So exactly two months had passed since I took my last flight to a new destination. Last I did was Mexico city, and again the travel ‘itch’ was back. Well, two months at most is what I can survive and this time was no different. Plus this time I had an excuse. It was the ‘ Birthday Girl’s ‘ wish :).
With my birthday over the weekend, I convinced my husband that my real desire was to travel to a new place and preferably to a place where we need to take flights to, and not just a few hours drive away kind of place.(I never said I was going to be easy to please 😉 ).
So, after many discussions we reached a common conclusion. After all that we had heard from other travellers and friends about how great the capital city was, we decided that it was only logical that we fly off to Quito for an extended weekend.
For all those considering a visit to Quito, the good part is that Visa is not required for most of the nationalities.
But still check the list once before planning, because you don’t want to be of one of the nationalities on the list and not be aware or prepared in advance.(The exceptions are citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China and Somalia, who will need to obtain a Tourist Visa (12-X).)
At a height of 9000 ft above sea level, Quito happens to be the second highest capital city in South America(La Paz, capital of Bolivia being first) and was also the first city along with Krakow to be designated as a World Cultural Heritage City by UNESCO in 1978.
So, with all my usual research in place(which involves reading google articles on Places to visit, Things to do, Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet’s reviews etc), we were all packed and ready to go on a bright Thursday morning. The flight is short(45 min) and by the time you settle down after the flight has taken off, the crew has already asked you to prepare for landing. I mean, 5 min after the seat belt sign was switched off by the pilot after the take off, we were served with soft drinks, and I was just on my second sip when I was asked to hand over the glass back, as the pilot had switched on the seat belt sign again for landing. 🙂 Exactly, the journey was THAT short. But nevertheless, I got my thrill of flying to a new place.
The plane cuts across the white, cotton-like clouds, guiding itself smoothly to miss the high, sharp volcanoes, and sailing across the sea blue sky; which looks as it has just been given a wash and a nice good scrub.
After landing, once you enter the airport you will notice the stark difference in Guayaquil and Quito. Quito airport had a majority of foreigners and lesser locals, unlike Guayaquil.
The reasons being:
1) Quito is way more touristy with a lot of things to do and places to see.
2) It is more metropolitan and considered safer than Guayaquil.
3) This is usually the city where all tourists(majority being North Americans) book their tours and take their flights to the World
The city in itself is a good 1 hour away from the airport, and there are various ways(depending on how much you want to shell) to reach your destination. You can take:
- Taxi– Will cost you around USD 25.
- Direct Bus– Will cost you around USD 8 per person.
- Indirect Bus– Will cost USD 2 per person. But remember it will drop you to South Quito from where you will have to take a taxi to your location.
- Shared Taxi– If you are two travellers, you can try finding two more headed to the same area which will make your journey to the town cheaper, more comfortable and faster.
With the help of my favorite sites and their reviews (Tripadvisor, Lonely planet, Booking.com and Expedia); I had booked a hotel in the heart of the city to enjoy all and more. The ‘centro‘ or the centre of the city is Plaza Foch and is known by all, thus making it easier to locate your hotel/hostel if in this area. Plaza Foch is also considered to be the most ‘happening‘ place to enjoy Quito’s nightlife. As soon as I read this in a review, I was convinced instantly ;).
So, after 45 minutes of enjoying the natural beauty of Quito through the taxi’s window, we reached our destination: Hotel Posada Tambuca(Address: Luis Cordero E2-19, Quito, Ecuador).Located perfectly close to all the best places, yet away from the loud noises, I couldn’t have been more happier with my choice of stay.
The taxi usually will drop you at the parking, and then there is some walking and climbing to do for you to reach the point where you embark on these cable cars. We definitely did not mind the walk, as we had to digest all the ‘platos‘ we had ravished sometime back in the restaurant. So off we went.
These rides are on from 0900- 1900 hrs and are priced at USD 8.50 for foreigners and USD 4.50 for Ecuadorians. Started in 2005, these cable cars will take you way up to the height of appx 13,450 ft and you can have a beautiful view of the whole city of Quito.
Once you reach the top, you can get down and glance around, click loads of pictures, have a hot cup of chocolate and feel good about yourself and your life, because I certainly did all of the above.
You can also have a very close look of the Pichincha Volcano as you are placed exactly adjacent to it.
“One day my life will flash before my eyes,And I will make it damn sure, that it is worth watching”
With happiness and satisfaction etched deeply in our souls, we headed back to the hotel and decided to rest our tired bodies for a bit and to let the experience sink in. With the whole evening still in our hands, we had a few hours to rest before we headed out again to experience the much talked about ‘nightlife‘ of the city.
At 9.30 pm we were all ready and raring to go explore Plaza Foch and the restaurants. The place was close enough to our hotel and we decided to walk it up(though because of safety concerns would recommend you to take a cab), and reached 10 min later. The place had completely changed from what we had seen in the morning. It had now got LIFE in it. Hundreds of people were roaming around the streets, the music was blaring, the discotheques were in full swing and the aroma of delicious smelling food was everywhere. With many great restaurants to choose from, we chose ‘Q‘ as it was placed right in the main square for us to take in all of our surroundings, plus the DJ had angel wings on :).
We sat and enjoyed sipping our Sangria’s(my favorite thing on the planet) and the music before we decided to move on to Soup, Salads and some Pasta.
After the meal, we decided to shake our booty in one of the many clubs and ended up in one which was called XS. While the music was good, I will give a one up to Guayaquil as I felt that definitely the clubs there had better music and better crowd. Or maybe, we just did not know the right clubs to go to in Quito.
Nevertheless, it was well past midnight and we decided that it was time to call it a day(or a night in this case), and head back to the hotel. So we got a taxi, reached the hotel, rang the bell, woke up the sleeping hosts(oops), headed up to our room, got in the cozy bed and before anyone could say Jack Robinson, we were fast asleep.
It’s time I said goodnight to you all as well, and I will soon update you on the second brilliant day we spent in Quito. Keep reading.
Read more about Quito in my other blogs:
1)About Quito: Paradise between Volcanoes- Day 2
2)Sher-e-Punjab, Quito: Reminiscing India while in Ecuador
3)Hotel Posada Tambuca,Quito: Reasonable and Comfortable
4)The Magic Bean Restaurant, Quito: Relish every BITE.
5)About Quito: Paradise between Volcanoes- Day 3