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Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is high up (2,800 metres) in the Andes mountains and the altitude may take some getting used to. The city hosts many wonderful sights including an amazing colonial centre built by the Spanish during colonial times. The old town has several stunning churches that rival those of any other major Latin American or South American city.
The old town is full of colonial buildings and elaborate churches. Take great care, especially after dark, to avoid pickpockets.'La Mariscal' is the backpacker area, full of hotels, restaurants, bars and travel agencies. Many people here speak English. The north of the city is home to the business district, further north is the airport.
Quito is divided into two areas: Old Town (Centro Historico - on the UNESCO World Heritage list) and the New Town, where La Mariscal, a busy, backpacker-friendly area has developed. Things not to miss:
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On the 200 metres high hill of El Panecillo, stand the Virgen de Quito, the statue of the Virgin Mary. Due to its location the statue can be seen from most of Quito. The statue is made out of approximately 7,000 pieces of aluminium, and was made by the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras. He was commissioned to build a 41-metre-high monument of the Madonna, and completed his work in 1976. He based his statue on a statue by Bernado de Legarda, who sculpted his "Virgen de Quito”, a 30 centimetres high sculpture in 1734. The statue was unveiled and inaugurated on the 28th of March 1976 by the Archbishop of Quito.
Quito is known as the 'city of eternal spring' - most of the year, it is t-shirt weather at lunch time, but when it gets dark at 6pm you'll need a fleece or jacket. Quito is at high altitude and temperatures are moderate. It is never hot. Average maximum temperatures are around 18 °C to 20 °C and drop to 10 °C or a little lower at night. Although rainfall is possible in every month, June to August is fairly dry while March and April are the wettest months.
Try to arrive in daylight hours for fantastic views of the Andes as you land. Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) is located north of Quito. Most flights are to and from Latin American cities and the United States, but Iberia serves Madrid and KLM has flights from Amsterdam and Bonaire. LanEcuador has flights to and from Quito, both internationally as well as domestic.
Taxi drivers generally do use their taxi meters, though you may have to 'remind' them. Fares within the city are US$3-4, from the old town to the airport about US$6-8 and from the New Town to the airport US$4-6. Fares are a bit higher after midnight and before dawn. Drivers are usually reliable and helpful, but it's best to arrange a fare before getting into the cab.
You can also get around by renting a Bike at Yellow Bike or Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental.
You name it, and it's available in Quito. Restaurants range from the basic places offering chicken and rice for $1.50 to international food with very expensive prices. The country benefits from all worlds, with a variety of dishes inspired by both coastal and Andean produce. Seafood and fish is fresh and delicious, while meats, particularly pork, are excellent. These combine with typical ingredients such as potatoes, plantains and all sorts of tropical and Andean fruits.
A good area to head to for eating out is the Plaza El Quinde (or Foch) which is in the Mariscal district at Foch y Reina Victoria. There are dozens of restaurants and eateries all around this area. La Floresta, up the hill from the Mariscal around 12 de Octubre, also has many fine restaurants. The La Floresta traffic circle turns into an evening market after 5PM and the most popular dish served is tripa mishqui (grilled beef or pork intestines).
Churrasco is a great Ecuadorian version of a Brazilian dish. Tallarin is a popular noodle dish mixed with chicken or beef. Chinese restaurants are known as "Chifas" and are very abundant. Chaulafan is the local term for fried-rice, a very popular dish. Cebiche (also spelled ceviche) is a very popular dish in which clams or shrimp are marinated in a broth. Worth trying, but look for a well known restaurant with many locals to be sure you are getting fresh seafood.
When buying from lower-priced restaurants or shops, if you only have bills larger than a $5, it's a good idea to get them changed at a bank first.
There are several Ecuadorian brands of beer, but the most prevalent throughout the country is Pilsener.However if you are looking for a better quality beer the "Club" in the green bottle is recommended. There are also some alcoholic drinks which can only be found in Quito like Mistelas, etc.
Multiple options for all budgets exist in 'Mariscal' (the 'New Town'), a neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants and hundreds of other travellers. The Old Town is quieter (almost dead after 9:00pm every evening) and far more characterful, although there is a smaller range of places to stay. For budget options it is always a good idea to ask to see a room first and check if it has hot water etc, before registering and paying for your stay.
