a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, Quito's Old Town will
transport you back and forth between centuries as you meander down
its cobblestone streets, passing by vendors selling everything from
grilled choclos (Andean corn) to ceramics to techno CDs.
Centrally located, Quito is also an excellent jumping-off point
for a number of interesting trips, including river-rafting, cloudforest
exploration, birding, mountain biking, hotsprings and more.
Quito gained political power in the mid 16th century and by
the end of the century it had become a center for art in South America
where the Quito art school was created. Many parts of the city,
especially the center (La Marín), has still the same architecture-wise,
as it had at the time of it's creation. The independance of Quito
was proclaimed on December 6th, 1809.
Parks in Quito
Parque Metropolitano is the largest urban park in South America.
The park is located in the north of Quito, on the hillside, behind
the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium. The park is an excellent place for
mountain biking, walking, running or just exploring the different
sculptures that are display for the public. The park has 4 sites
where you can bring your family and friends to have a picnic or
a BBQ. The backside of the park has a beautiful view of Cotopaxi,
Antisana and the "Valle".
La Carolina is the place to be on Sundays. You will be among thousands
of Quiteños playing football, basketball, ecua-volley, doing aerobics,
flying kites, running, snacking or just observing the thralls of
people just walking around. The park is situated on the norther
area of Quito not too far from the shopping district. The southern
part of the park has a small pond where you can rent paddle boats.
There are also many artists performing on weekends. In the western
part of the park you will find the Quito Exhibition Center with
different exhibits every month
Ejido is the park situated between the old part of the city and
the modern section. Here you will find handicrafts every Saturday
and Sunday. Local painters sell Guayasamín or Endera
Crow copies and Otavaleños are selling traditional sweaters and
Alameda has the oldest astronomical observatory in South America.
The park has a monument of Símon Bolívar and a small
lake where families like to rent boats.
Services in Quito
Quito has many banks, too many! Try Banco de Guayaquil (Reina Victoria
y Colón) for cash withdrawal from your Visa card (3rd. floor,
VISA BG). The Mastercard office is located at Naciones Unidas y
Av. de Los Shyris. Banco de Pacífico is affiliated with Mastercard.
Banco de Guayaquil and Filanbanco are the biggest "Visa banks".
You will also find international banks as Loyds Bank, ABN Ambro
Bank, and Citybank.
exchange: Try Casa Paz at Amazonas y Robles for money change.
There are also many "casas de cambio" along Amazonas Avenue.
(see out Money Matters section
for more detailed info)
Mail to Europe is quite reliable and fast (one week). To the
States expect up to 3 weeks delivery. Post offices are located several
places but the main "tourist branch" is located at Reina
Victoria and Colón, in the Ecuatoriana building.
All the big couriers like DHL, FedEx and UPS have service in Quito.
The local couriers like Ecuadorian express, Delgado travel plus
a dozen more have inexpensive deliveries to the main cities in The
States. They do not have service to Europe.
(see out Communications
section for more detailed info)
Taxi's are inexpensive but be careful with"taxistas" trying
to charge a "gringo tax". Female lone travelers should
take taxi from a larger hotel during the night time and everyone
should make sure they use the meter. The prices should be maximum
3 USD per 10 km...and a little more at night.
There are different types of buses, most have bus attendants.
The buses are really inexpensive and plentiful, before 8 pm. You
usually don't have to wait more than 5 minutes to get a bus on the
main streets. You either pay when you board, during the ride or
when you leave. Buses heading out of Quito leave from the "Terminal
Terrestre" in the colonial part of town (La Marín),
but also from some transportation companies own terminals in Quito.
Trole": In most main parts of the city you can catch a
trolebus, which runs smoothly, quiet and fast. They travel to most
major parts of Quito. The fare is the about half of that on the
a car: If you are just planning to stay in Quito we do not recommend
you to rent a car. The traffic is chaotic and there are too many
cars for the road system. If you have to however, there are good
car rental companies, including Herz, Budget and Avis. They have
offices at the airport.
The airport is situated in the north of Quito, about 10 km outside
of the center of the city. Taxi from the airport to the center cost
about 3 USD. There are flights daily to all major cities in Ecuador.
For a list of national and international airline
offices in Quito, check out this section.There is a 25 USD
departure tax when leaving the country.
You can phone from ANDINATEL. They charge per 3 minutes but has
become fairly inexpensive. There are two phone card services in
Quito; Porta and Bell South. They both sell calling cards which
can be used on local phones. The least expensive way to call overseas
and consequently the worst quality, is to use an internet café and
call via the computer. ATT (999-119) and MCI (999-170) have service
There are several "lavenderias" in the Mariscal area where
you pay by the pound and get you clothes back relatively clean within
a day. There are also more reliable dry cleaning companies.
foreigners come to Quito to study spanish. There are more than 50
spanish schools in Quito and almost all of them offer individual
spanish lessons. With the "one to one" method you will
be able to learn Spanish in less than 2 months without having any
has many quite good universities. Both the Católica University and
the San Fransísco University have exchange programs with
US and European Universities. Below you can check out the homepages
of some of the universities in Quito.
San Fransísco de Quito
de la Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Andina Símon Bolívar