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Filter By Tag: Quito
  • La Floresta Gets Café-Trendy in Quito

    I grew up in Quito and then left at adolescence. And while I was gone (about 15 years), it changed monumentally. Almost a million more people moved into the city, for one thing.  It doubled in size. Back then, in the 80s, it was a small town. It felt like it, at least. Of course, it has always been the capital of the country, but there was absolutely no traffic throughout its northern half, where I lived at the time (I can’t say the same, today). And there were virtually no trendy cafés.

  • Cotopaxi: Nature’s Prodigious Son

    Mountain Cotopaxi (5897 m) rises spectacularly along the Eastern cordillera of the Andes mountains chain. Its beautiful conical shape and perpetual snow make it one of the most coveted visitor sites in Ecuador, and it makes sense that it would be. Only an hour and a half drive from the capital, Quito, the slopes of this prodigy of nature couldn’t be more accessible and offer unparalleled adventure on one of the highest points on our planet. Click here for a chance to win an 8-day adventure for two in Ecuador!

  • Quito: What Makes a World Wonder

    Quito was the first city in the world, together with Krakow (Poland), to be recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978. It is, of course, a little like calling Quito a ‘wonder city’ – coincidentally, we might add, Quito has also been considered a finalist in the 7 Wonder Cities of the World shortlist – and attests to the fact that its uniqueness makes it one of the most special urban centers on our planet. Here are only some of the reasons:

  • San Francisco Church in Quito

    One Friar Jodoco Ricke, a Flemish priest who arrived in the city shortly after its foundation, would eventually begin construction of San Francisco Church in the mid-1500s. Together with another Flemish priest, Friar Pedro Gosseal, a painter, they would create the San Andrés art school for native artisans. The school would be essential to the development of what is known today as the Quito School (Escuela Quiteña), one of the most prestigious religious colonial art legacies in the Americas.

  • 6 Things to Bring Back from Ecuador

    Of course, this list is completely arbitrary. I’ve also tried not to be too mainstream. I don’t want to be like everyone else out there, so I’ve decided to ignore Otavalo for now (I shall revisit, worry not) and speak of signature items that represent Ecuador’s exciting cultural heritage in a more contemporary, off-beat way. Each item is from a different corner of the country.

    Six is a short list, but hey, it’s a good start!

  • Ecuador: Green Masterpiece

    Ecuador is a great place to see green. From its patchwork valleys and hillsides to its broad diversity of forests, the entire country is filled with green color. From the moment you leave its urban areas, vegetation begins to display its palate onto every landscape. Here are some photos of this green masterpiece. 

  • Casa Gangotena: Quito’s Heritage in Form and Flavor

    Casa Gangotena, the residence, has for centuries shared the square with Quito’s oldest Spanish construction, the awesome San Francisco church complex. A 3.5-hectare enclosure is probably the largest in South America (or close to it). It was born only days after the city’s foundation in 1534. A handful of years ago, the Franciscan Order’s next door neighbors sold their heritage home, which would be restored and turned into a glorious hotel that (talk about location!) looms over Quito’s very first square, very first church, very first water fountain, very first streets… this is the heart of Spanish America. So staying at one of Casa Gangotena’s 31 unique rooms is a treat with a deeper historic premise.

  • Drinking from the Volcano: Papallacta’s Thermal Springs

    Papallacta is only about an hour from Quito by car, and some 30 minutes from Quito’s new international airport, as one makes their way towards the eastern slope of the Andean mountain range. Continue along some 3 hours on the same highway and you reach the Amazonian rainforest basin. Papallacta, however, lies somewhat higher in elevation, but its natural dimension is breathtaking nonetheless, and its proximity is even more of a reason to visit, even if your stay in Quito isn’t long.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    72 Hours in Quito

    Day One: Old Town

    8 AM: Wake up to a leisurely breakfast at Casona de la Ronda, the boutique hotel located along old town’s iconic, cobblestone street.  After some traditional helpings of local fare, mixed with international dishes, and a great cup of coffee, take a walk.  Depart to the west, exiting La Ronda onto the 24 de Mayo Plaza until you reach Benalcazar Street.  Turn right and head toward the Plaza San Francisco. Other hotels in old town: Casa San Marcos, Casa Gangotena, Hotel Patio Andaluz, Hotel Plaza Grande.

