By Sara Nicastro
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and the highest official capital city in the world, placed atop the Andes Mountains at 9,350 feet above sea level. With a growing metropolitan, a well maintained historic center, and stunning views it is no doubt this city will give you so much to look forward to. Here is a how to guide to Quito, Ecuador:
When To Go
Quito has a fairly regulated climate. This is due to its high elevation and close location to the equator. The city has two seasons: winter, which is their rainy season from October to May and summer season, which is their dry season running June to September. While these dates are important to consider it is also worth noting that Quito is the city that “has all four seasons in a day”. It is important to bring layers and warm clothes (even in the summer months) because at night it can get very cold due to the high altitude.
What To Pack
Ecuador has a conservative culture, which means dressing modestly can help blend in and avoid unwanted attention. However, modesty does not mean fashion gets forgotten. Latina women definitely still enjoy dressing up in heels, dresses and make-up. Ladies, if you think you will go out to the bars or clubs then a cute dress or heels are a good idea. Boys, making sure you don’t bring any shirts with offensive logos or slogans, as it is a religious country.
It is worth noting some points on the crime in the city, especially the scams that clearly target travelers and “gringos”. Walking alone at night is not recommended and since taxis are considered cheap there is no excuse to avoid taking one. Also, always making sure you use a reputable company. Parks, busy tourists areas, and buses are common areas to be picked pocketed and robbed. Always make sure your bags and purses are close and your eyes are on it, never putting them down or in overhead shelving.
Ignore people who appear to be lost and ask for directions or try to stop to talk forany reason, as there is usually a bigger con happening. Also be careful of children begging, hugging, and jumping on you, as they tend to work in groups. While one distracts you the others already have your money/phone.
Where to Stay
There is great variance in the type of accommodation you can book in Quito. The good news is travelers on a budget have a lot to choose from. Plaza Foch is the main area for backpackers as this is a main hub for all the bars, clubs, tourist offices and hostels. You will find yourself steps away from cafes, bars and some shops and provides a good location to visit other sites.
Another great area for backpackers, who may want a quieter area with less partying, is the historic center of Quito. Not as lively and a little distance away from a few of the sites it is also a good option for travelers a little off the beaten path.
Quito is an amazing city with so much to see and hopefully these few tips make planning your trip that much easier. To check out where to explore in the city check out my other article, “What to See in Quito, Ecuador”.