen here to be very well dressed, in suits and ties. Passed the Palacio del Gobierno (Governor's Palace). A group of cute little school children in uniforms was taking a a tour. The children here are adorable, dark hair and dark ... read more
View from clock tower
Path to clock tower
Kiddie exercise

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 24th 2014

Quito - 11/24/2014 - Day 1 A long travel day today. Departure time was 6:45am, but we left a half hour or so late because of plane de-icing. Had a four hour layover in Miami. Just hung out at the airport. Decided to take a bus to check out South Beach on the return trip, when we have more time. Checked out a couple of small art exhibits in the terminal, underwater photography and digital art. Plane to Quito left from Concourse H. A little problem finding it, based on a couple of conflicting walking directions within the terminal, and a suggestion to actually go outside the terminal and take a shuttle. Arrived in Quito on time, about 8:30pm. The Quito airport is very modern and efficient. Found a taxi to take us to Quito old ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 20th 2014

We opted to skip the 30+ hour bus ride from Bogota to Quito and splurge on the flight, arriving in the bustling city after dusk. Feeling a little apprehensive after hearing some horror stories in this city, we locked the doors of the taxi as we approached the old town where we’d be staying. Checking into Community Hostel, we immediately realised it would live up to its name – lovely staff, friendly travellers, comfortable living areas and communal meals. A free walking tour is always a good option to orientate you in a new city so that’s exactly what we did. Despite some rain and a few places being closed, we were still introduced to Quito’s basilica (including a terrifying climb to the top that would not pass a single OHS guideline in Australia), main plazas, ... read more
Altar of San Francisco church containing 5 tonnes of gold!
Meeting locals while clubbing in Quito - as usual their English was much better than our Spanish!

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 20th 2014

Quito is a quixotic mixture of Spanish colonial grandeur and third world pollution and poverty. The climate also, swings between sunny intervals and torrential downpours, varied and never dull! It has taken us two days to adjust to the thin air, longer than we hoped. Quito is 2,800 metres (9,350 feet) above sea level. We might have skied from this height before (not sure, maybe not) but certainly we have never lived and slept at such altitude. It has also taken us a while to adjust to the strong smell of cheap petrol fumes, which are so strong, one can taste them. John Sawyer, if you read this, remember the fumes in Moscow? It isn’t quite so bad here, but close! A great pity, because it is a beautiful city in a stunning location, high in ... read more
Outside view of the hostel
Inside, however, a different story!
The National Basilica of Ecuador

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 14th 2014

We will be leaving for Ecuador early November 24, flying through Miami. We have a long layover, so maybe we can see some sights near the airport. We arrive in Quito late in the evening, so we'll go directly to our hotel. We plan to take a long circle trip by bus through the mountains and sea shore. We will spend the first two days in Quito at 9000 feet and spend most of the time in the mountains but part of the time will be at sea level on the Pacific Ocean. If we have time we will go north of Quito to watch birds and butterflies.... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center October 6th 2014

The title of this blog says it all. Unless you are a marathon walker, and daily climb hundreds of stairs and scale small peaks as part of your workout regimen, a walking tour of Quito is not ...repeat..NOT..recommended. My goal, as I have stated often, and perhaps earlier in this blog, but I´m too tired to go back and read and see if I did, is to experience Ecuador from an arm´s reach and eye level perspective. This ideally should involve lots of walking about, seeing the country as it appears to one on the street, not someone in a tour bus or rental car. By the time I got to the Ecuadorian Museum of Culture, I had no interest in taking another step, much less wander about the halls of a museum, studiously reading exhibit ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center October 5th 2014

I finally made it to Quito. The airport in Quito is much like the one in Guayaquil, only its even newer! Unfortunately, though I made it safely to Quito, my luggage did not. Since it was a Sunday, no one was in any of the airline offices, and neither AA or LAN could offer any explanation as to what had happened to my bag. I filed a claim and then sought a way to get to my hotel. Fortunately, the taxi stand was close by, and there is a fixed price for travel to downtown Quito. 45 minutes and 26 dollars later I was delivered to the front door of my hotel, Hostal La Rosario. Not without a little confusion, but the taxi driver was very helpful and actually drove around a bit trying to find ... read more

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