Quito, Ecuador bleg

I haven’t been for about twenty-five years, so I very much welcome your recommendations on what to do, see, and eat there.  And what should one do with a spare day in Guayaquil?

I thank you all in advance for your extreme wisdom and counsel.


You're meeting Assange, aren't you? Remember to purge the embassy logs.

Bird watching in Mindo

I second that. We stayed at a wonderful bird lodge there. Not sure that's Tyler's sort of thing though. In Quito, the national museum was well worth it. The Mariscal (aka Gringolandia) was OK for that sort of thing, but really in Ecuador, our favorites were all outside Quito and Guayaquil (as the Incas were aware, there's a good reason not to put major cities at sea level on the equator). Anyway, for us the memorable places other than Mindo, were the Galapagos (not surprisingly), also Cuenca, Ingapirca, El Cajas, Quilotoa, Cotopaxi, and Amazonia.

I third that. Watching hummingbirds in the garden in morning; fantastic.

The Guayasim musuem in Quito was worth a trip also.

The one thing I remember from my brief time in Quito was the Guyasamin museum. I'm not normally struck by visual art but I remember his work. https://www.notyouraverageamerican.com/guayasamin-museum-quito/

Yes Guayasamin is amazing! Also eat soup at every opportunity. I'll be in Quito and Mindo Christmas to New Years

Seconding that Guayasamin is a spectacular, very underrated artist!

Third that Guayasamin is a must! His museum is one of the best exhibits I've ever seen capture so much of a place, it's people and it's history.

Whatever you do, be sure to ride the Bus Rapid Transit system. It costs 25 cents and the city simply would not function without it. A triumph of urban connectivity, I would say. For culture, I do recommend a visit to Capilla del Hombre: both the art and the architecture are an extraordinary window into Quito's cultural contributions. And, for my full report on how a trip to Quito epitomized a change in how I travel, see here: http://www.russellmaxsimon.com/2018/03/30/the-changing-reasons-i-travel-part-ii-quito-ecuador/

What to do in Guayaquil? Why visit the gravesite of the great deplorable, populist nationalist José Joaquín de Olmedo in Cementerio General de Guayaquil. In an early foretaste of Brexit-like movements, Olmedo led the group known as the Forge of Vulcan that liberated Guayaquil from the EU-like subjugation of the Spanish Crown and established the The Free Province of Guayaquil. Like all deplorables, he was a talented poet. Loosely translated here are his lyrics to the Guayaquil anthem "Himno al 9 de Octubre."

Let's rejoice
In harmonious chants
This glorious dawn
Announcing freedom
Freedom, freedom!

Do you see that kind light
which borders on the east,
increasingly shining
in heavenly grace?
That is the placid aurora
Announcing freedom!
That is the placid aurora
Announcing freedom!

We will keep
with inexpressible ardor
your unquenchable fire
O holy Liberty!
As virgin vestals
which serve your altar,
as virgin vestals
that serve your altar

Make it on the ground you love
flourish everywhere
the worship of the arts
and national honor.
And gives with a prodigal hand
the goods of peace,
and gives with a prodigal hand
the goods of peace.

I was there a couple months ago and enjoyed Seminary Park and the waterfront. But, what this post inspired was my new appreciation for the burial practices there. A casual visit, or even a drive-by of the cemetery across the river is very interesting.

What does 'extreme' wisdom mean? Is wisdom graduated in the USA?

There is really good gelato at DiSerggio, in the upscale neighborhood east of Parque La Carolina. Put "RG99+FV La Carolina, Quito, Ecuador" in google maps and it'll show the place.

If you are there on a sunday it should be a ciclopaseo, which is great for peoplewatching and strolling, especially in Parque El Ejido and Plaza Grande.

Yes, yes. I go to Ecuador to eat gelato. And right after that I visit the Japanese restaurant right across the street to grab some sushi.

"And what should one do with a spare day in Guayaquil?"

