An Ecuadorian once said to me Quito is like a woman. All bright and cheerful one minute, storms and anger the next. He’s obviously never been to Newcastle.
Previously, I’d made some Argentinian friends who were, at this point, working in a bar on the outskirts of Quito. Naturally I couldn’t turn down free drinks and a chance to live with some true meat eaters so I used Quito as a chance to settle and get into attempting some remote freelance work. What a great attempt it was as I now travel non-stop with it. Cumbaya was the place, it’s like a little rural village with a shopping complex. We had one bad ass AirBnB, £300 a month for pool, cleaner and unlimited food with chef to cook it. Anyway, it’s not worth visiting just an easy place to live.
Before living with them I had a couple of nights in Quito at Colonial house, sounds beautiful and is beautiful with a ‘breakfast together’ charm. Then I ventured onto Secret garden hostel for two nights partying before hitting settling into the airbnb in Cumbaya.
I travelled into Quito, via the long bus ride, a few times. The views at the main teleferico were stunning and the old town is quaint. Aside from that after a few days spent absorbing the culture I didn’t venture back. That certain Ecuadorian and his metaphor wasn’t wrong about Quito. You’ll be catching rays one minute, getting struck by lightening the next. It’s a funny old climate.
If you’re hitting the Galapagos or planning to do some serious bad ass outdoor adventures, then Ecuador is your place and it’s worth a stop over in Quito. I wouldn’t say come to Ecuador just for Quito, pass through it on your way to other outdoor adventures in Ecuador.
- Stay at Colonial house for beautiful decor and old style architecture
- Stay at Secret garden hostel for more of a party vibe with stunning roof top views
- Head to the top of the teleferico
- Stay in the old town
- Visit the market for awesome cheap food
- Buy coffee, drink coffee, bath in coffee. It’s great and cheap
- Visit the churches in the old town
- Grab meat and fresh veg from the market
- Explore around for Galapagos deals for a couple of days
- Wander out late on your own, there’s some characters kicking around
- Get oversold into the tourist trips in the city you can do everything yourself Pay for a city tour, the only decent places you can wander to on your own
The good thing about Ecuador is that it’s a gateway to the south of Colombia and crossing the border from Quito via a bus is fairly easy but long. I scribbled down a useful post on how to get there here.
If you’re wanting to hit the Galapagos, get your exploring and bartering pants on and hit up every tourist venture shop you can find enquiring and pitting them against one another. There’s hundreds of them so give yourself a few days to sus out who and what works for you.
The one plus about Quito is the hospitals. I picked up a nasty infection (I’ll say no more) and needed tests and an urgent solution. They have state of the art equipment from America and a great service. If you’re needing to see someone regarding something this is the place to do it.
Tips for healthy eats
- An every morning must is the cheap smoothies you can pick-up in the old town market. You can also buy the fresh produce here for cooking yourself.
- You’ll be spoilt for choice on the dishes they also offer in the markets for next to nothing.
- San Marcos café in the centre of the old town square does the best coffee and snack bites
How to get meat for that protein hit
- Buy your meat from the market and cook it up yourself or opt for the standard chicken leg, rice and veg dishes they offer.Good old atun en aqua and eggs during the day were my staple here along with the above restaurants. A slab of each day help towards the protein target.
- There is a local market in the town near the port if you were wanting to buy meat along with some small supermarkets that have it frozen. My advice would be to pick it up off the boat before travelling to your accommodation.
Where to exercise
Our Airbnb had a rooftop which was an ideal playground. The nights I did stay in hostels in the city I couldn’t find any gym nor any area to workout. They’re not exactly a fit, muscle bound nation. There are plenty of parks on the outskirts of the city especially north so I would advise having a park day looking over the other side of the valley and turn it into a picnic / workout day. Failing that, the hostels aren’t to pricey so you could splash out on your own room and get down and dirty old school inside the four walls.
All my travel workout plans are designed for small spaces, check them out here