Quito was one of the first cities to be named a UNESCO world heritage site, with its fabulous “Old Town or Historic Center” being bestowed that title. Quito itself is situated in the Andes mountains, and it is long and skinny, only 5 kilometers wide (3.1 miles for us in Los Estados Unidos who don’t use the metric system), but very, very long. It’s traffic pretty much blows during rush hours, just like being home in LA. The government subsidizes gas, so it’s less than a dollar a gallon, they also subsidize the bus system, at 25 cents a ride, being able to do so because of the money generated for the government by the oil production in the country. The economist in me shakes my head, as they do have a limited supply of oil that is estimated to end in a fairly short timeframe. But the economist needs to go away since I’m on vacation!!
I love the Old Town with its splendid mix of Spanish, Spanish Gothic, Classical Moorish, and indigenous elements on each building.
The Presidents headquarters, has little shops underneath that used to be horse stables, had a nice tea and pastry.
As it’s a predominately Catholic country, there are a lot of beautiful churches
But as is usually the case, there are indigenous elements worked in, such as these tortoises incorporated into the building
I found the cutest little street, called La Ronda, seems that it used to be a very dangerous dilapidated area, but the City has worked hard and cleaned it up, turning it into a sort of artists area (again), as well as good restaurants, galleries and cute little stores.
It sits at the bottom of raised street, so it seems like you’ve stepped back in time in some way.
La Ronda is right next to a museum, that has a great view of the El Panicillo, with its La Virgin of Quito, she has wings
Of the New Town, La Mariscal is the place, tons of bars and restaurants, hostels and tour companies. Some great restaurants too. Also known as gringo city 😉
This comida tipico (typical Equadorian food), some fried plantains, 2 kinds of empañadas, fried pork, chiccharon, avocado, corn, and llapingachos mashed potato/ cheese hockey puck was all pretty delicious, and two meals worth!
Probably the only bummer is walking after dark is not at all encouraged due to muggings, but taxis are cheap and plentiful.