Leave the country a day earlier.

ribby is this for real?
google sez in brazil
A firm full derriere is a sign of health and beauty and this area of the body is receiving more attention than ever before
so for 9 grand
they suck the fat out of your gut and then inject the fat
into your butt and that's why they call it a butt lift
if a politician with a 100grand liquor bill keeps confusing her words
do you think it could be dementia?

You should try "Hornados Dieguito" to get hornado pulled pork dish, one of the typical Ecuadorian dishes. Also, "Mote Colonial". My friends also recommend, "Donde la CHIO", "Restaurante puerto manabi" for seafood. Quito Rojo does tours in English of the old downtown the phone number is +593 98 419 9661. "Omotos" has good craft beer and is in the old downtown. If you need more help you can ask me.

Currently a student studying abroad in Quito - Check out the parque metropolitano, as well as the centro historico of course (Iglesia de la Merced, la compañía de Jesús, la San Francisco, and the basilica are all excellent). Food wise, check out Zazu for delicious up-scale Ecuadorian food, or literally any tiny hole-in-the-wall almuerzo (lunch) spot. Usually the grungier, the better. Check out llapingachos (little potato pancakes served with chorizo and beets) as well as caldo de pollo for some delicious meals, as well as whatever fruit juice comes your way; guanabana and mora (blackberry) are personal favorites. Abysmo and VIVA Cerveza were favorite bars for good beer in the city.

Outside of Quito, Mindo is excellent, as is Otavalo and the surrounding parks of Cuicocho and las Lagunas Mojadas. Papallacta is a popular hots springs as well, all of the above are about 1-2 hours outside of the city.

+1 on Zazu, that place is amazing

I think Ethan is spot on. Will second Papallacta and suggest you stay for the night which gives you access to private hot springs. I also loved my Quilotoa hike. Other stuff in Quito - Hop into a random lunch spot that costs $3 as the food is often great and healthy (look for "almuerzos ejecutivo"). Definitely try Encebollado (although it's better in Guayaquil). Get a Croissant at Cyrano bakery (but don't go too far out of your way). If you're not scared to try street food and you eat meat, try fritada.

In Guayaquil, I recommend going to Cafe de Terre and getting Tigrillo. There is one close to the airport. It's heavy food but delicious! Also you can hop to Salinas if you want to skip the city and get a beach day. It's very close to Guayaquil. For getting around most conveniently, download Cabify. I've used it to get to and from Papallacta which is about 45 mins away for $40 each way ...not bad.

Feel free to message me for more info!

Guyasamin Museum

Eleven years ago, I was having an awful time in Ecuador. The beach in Montañita had been covered in Portuguese man o' war, Guayaquil had been ugly, and I'd spent a sleepless overnight bus ride with food poisoning from Guayaquil to Quito. But when we got to Quito, I followed a friend's tip and went to the Guayasamin museum,and the whole trip turned around.

Prof TC, In all these blegs, we never find out what you eventually chose. While I can understand that you may not want to offend those whose choices you did not take, a post after since trips would make great travel writing, a category that you find woefully inadequate , per sone of your recent posts. Only with regard to Ethiopia and a couple of others did we get such posts.

I am very worried about all the solutions to global problems hindered by nationalism and the mood affiliations of deplorables. Consider, for example, global warming. Should we really emit all that carbon just to fly about and sample local foods? Shouldn't we put aside our temporal desires and act in the best interests of future generations?

Next door to the equator monument - and stated as on the "real" equator (the monument is off or some such) is a theme park where they have several terrible attractions. I loved it in a kitchy way.

Walk slowly. The altitude hit me hard, but I found walking one step per heartbeat really helped. YMMV.

I actually rode up the hill behind the monument and stopped where my GPS said zero. I went to the monument proper 10 years ago, so it was nice to do it right :)

In Guayaquil, take a walk at the Malecon. The monument dedicated to San Martin and Bolivar is very nice. A dinner at Lo Nuestro is a must.

There are many good suggestions already. Papallacta is beautiful.

In Quito, I like the ice cream shops on the Plaza Grande in the Cathedral. Looking at the Cathedral from the center of the plaza, you will see store cubbies at the left end beneath the Quote about the Amazon on the Cathedral wall.

