Thursday, 11 October 2012

Culture and partying...welcome to Quito!

I was pleasantly surprised with Quito despite it being a big capital city. It had a unique historical centre and a decent Zona Rosa that (unlike Bogota) didn't break the bank! Quito is Ecuador's hub; from here we took a couple of trips but also found time to explore the city. Great start to Ecuador!

The Basilica of Quito
After our long journey from Bogota we found ourselves in Central Quito, in the Zona Rosa area. The bus station is miles out of the city and cost us more ($6) for the taxi ride in than the previous 5h bus ride!

We stayed in Vibes hostel which was a top recommendation and we could see why. It was by far the most social hostel in the area as people from other hostels would come to drink a the bar, play pool and table football before heading out.

Vibes had a great "vibe" to it (and had free breakfast!), the only downside was it was near impossible to get a good nights sleep! I think I managed 3 hours one night at best?? But I was told the night life is great... especially if you are a single white guy. Apparently (according to Harry) the Ecuadorian women go crazy for white men!

There are plenty of places to eat out in the central area. We recommend 3 places in each price range:

$ Restaurants Pepito - the cheapest but filling food you'll find with almuerzos (soup, rice, beans, salad and meat and juice) for only $1.75
$$ El Cafecito - a cool, funky hostel and cafe with healthy options, juices and desserts. Plus the staff are really nice.
$$$ Q. This place is located in the heart of the bar/ restaurant scene and looks on the the main square. The prices are higher than most but they do 2 for 1 cocktails all day and this was Harry's top recommended burger so far!
Emjoying a great meal at Q
The historical centre, like any other city, has many churches and museums to check out but what makes it cool is they close off all the roads on Sunday and open them for cyclists and pedestrians.

The quiet Sunday roads in Quito´s historical centre

The lack of cars made exploring the centre way easier...that was until a CRAZY old, kind of haggard, lady started to follow us shouting "regressa!" (come back!). We tried to lose her by walking faster but every time we stopped to look at a menu she would catch up with us. She even followed us into a restaurant and we had to leave for the sake of the customers. We had no idea what she wanted, but it was all to do with Harry. He was the one she wanted!

Our highlight was climbing up the Basilica (it's hard to miss in the city landscape). You can climb up the clock towers or the steeple at the back... though if you are afraid of heights this may not be for you! There were some incredibly steep step ladders to the top, definitely against all UK health and safety! But the view was totally worth it.

The walk to the top of the Basilica, no such thing
as health and safety in Ecuador!

The 2 clock towers and the angel statue ontop of the hill
El Panecillo
 
The ridiculous stairs to get to the top of the basilica
 The rest of Quito boasted some very nice parks which were perfect for a wander, an ice cream or just to sunbathe... we got sunburt after 10mins, forgetting how high up Quito was!

Our favourite park, El Ejido
 We spent about a week in Quito, mainly because I had caught a paracite from drinking contaminated water during our hike in Colombia (La Ciudad Perdida) and spent a great deal of time in bed! After the party scene of Vibes, we needed a break and moved to a lovely B&B called the Travellers Inn nearby for some peace and quiet! 

No comments:

Post a Comment