"b1bob does Quito big time" Top 5 Page for this destination Quito by b1bob

Quito Travel Guide: 1,075 reviews and 2,921 photos

Back in the saddle again

As soon as I got back from my last trip to South America (January, 2002), I knew somewhere in South America would be my next foreign destination. For the longest time, I thought my next South American adventure would be similar to the last- back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Alexandre was all set to have me back and I was eager to go. However, I needed to renew my Brazilian tourist visa (they still required that persnickety bit of bureaucracy 6 years later, but one thing had changed: the price went up from $45 to $100 and I would have to go to Washington to get it done- for at least another $100 or so between petrol, lodging, and food).

Meanwhile, in 2006, my friend Sergio moved from Spain to Ecuador with his wife and daughter. From day one, they invited me to come out there and see them. The ideal time for me to travel in 2007 was between the American elections (we do have local elections in odd years in Virginia) and Thanksgiving. I want to thank Sergio for his hospitality showing me around the town and the countryside of north-central Ecuador.

Even before you factored in the visa expenses, the flight to Rio de Janeiro was $100 more than that to Quito. Besides the tightwad factor (I almost picked the nickname travelntightwad when I joined VT), I had been to Rio before, but not to Quito. I had wanted to visit Ecuador since July, 1984 when I met some friends from there (whose daddy worked at the Ecuadorian embassy in Washington) on holiday in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. So, on 6 August 2007, I finally pulled the trigger and organised my trip to Quito.

Researching a trip is almost as much fun as actually taking it. In doing the research, I found out that Quito is some 2800 m. (9184 feet) above sea level. I had never been that high on land before. I also read where guinea pig (cuy) is a local delicacy. I was somewhat less conflicted on whether to try that than the tronquitos (a soup made of various key parts of the bull).

From day one, I was determined I would eat, buy, and even try to think locally in order to get as much from the culture as I could in the little time I had there. That is exactly what I did. However, all is not great in Quito. You will not get a chamber of commerce whitewash job from me here (I even find faults in my own hometown.), but rather you will get an honest accounting of my trip there. I hope it helps!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Friendly folks, good food, and cheap prices for most things.
  • Cons:Bad drivers, bad roads, and grinding poverty in spots.
  • In a nutshell:Quito is a friendly and fun city with its share of problems.
  • Last visit to Quito: Nov 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 30, 2007
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Reviews (80)

Comments (40)

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Nice and informative pages. We enjoyed our brief stay there too.

  • Bushman23's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Wow, great detail on the restaurant reviews - you'd know exactly what to expect :)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    It must have been a fascinating time to take in the culture. You did a nice job of picture taking and the complementary comments to tell the reader what it is all about.

  • brazilnut30's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    very thoughtful!

  • Calywa's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    I love these, I make them all the time at home and actually have another recipe for them on my blog... I would just add that they're typically steamed in achira leaves but since you can't get them in the US, you can use banana leaves in their place.

  • MikeAtSea's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    Stunning updates!! Gosh heading to above 4000 m - almost good enough for an oxygen tank. This bloody departure tax :-) Michael

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2009 at 6:55 AM

    This tip sounds like the drivers here in korea. Thanks for the good stuff on the other pages, and for the good detail on many of them.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Yes, they do have bad drivers in Quito! Norman :)

  • ligaya's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2008 at 6:49 AM

    all the best information about this fascinating city. good information. I want to stop one month at least.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2008 at 12:18 AM

    Thanks for your great pages and travelogues, fellow traveler!

b1bob

“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. - Thomas Jefferson”

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