A school for the poor by Jesuits in Cotocollao, El Centro del Muchacho Trabajador is worth an hour tour. Call the main office to schedule or walk into the office.

Hacienda La Carriona, 40 minutes from Quito for a night stay. It’s in San Golqui near Volcán Pasachoa. Walk around the gardens.

Cafe Guapulo in the evening for the view and the Canelaso.

Stay away from the touristy places. Look for authentic and original stuff. Follow that and you should be good.

In Guayaquil, the malecon is an interesting investment in simple infrastructure that changed (for the better) the life of the city.
Parque Seminario is a must to see for the huge concentration of iguanas - just enjoying themselves on the ground and up the trees - watching the passers by and sunning themselves.

Some places that are recommended here, although good, are not Ecuadorian. Zazu is good but is not Ecuadorian food and is quite expensive. If you want upscale Ecuadorian food go to Casa Gangotena. If you want icecream Ecuadorian style you can try Helado de paila or helado de salcedo. There are a few other recommendations above that recommend non local food just to let you know. All the suggestions outside of Quito I think are pretty good. Guayasamin is pretty good but from an Ecuadorian point of view he is incredibly overrated but for an American might be pretty fun.

Also if you want to see Quito at night I highly recommend Cafe Mosaico y Hotel Plaza Grande.

A few remarks:
– Though he is a national holy cow, Guayasamin is a bombastic stalinist imitator and plagiarist of Mexican muralists. Vastly overrated in my view (and a very nasty guy), though it's interesting to visit the Capilla del Hombre anyhow if you want a flavor of "nacional-popular" official art in an Andean nation. (I'm a leftist, by the way, but I hate this kind of pseudo-socially conscious and self-folkorizing "progressive" art, and I also hate Fidel Castro's fellow travelers.)
– Zazu is or at least was a good restaurant (I haven't been there in months), and it's true that it is a bit expensive for Ecuador, but then it's not completely correct to say that it's not Ecuadorian food. The thing is that modern "Andean fusion cuisine" is mainly inspired by the Peruvian pioneers of this genre, and Ecuadorian food having a lot of partial overlap with Peruvian food, it's normal that Ecuadorian chefs, about ten years after the Peruvian culinary boom, tried to do something similar and also introduced elements of Peruvian fusion among local creations and more cosmopolitan fare. I am told by a Quitena friend that for sophisticated local food, La Purisima, in Quito's historical center (inside ex Teatro Bolivar, apparently) is very good, much more than Casa Gangotena.
Though Quito seems far from the sea, you can find a lot of typical delicious Ecuadorian seafood at good prices in a lot of places, ask the locals. Also definitely visit the gorgeous Inaquito market and have a snack (fish or pork, mainly) or a mixed juice at the food stands there (it's hygienically safe).
– Go to Café Mosaico also by daylight, the view on Quito is stunning. And you can walk around in Parque Itchimbia a few yards above, nothing special as a park, but it has a very nice panoramic hilltop position and a "Belle Epoque" iron market structure imported from France (the Eiffel architectural and engineering school), installed downtown at some point in the XXth century and rebuilt uphill about a decade ago.
– La Floresta (my neighborhood) is an extremely pleasant place to stroll by and have coffee, a snack or a pastry. It's half-gentrified and hipsterized, but still retaining a mix of lower middle-class and working class sections, which makes it quite an interesting place. Have a coffee and a good sandwich or a cake at Café Jervis, or feel the vibe at the coffee-shop of the art cinema Ocho y Medio (by the way, it's showing now the astonishingly splendid "Roma", by Cuaron, in excellent screening conditions, till the end of December). And you can easily walk from there to Guapulo, a former village only half integrated to the city, nice colonial feel and also stunning views on the way. The French bakery/pastry shop at the Salinerito foodstore in Calle Mallorca is a gem for croissants and baguette addicts (I'm one, but I have an excuse: I'm French).
– Nobody mentioned the precious El Alabado museum, in Centro Historico near the Plaza San Francisco. It is probably one of the 2 or 3 best small archeological-anthropological museum in all Latin America. An ABSOLUTE must.
– If you don't suffer from altitude sickness and there is a good morning without clouds, go up the Pichincha volcano with the teleférico.
– Will you have any public activity in Quito? I'm basically a post-totalitarian and mildly cynical left-menshevik (which would make me a subtype of Bernie bro in the US, I guess), but you're my favorite libertarian...