  • The Museum of Manuela Saenz: The Liberator of the Liberator

    A long time ago in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, I visited what I thought was the house of William Shakespeare.  It was not.  It was the cottage of Anne Hathaway, his wife.  I assumed that surely he must have lived there, why else would it be an attraction?   And if the letdown were not enough, the tour guide let a little more air from my bubble by commenting, “actually, it was not Anne’s house either.  It belonged to her father and then her brother.”  (though she did live in it).

  • Quito Urban Art 2013

    Quito is a little more colorful starting this month, but don’t be surprised if you fail to take notice.  Even though the new urban art project launched for 2013 covers nearly 4,000 square meters of public space (painted on bridges, cross walks, tunnels and walls), many people seem not to notice it.

  • Photo: FEEP

    Train Crucero: Ecuador’s Luxury Railway

    The world often associates luxury and class with speed and sleekness. But along a 447 kilometer stretch of railway that snakes through the Andes Mountains and coastal plains of Ecuador, high class travel has begun to be redefined.

    A symbol of man’s triumph over nature, the Ecuadorean train was a nearly forgotten, historic achievement until it was resurrected and enthusiastically restored over the past four years by the national government.

  • Welcome to the Equator…Both of Them!

    Visiting the Equator is one of the original tourism attractions of Ecuador that never seems to lose its charm.  But once visitors arrive at the “Mitad del Mundo” (Middle of the World), about 30 minutes from north-central Quito, they should not be surprised to find two Equators.

  • Re-Discovering Quito: The Rural Parishes

    When tourists come to Quito they often visit the central historical district, the tourism district known as the Mariscal, and some of the other attractions around the northern half of the city.  But the largest part of Quito–the rural area–often goes unnoticed and unexplored.

  • Photo: Cuenca Tourism Foundation

    Touring the Archaeological Sites of the Andes

    It is one of the reason travelers migrate to Mexico and Cuzco: the stamp of times past in the ruins of civilizations long gone.

    The dominant civilizations of the Americas have left legacies that are the source of hundreds of thousands of visits every year.   The Mayan pyramids of Chichen Itza and the mystical remains at Maccu Pichu are almost unmatched in their majesty.  But the Incas and those who came before have also left a trail of fascinating discoveries in Ecuador.

  • Photo: Cafe Velez

    Ecuadorean Coffee in Quito

    There would seem to be two ways to approach coffee in Ecuador. We recommend you try both.

    First, is the old fashioned way

    Café Aguila de Oro has been selling Ecuadorian roasted coffee beans in Quito since 1948. The small shop on Benalcazar Street near the Presidential Palace in old town is owned by Vinicio Morales and his wife Teresa Vizueta. The only electronic device in Café Aguila de Oro is a digital clock on the wall. The measuring scale, cash register, and some of their grinders and roasters were new when the store opened 65 years ago. The equipment – remnants from a simpler time – attests to an equally simple formula for success that still works today.

  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    Quito’s Cucuruchos Serve a Traditional Treat

    They are an odd sight even when expected.  The Curuchos –dressed in purple robes, masked from head to toe, and wearing a large cone on their head – are part of Quito’s Easter, celebratory tradition.  The cones symbolize humility and the color purple, penitence.

  • Photo: Quito Turismo

    Holy Week in Quito

    There are a few events every year in Quito that bring hundreds of thousands of people together: Ecuadorean Independence (August 9-10th), the Fiestas of Quito (December  6th), and Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week.

    Holy Week (happening the last week of March) is the only one that allows visitors to witness Quito’s significant expressions of faith. Below we explain the significance of the celebrations and where they can be observed.

  • Photo: Ileana Viteri Gallery

    Art Encounters in Quito

    Great art is not only to be found in the halls of Europe´s great museums.  Latin America has an art tradition dating back almost half a millennium, influenced in part by the great masters of the old world.  And stemming from that tradition, Latin America, and Ecuador in particular, have produced renowned modern artists as well.

  • Ecuador – Beyond the Traditional Tours

    Ecuador in many minds is known mostly for its Galapagos Islands and within Ecuador, Quito and Guayaquil are typically associated as gateways to connect to the Galapagos. Two different cities – one in the heart of the Andean region – rich in Colonial art, history and architecture and one in the Pacific Coast  – a tropical port city that has done so much to re-emerge as a modern and welcoming city.  Both cities are known for their friendly people and are only 30 minutes apart by air.

  • Ecuadorian Ceviche

    From Mexico to Chile, the Latin American countries of the Pacific Rim are not only linked by the common body of water, but a specific culinary tradition: Ceviche.