Old Town: Hotel Flores. Adress: Flores 355 y sucre. Excellent, clean rooms, helpful staff, safe and quiet premises in an old colonial building. US$15 per night for a double room, ensuite, hot water. No breakfast included. More budget options in Quito include:
|Aleida's Hostal||Andalucia No 559 y Salazar LA FLORESTA||Guesthouse||-|
|Auberge Inn||Avenida Colombia 1138 y Yaguachi||Hostel||-|
|Blue House||Joaquin Pinto E8-24 y Diego de Almagro||Hostel||86|
|Casa Agua Canela||Mercadillo 347 y Versalles||Guesthouse||84|
|Casa Colibri||Juan Manuel Avila 2||Guesthouse||-|
|Casa Grande Apartment||J. Washington & 10 de Agosto||apartment||-|
|Casa Kanela||Juan Rodriguez E8-46 La Mariscal||Guesthouse||85|
|Casapaxi||Navarro 369 y La Gasca Navarro 364 y La Gasca||Guesthouse||81|
|Chaupiwasi||13 de Junio 3245 y Catequilla Pasaje Alberto Herdoiza No. 2||guesthouse||-|
|Chicago Hostel||Los Ríos St. N11-142 Briceño San Blas||Hostel||-|
|Colonial House Quito||Olmedo 432 Vicente León||Hostel||87|
|El Centro del Mundo||Lizardo Garcia E7-26 y Reina Victoria||Guesthouse||-|
|Galapagos Natural Life||Joaquin Pinto 145||Guesthouse||83|
|Hostal Alcala||Luis Cordero 1187 La Mariscal||Hostel||85|
|Hostal Andalucía||Queseras del Medio E11-269 y Andalucía||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Arco del Sol||Juan Rodriguez 736 y Reina Victoria||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Backpackers´ Inn||Juan Rodriguez 245 y Diego de Almagro||Hostel||83|
|Hostal Carrion||Calle Carrion||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal El Arupo||Juan Rodriguez E7-22 Reina Victoria||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Farget||Calle Sta. Prisca y Pasaje Farget 109||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Huauki||Joaquin Pinto E7-82 y Diego de Almagro||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Jardin Del Sol||Calama 166 y Almagro Almagro 420 y Calama||Hostel||-|
|Hostal Jhomana||Gil Ramirez Davalos 151 y Av. Amazonas||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal La Iguana Ferreisen||Azuay E2-270 y Amazonas||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Lexus||calle 18 de Septiembre E4-60||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Margarita 2||Rios n12-118 y Espinoza Elizalde 410 y Rios||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Marsella||Ríos N 12-139 y Espinoza||Guesthouse||82|
|Hostal Tutamanda & Spanish School||Av. Colon 20 88 y Versalles Av Colon 20 88 y Versalles||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostel Revolution||Los Rios N13-11 y Julio Castro, San Blas, Quito||Hostel||94|
|Hostal Sur||Francisco Salazar Tamayo||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Cayman||Calle Juan Rodriguez 270 y Reina Victoria||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Majestic Quito||Mercadillo 366 & Versalles||HOTEL||71|
|Hotel Margarita Inn||Calle Ríos y Elizalde||HOTEL||-|
|Housite Andino Hostel||Leonidas Plaza N24-395 y Luis Cordero||Hostel||-|
|Jumbo Lodging||Esmeraldas E4-86 and Los Ríos st., San Blas.||Hostel||89|
|La Casa Sol Bed & Breakfast||Calama 127 y ave. 6 de Diciembre||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|La Casona de Mario||Andalucia 24115 y Galicia||HOSTEL||84|
|Mia Leticia||Montufar N5-91 y Mejia||Guesthouse||83|
|Hotel Othello||Av. Amazonas N20-20 y 18 de Septiembre||Hotel||-|
|Posada del Maple||Juan Rodriguez E8/49||HOSTEL||84|
|Pululahua Hostal||Calama E7-68 y Diego de Almagro Puluahua Geobotanical Reserve||Guesthouse||-|
|Quito Furnished Apartments||Cordero 1456 y Amazonas PB||apartment||-|
|Real Audiencia||Bolivar 220 y Guayaquil(Oe-318) Quito||Hotel||-|
|San Francisco de Quito||Sucre Oe3-17 y Guayaquil - Historical Downtown||Hotel||-|
|San Jorge Eco-Lodge and Botanical Reserve||Km 4 Via Antiqua Cotocollao-Nono||Hostel||-|
|Sol de Quito||Alemania N30-170 y Vancouver||Hotel||-|
|The Folklore Hotel||Madrid 868 y Pontevedra||Hotel||-|
|The Secret Garden Quito||Calle Antepara E4-60 y Los Rios Sector San Blas||HOSTEL||88|
|Travellers Inn||La Pinta St. E4-435 & Amazonas Ave.||GUESTHOUSE||88|
|Hostal Belmont Plaza||Antepara E3-78 y Vicente León San Blas||Guesthouse||80|
|Amazonas Inn||Joaquin pinto 471 Av. Amazonas E4-324 en la Esquina||Hostel||-|
|Hostal New Bask||Lizardo Garcia E7-56 Reina Victoria||Guesthouse||-|