Just in case, the French bakery I mention is in La Floresta, not in Guapulo; my sentence was a bit ambiguous...

- Comments about the quality and substance of Guayasamin's art notwithstanding, he is interesting as the most famous representative of Ecuadorian art. Don't miss the Fundacion Guayasamin, in his former house (with great views and few visitors, and his very interesting personal art collection) in addition to the more trafficked Capilla del Hombre.

- For Ecuadorian ceviche (different from Peruvian, and my personal favorite dish), encebollada, and sopa marinero, go to Manolo's on Diego de Almagro. I passed it off as too commercial or inauthentic or some dumb reason for over a year before a friend recommended it, and it became my absolute favorite place for Sunday lunch. Not open for supper though (at least not when I was there).

- Ride an inter-city bus and buy tostadas with habichuelas. Add the super sour lime.

- I found Mascarilla super interesting as an example of a poor community that has somewhat-effectively monetized a culture. The question of whose culture is interesting, given that workshops to train residents on how to make masks, the creation of the mask market, and tourist events were facilitated by a Belgian development worker, though the designs are all purportedly local. The role of tradition is better analyzed by others than myself. https://lahora.com.ec/noticia/1101940143/mascarilla-un-pueblo-donde-lo-ancestral-no-se-ha-ido

- I find cultural tourism to be a troubling but fascinating trend in general, so from a similar perspective I found the artisanal markets interesting as a driver of social mobility, but extremely touristy, and maybe typical of a variety of countries. Otavalo is the largest, but not really any different from the one in Quito.

- The pop art market on the sidewalks around El Ejido was interesting to me. Might seem touristy, but I always saw more local buyers than tourists, and saw examples in many local homes that I visited.

- Find a reason to go to south Quito (south of old town). Few tourists do, and few of the upper-class Ecuadorians that I mostly interacted with ever did.

- The botanical garden in Parque Carolina had an amazing collection of orchids--not sure if it's still there, but the variety was breathtaking.

- Mindo has amazing butterflies too, not just hummingbirds.

- Papallacta is a very good hot springs, but it's just a hot springs.

- Climb a mountain if you are so inclined. Cotopaxi is feasible for the average person. Pichincha is right there, and the teleferiqo gets you halfway up. Quilotoa is gorgeous.

- Drink fresh juice multiple times per day. Passion fruit (maracuya) was my favorite, but also try guanabana, taxo, and tomate de arbol (a sweet tomato). Maracuya margaritas are delicious too!

- Get smoothies too (with milk). I was told that borojo is an aphrodisiac, but can only confirm that it has a very earthy flavor that reminded me a bit of fresh mushrooms.

- If you're comfortable with cultural tourism, consider visiting a curandero. Talk to them about whatever you are feeling: muscle and joint pains, congestion, headaches--you can find something. I generally found it to be a very pleasant experience, and an interesting counterpoint to a typical doctor visit. When I had pneumonia, I got a rub-down with herb-infused grain alcohol that felt amazing, followed by a shot. Needless to say I walked out feeling better than when I walked in.

- Buy yourself fresh flowers. At those prices, it's definitely worth it.

- Don't get sucked into looking for "authenticity" when it comes to food. Cheap prices (relative to the local economy) get you cheap ingredients. The more expensive places that I ate at generally weren't especially worth it either. Middle-class spots usually turned out best.

- Under no circumstances should you eat at a Chifa (unless maybe if highly recommended and not cheap).

Ask about socialism, now and in the recent & far past.
Ask also about Venezuelan economic refugees, if any.
(Practice your Spanish before you go.)

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