Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is the 2nd highest capital city in the world and has become a common stop for backpackers through South America. Although, some backpackers still seem to miss Ecuador completely off of their travel itinerary but here's why we think you should include it and some important information you should know before visiting this awesome city.
Where to stay
The best area for ‘gringos’ to stay in Quito is the historical centre and lying in the centre of this is Hostel Revolution. This is a clean and comfortable hostel whether you want to relax, meet fellow travellers or explore the area. For us, it was a perfect place to chill out after our epic Galapagos trip.
After nearly 2 years of non-stop travelling, what we appreciate most in a hostel is comfortable beds and these are probably some of the best we’ve come across, making us feel right at home. The price is super competitive with others in the area and with a large and well-equipped kitchen to cook our meals in, it helped keep us well within budget. It is situated in the perfect location and acted as a great base to see what Quito has to offer. The hostel provides extensive details of what to do in and around Quito, including everything you read here in this blog, but if you need anything else then the super friendly owner and volunteers are always happy to help.
Where to eat
As mentioned, you should make use of the best kitchen in South America at Hostel Revolution therefore take the 10 minute walk down Los Rios to reach the Mercado Central to pick up your fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s also a supermarket (Supermaxi) located around a 20 minute walk away however this is more expensive than the market where you can get most things. If cooking isn’t your thing, there are a few nice local breakfast spots around where you can pick up a set meal of bread, eggs, juice and coffee for around $2-3.
As for vegetarian places, there are a few spots located close to the hostel; Govindas (Esmeraldas Oe3-119 y Venezuela), Ari Comida Sana (Sucre Oe-448 y Garcia Moreno) and Kalpa Vriksha (Esmeraldas Oe3-119 y Venezuela). Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to check these places out as we took the opportunity to cook most of our meals but they came highly recommended to us so be sure to let us know if you manage to get there!
Where to shop
For general supplies that you might be missing on the road, you will be able to pick most of it up at the supermarket mentioned above, which you can walk to, take a bus or take a taxi there for $1.50.
For clothes, and another supermarket, there are two large malls located a short bus ride away, El Jardin and Quicentro. We spent a rainy afternoon checking out Quicentro where you will find Adidas, Zara and Tommy Hilfiger as well as a whole host of local brands. Both can be reached by bus or taxi, and details of which can be found in the hostel.
Where to go
The virgin statue (El Panecillo) lies on a hill above the city and to get there you can walk, however it is not recommended unless there is a group of you going. Instead, take a taxi to the top for $3 then sit back and enjoy the view of the city.
Plaza Foch is a central square in the Mariscal district where foreigners and locals alike go to drink and have fun. The square comes alive at nighttime with music and dancing so be sure to check it out but always get a taxi home at night ($3-4).
The equator line is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Quito, which is basically a physical line depicting the separation between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere where you can have fun hopping between the two. Unfortunately it's not that easy to get to by public transport as you will need three 3 buses making a total travel time of around 2 hours. A better way to get here may be to find other travellers at Hostel Revolution and share a taxi for around $14 one way.
As with most places in South America (and the world!) always be careful of your belongings, keep them hidden and don’t let your bags out of sight. Hostel Revolution has a 24hour locked front door and has huge lockers to fit in all your important possessions which really helps with this aspect. It is advised not to walk anywhere after dark, always get a taxi for the sake of a couple of dollars but especially if it's late and you’ve been drinking at Plaza Foch. We’ve always managed to stay safe but we’ve also heard the horror stories from fellow travellers so it's better to be safe than sorry!