|Chez Elena Guesthouse||Calle Escudero S1-412 Las Orquideas||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Sunrise||Calama E7-46 y Reina Victoria||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Quito Cultural||Flores N.4-160 Y Chile Old Town - Centro Historico||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Catedral Internacional||Calle Mej�a Oe6-34 entre Benalc�zar y Cuenca||HOTEL||83|
|St. Gallen Haus||Guanguiltagua N37-04 y Diego Noboa Batan Alto||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Guapulo Inti||Avenida de los Conquistadores N26-648 Sector de La Tolita||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Villa Esperanza Homestay Quito||Pontevedra N23-27 y Lerida (Quito - Ecuador)||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Ventana Bed and Breakfast||Via Intervalles km 5 1/2 y Manuel Castro||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|La Guayunga Hostal||Antepara e4-27 y Vicente Leon||HOSTEL||82|
|Hostal del Piamonte||Mariscal Foch E8-58 y Av. 6 de Diciembre||GUESTHOUSE||82|
|Hostal Casa Valladolid||Valladolid E1376 y Pontevedra La Floresta||Guesthouse||-|
|Fontana-Ecuador Apartamentos||Av. Republica del Salvador 1058 y Naciones Unidas||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel Vieja Cuba||La Niña N26-202 y Av. Diegro de Almagro||HOTEL||85|
|Hotel Mediterraneo Quito||Antonio Elizalde E4-78 y av. Gran Colombia||HOTEL||-|
|Embassy Hotel||Presidente Wilson E8-22 y 6 de Diciembre||HOTEL||-|
|Hostal La Posada Colonial||Paredes S1-49 y Rocafuerte||GUESTHOUSE||85|
|Vibes Hostel||Joaquin Pinto 132 and 6 de Diciembre||HOSTEL||87|
|Hotel Mediterraneo Real||Antonio Elizalde E478 y Gran Colombia||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Andino||Leonidas Plaza N24-395 y Luis Cordero Leonidas Plaza 1129 y Baquerizo Moreno||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Quito||Avenida Gonzalez Suarez 27-142||HOTEL||-|
|Hostal Eco Karmel||Italia N33-27 y Alemania||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Villa Nancy||Muros N27 94 Gonzalez Suarez||HOTEL||-|
|Las Orquideas||Luis Larenas 1854 y pasaje 16||Hostel||-|
|Hostal Butterfly||Santa Maria 110 y Diego de Almagro||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Ecuador||Venezuela S128 Rocafuerte||HOTEL||85|
|El Cafecito||Luis Cordero E6-43 y Reina Victoria||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostal San Blas||Caldas E1 38 Pedro Fermin Cevallos||HOTEL||-|
|Las Orquideas Home Quito||Las Orquideas calle Luis Larenas E14-511 y Psje. E||HOTEL||-|
|Community Hostel||Pedro Fermin Cevallos N6-78 y Olmedo||Hostel||90|
|Hosteria Rancho Alegre Quito - Mitad del Mundo||Segovia 308 y Quijuar San Antonio de Pichincha||Hostel||-|
|Hostel Whipala||Juan Rodriguez E8-87 Av. 6 de Diciembre (esquina)||HOSTEL||-|
|Petite Bluehouse||José Calama N24-C y 6 de Diciembre||HOSTEL||-|
|Apartamentos Filatelia||9 de Octubre N19-58||Hostel||-|
|Fuente de Piedra||Juan León Mera N23-21 y Baquedano La Mariscal||HOTEL||-|
|Quito Airport Guesthouse||971 Alfonso Tobar y Tulio Garz||Guesthouse||-|
|Buena Vista Centro Historico||Benalcazar N9-35 y Oriente 305||Hostel||-|
|Quito Airport Guesthouse||Tababela Calle Principal 34-17||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostal Sol y Luna||#E1-469 Pasje Romelia y Pasaje Sol y Luna||Hostel||-|
|Chicago Hostal||Los Rios N11-142 y Pedro Briceno Sector San Blas||HOSTEL||-|
|Community Hostel||N6-78 Pedro Fermin Cevallos and Olmedo||HOSTEL||-|
|La Casa Sol Bed & Breakfast||Calama 127 y ave. 6 de Diciembre||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Quito is a great place to learn Spanish. There are over a hundred Spanish schools and the locals speak slowly and clearly so you can practice what you are learning.
Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.
See also International Telephone Calls
The international telephone code for Ecuador is 593. The general emergency number is 911, but there are special ones of police (101) and fire (102).
The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin.
Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops. The costs of calling are higher though at around $0.45 an hour.
Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Quito searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Quito and areas nearby.
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