Aside from dodging transvestites and trying to find a non-instant cup of coffee, Quito is a vibrant city with a million things to see and do. I’ve been here about a week, and I’ve done a few awesome things that I can recommend my readers planning to travel to Ecuador.
1. Souvenir Shopping at the Artesenia Market
Set a couple blocks from Plaza El Quinde, the handicraft market in La Mariscal has a ton of goodies and high-quality souvenirs to bring your friends and family back home. Though I’m normally a penny pincher, it was hard not to indulge. My awesome finds include a handmade purse for $8.50, a handmade camera case for $2, and a huge quartz crystal for $1. I’m happy to report that I didn’t see one “My [fill in the blank] went to Ecuador and all I got was this lousy shirt.”
2. Jump Across the Equator
It’s cheesy, the bus ride takes forever, and it’s the most touristy thing I’ve seen since Disney… but how could you come all the way to Ecuador without sitting on, straddling, or tightrope walking the Equator?
3. Have an Art Affair
La Capilla del Hombre hosts a number of art installations, sculptures, and paintings by Oswaldo Guayasamín, a famous indigenous artist from Quito. Entry is $4. To get their cheaply, take the Ruta Ecovia to Bella Vista station, then a taxi will drive you up the hill for $1.
4. Stay at Hostal Jhomana
I’ve told you guys how much I despise party hostels, right? I was so glad to find Hostal Jhomana after a long, crazy weekend in Quito. I’d stay here again thanks to the extra hot, high-powered showers, a lighting fast high speed internet connection, and two super friendly owners. This hostel comes highly recommended by yours truly.
5. See the Wailers
After I decided to head to Ecuador instead of Trinidad for December, I almost died when I found out that Damian Marley would be performing there. I sulked in misery and cursed my poor decision-making skills, until a vegetarian hot dog vendor told us that the Wailers would be performing a free concert in Quito. Hell yeah! We were belly-up to the stage, and I even got a nice ego stroke by making it up on the big screen a few times.
I have a few videos of the concert that I’ll add to my Facebook page – have you liked me yet? :)
There’s a reason why my blog isn’t called “Jasmine Explores the World Methodically.” Aside from being a long and awkward title, it’s not an accurate description of what I do. I like to wander around new cities and towns with no plans and no maps. The historic center of Quito makes for a great place to stroll around and admire the architecture.
7. Soak up the Green
For those longing to get in touch with nature in the midst of the big city, or wanting to wile away the hours without burning through your savings, Quito has a ton of parks great for sitting, reading, and people watching. Check out the park off the Simon Bolivar stop (Ruta Ecovia), Parque Metripolitano a few meters from the Capilla del Hombre, or the park equipped with speakers playing jazz and classical music on Avenida Diez de Agosto and Gil Ramirez Davalos.
What are your must-see destinations in Quito? Thanks for sharing your tips with us!