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First stop - Quito

New Town vs. Old Town

After a relatively smooth flight from Toronto (with a short layover in Bogota, Colombia), we finally arrived at our very first destination - Quito, Ecuador! Before we left for the trip, we debated whether to stay in New Town (La Mariscal) or Old Town (Centro Historico). New Town (also known as Gringoland) is known for its many bars, restaurants, and nightlife, while Old Town for its culture and colonial architecture. We decided on New Town because we wanted to be close to the restaurants and the nightlife. What we didn't realize was that 90% of the restaurants would be serving Western food (burgers, pastas, etc.).

The main square in New Town is Plaza Foch, a common meeting place for both Ecuadorians and tourists. Here you can find stores that sell North Face, Hollister and other popular American brands as well as a gazillion tour agencies We even found good ole Subway!

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Plaza Foch

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Rio Amazonas

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Gringo Bars/Tour Agencies

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New Town is so westernized that you can watch NFL Sundays here

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Good Ole Subway! Who wants a Sanduche del Dia?!?

As much as we would love to try an Ecuadorian version of Subway, this was not what we had in mind. We wanted local authentic Ecuadorian food. We ended up staying only two nights in New Town and headed over to Old Town for our remaining days in Quito.

Entering Old Town is like entering a totally different city - there was definitely a greater sense of history and tradition here. We both immediately liked Old Town better. We ended up staying a total of 4 nights (a lot longer than we had initially planned).

The following are some sights around town and some moments that stand out (both good and bad, and in no particular order) in Quito:

  • Climbing up a sketchy outdoor ladder to reach the top of Basilica del Voto Nacional
  • Getting scammed by the taxi driver going to the El Panecillo (Danny is still super upset about this)
  • Enjoying a nice relaxing lunch in Itchimbia Park overlooking the city
  • Being warned by a local woman as we were leaving a restaurant to hide our bags as there could be men outside with ill intentions
  • Summiting (and getting lost) on Volcan Pichincha (see future post)
  • Arguing whether to take a $10 (which turned out to be $8) taxi ride to the bus terminal or the $0.50 local bus for 1.5 hrs
  • Danny getting ripped off by old ladies when buying fruits and pastries (commonly known as the 'foreign price')

In summary, yes, we got ripped of a couple of times (lets face it, it's bound to happen) but all in all, we thought the people of Quito were mostly nice and hospitable (except for the sketchy guy in the corner trying to scam us hahaha).

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The view of Old Town from the El Panecillo

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El Panecillo

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Basilica del Voto Nacional

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Climbing the Basilica

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View of Old Town from the Basilica

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The view from Itchimbia

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La Ronda

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The Presidential Palace

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Hotel Majestica

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Plaza de San Francisco

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Danny trying to bargain 35 cents ice cream

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Independence Square

Posted by TravellingFries Sun 18 Nov 2012 11:11 Archived in Ecuador

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