We wound up in Quito longer than expected. It’s a cool city, though. We liked it.
From the Galapagos, we flew over to Quito and were surprised by the route from the airport to the city. You have to go all around the mountains and valley to get there. It’s quite the trek.
Since we arrived around dinner time, we were happy to find Curly & Pizza near our hotel. It definitely wasn’t “amazing” pizza by any standard, but having vegan pizza nearby is great.
We had the night, a full day the next day, and then up until dinner time the following day. The main goal was to stand on the equator, so that was our plan for the next morning.
We got a taxi north of the city up to Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world) and explored the little village they’ve built around this tourist spot.
Interestingly, the French agency hired to find the equator and help Ecuador do all of this put the marker in the wrong spot! It’s actually about 2min walking from where they’ve put the markers and painted the lines. They won’t change it now and basically ignore it. Oops!
Inside the tower, there’s a small museum about the various cultures in Ecuador and the history of their people.
The views from the top are nice.
We realized we could take the city bus back to the city (about 20min) and went to the bus stop. There was a girl standing there, so we asked her which bus we should take. She told us to take the one she was waiting for, so we did that.
Wow, worst advice ever! We told her we wanted to go to the center of Quito. We followed her onto a bus that went AROUND the outskirts of Quito and dumped us out in a suburb 15min south of the city. Thanks for nothing.
Since it was lunch time and we were near the intersection of nothing & nowhere, we got an uber to a vegan cafe with good reviews online. Vegano de Altura was ok but nothing spectacular. “We take your favorite foods and change them to be healthy and kind of not like you’re familiar with” is never my favorite type of veg/vegan place.
Back in the center later, we checked out this amazing, huge, awesome, best park in the world contender. It’s called Parque La Carolina and has TONS of space + TONS of free stuff to do. Skate park, jungle gyms, rides for kids, BMX course, running track, all kinds of sports fields, dog park…massive!
And it was SO clean.
We got a taxi from there to our appointment for our COVID tests for flying home the next night.
Surprise! The guy took a wrong turn, and we arrived a minute late. No joke, they’d already locked the door, put the metal gate down, turned off the lights, and closed shop. 4:31 and they’d already disappeared into the wind. The security guard told us to come back the next day.
We couldn’t find anywhere else that would do COVID tests that day and get results back to us in time, so we couldn’t fly the next day. Through multiple cancelations and flight changes, we spent the next 8 days more than our original plan exploring Quito at a snail’s pace.
We also discovered the $3 lunch, which is awesome!
TONS of places do this, including all of the vegan/vegetarian places.
You get whatever they’re serving for the day, which is a ton of food. Want to add a soup? 10 cents. Add a juice? 10 cents. Add a dessert (maybe it’s fruits, maybe it’s a pastry)? 10 cents!
Look at some of these lunches we had!
Between free breakfast at the hotel and these huge lunches, we had small dinners every night, which was good for saving money.
On one of the days that blended into each other, we went to the historic old town.
It was really pretty and had a great vibe. We liked Quito a lot. Taxis and food are super cheap. The people are friendly. The city has a lot to offer. I’d live here.
We walked up to the basilica but refused to pay the entry fee, so we took a few pictures from the outside.
That night, we discovered “Tandana” a veg restaurant with delivery. The calzones were UN BE LIEV A BLE. We wound up ordering these to the hotel every night until we left. They were big enough to share, which is good, since they weren’t cheap.
Another day, we went to the TeleferiQo cable car. It’s hard to see the station at the top, even pointing at it in the photo. This is one of the highest cable cars in the world.
Tons of people brought their dogs with them, which we found surprising. You can also pay for a 1-way ride with your bike and then ride down the mountain.
The views on the 20-minute ride were impressive.
The views from the top were also incredible.
And we really felt the altitude effects. We got winded and had to sit down at one point, even just climbing 10-12 steps to get from one part to another. I also got a bit of a headache while up there, but we really liked it.
Once we finally had a confirmed flight to go home and got within 48 hours of it without it changing or canceling, we confirmed our COVID test appointment. This time, we got there 10 minutes before our appointment time and didn’t take the last appointment of the day.
We also passed a bull ring.
Interesting fact that I looked up after passing this: the country had a national referendum voting against bullfighting because it requires killing the bull. Cool! Oh, but “where you live” language is in the law, and “in public” is in the law, so basically the people who want to continue bullfighting just drag the bull behind a closed door when it’s time to kill it. Hey, it’s in “where you live” and not “in public”, yay! Despite the fact the majority of the country voted for a ban.
Paid-politicians ruin everything everywhere.
We liked Quito a lot. Cool city, great people, and awesome food.
But we were glad to get home, also.This entry was posted in Ecuador, Quito, South America