What to visit in Ecuador?
I spent about one month in Quito, Ecuador. Here are some travel tips on safety, places to see, things to do, and of course, food and drink. I’ve also included links to some helpful blogs written by people living in Quito.
For more information about my experience in Ecuador, read my blog posts and check out my photos.
Safety & Health
- Quito is very unsafe in the tourist areas such as El Centro Historico and especially La Mariscal. I heard of both men and women being robbed, sometimes without violence, but I also met men who had been threatened with a knife or physically attacked. Be careful! Women should never walk alone at night. Take a taxi, even if it’s only three blocks.
- There are many “rogue” taxis in Quito. Always take yellow taxis with the red card in their windshield. I have heard stories about people being robbed and worse after getting in the wrong taxi.
- There is a common scam to steal your bag. If something (usually a yellow liquid) drips on you from above or seems to have magically appeared on your clothes, and some “friendly” person tries to help you. Say, “No, ” and keep walking. It’s a trick they use to steal your bag.
- When you ride the bus, always keep your belongings close. Do not have valuables that are easy to get to in your pockets. I met several people that had items stolen out of their bags on the bus.
- The water in Quito is certified, so you can drink it and don’t have to spend money on bottled water. If you are outside of Quito, buy bottled water.
- Buy fresh veggies, fruit, and eggs at the many small tiendas. You can get 3 bananas for 15 cents, 3 apples for 50 cents, and eggs for 10 cents each. You can get enough Spinach to saute all week for 50 cents. Pick up a few staples at the supermercado (e.g. milk, bread), and you’re set. If you make your own meals on the cheap for breakfast and dinner and eat a .75-.50 almuerzo at a restaurant, you can easily survive on a day for your meals.
- Shop around for a hostel. Ask to see the rooms. Depending on your preferences (private or shared room), you can find a hostel that is safe and has hot water from $6-$10 a night.
- Taxis without the main center area should cost no more than $2 during the day and maybe $3 at night or when it’s raining.
- The buses within the city limits are only 25-35 cents.
Favorite Sites & Neighborhoods
- La Capilla del Hombre – Guayasamin’s work is moving and beautiful; Bellavista neighborhood is pretty and has excellent views. Unless you’re up for a very good workout, take the Bellavista bus up the massive hill to get there. It’s a much longer walk than it looks like on the map, and it is VERY steep. Yes, I walked it.
- Guapulo – The neighborhood is set on the side of a mountain with gorgeous views. It is an interesting Bohemian neighborhood. I heard it is a great place to go on a Friday or Saturday evening for dinner (I explored during the day). You’ll get your exercise on the way back up.
- Itchimbía – You get a workout walking there and some great views of the city without having to pay the price of the Teleferico or the taxis to El Panecillo (too unsafe to walk the stairs up). No, I did not go to El Panecillo or do the Teleferico, but I was perfectly satisfied with the view from here. Also, look for outdoor concerts hosted at Itchimbía.
- El Ejido Park – Good place to jog. Entertaining people-watching on the weekends and a small row of booths to buy authentic clothing, bags, CDs, and more.