    Ceviche (also spelled cebiche) is a dish which can be served as an appetizer or a main meal. It is traditionally a seafood dish with a distinct citric-based sauce, usually lime, and served cold with accompaniments.

    If you have been to Peru you may assume, incorrectly, that ceviche in Ecuador will be similar. Not so. Peruvian ceviche is prepared fresh, the fish is raw and marinated only with lime. In Ecuador, it is more like a chilled soup.

  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    Quito’s New, Modern Airport

    Beginning February 20, travelers to Quito will have an arrival experience like nothing previously known in Ecuador.  Under planning for more than a decade and in construction for half that time (with four major delays) Quito’s newly relocated Mariscal Sucre Airport is full of paradoxes and there are a few things travelers should know.

  • Sugary & Festive – Christmas Treats in Ecuador

    Christmas season brings out the sweet tooth in everyone and the people of Ecuador are no exception.  These four desserts can be enjoyed throughout the year but are fancied even more during the holidays.  There are variations on the presentation and preparation of each, but today’s recipes come from Chef Pablo Zambrano of the Hilton Colon Hotel and his book 111 Platos Populares del Ecuador.  You can find these treats at the Hilton’s Café Colon or Sal & Pimienta Restaurant.  Throughout the city you will find these same treats in many restaurants and bakeries.

  • Photo: City of Quito

    The Nativities of Quito

    If there is one thing to understand about Quito, it is that this city is historically a deeply religious one.  From its colonial past to the present day, celebrations and traditions this time of year are often derived from Christianity’s most cherished story – the birth of Christ.

    During December the Christmas story is not only told through the popular tradition of the Novena–nine days of praying and celebrating the meaning of Christmas, often in the homes of family and friends–but the story plays out visually in the mounting of Nativity scenes large and small, traditional and contemporary, and offers a ubiquitous spectacle of a timeless tradition.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    Christmas in Quito

    Aside from the multiple displays of great nativity scenes throughout the city, Quito is host to a number of activities that can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.  Here are some events you may wish to be a part of:


    Christmas Tours aboard the Quito Tour Bus

    Everyday at 9:00 a.m.

    –        2 hour tour through Quito aboard the double-decker tour bus

    –        Stop in the Plaza Grande to observe the Passing of the Child ritual

    –        Christmas ballet show

    –        Warm drink and Christmas candy bag included

    –        $16 for adults / $12 for everyone else

  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    Sugary-sweet adventures in Quito

    She points to a caramel colored treat: “This is ‘caca de perro.”

    Yes, you heard her correctly… dog poop.  It is a common site in downtown Quito where many ladies will try to sell it to you.  Just get past the name and give it a try.  These kernels of corn cooked with panela (unrefined sugar) and a few other ingredients like chocolate and vanilla extract, are one of Quito’s most famous candies.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    Get Ready for Fiestas de Quito

    Though already marked by controversy with the canceling of Quito’s quintessential act of celebration, the bullfights, this year’s “Fiestas de Quito” will still have more than 450 events held during the next three weeks for residents and visitors alike.

    Fiestas de Quito is the capital city’s celebration to honor its founding, officially marked as December 6, 1534 when 204 Spanish conquerors entered the city where the Spanish would remain for three centuries during their colonial reign. Though the Spanish many years ago, their influence has remained to the present day. Though the diminishing cultural spectacle of the “toros” would seem a significant blow to the city, ever since the 1960s Quito’s annual celebration has grown in ways previously unimaginable.

  • Photo: Minstry of Tourism Ecuador

    Graveyard Tourism

    With Halloween and the Day of the Dead quickly approaching, the macabre spirit in all of us is beginning to bloom, right? Well, if not, perhaps we can foster a little admiration for the dark side, which is surprisingly not always so dark in Ecuador.

    Cemeteries, apart from serving their functional purpose, also offer great tourism attractions throughout the world. Think of Arlington Cemetery in Washington, the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, or Venice’s San Michele, and the Recoleta in Buenos Aires.

  • Photo: Theatrum

    Tasting Quito

    It is only a matter of time before travelers come to Quito simply for the food.  A famous chef from Venezuela has told me several times that the most varied cuisine on the continent, and perhaps the world, is found in Ecuador.

    There are two ways you can discover the richness of Ecuadorian cuisine.  One is by seeking out the traditional or typical foods.  The other way is seeking out traditions that may not be so typical, but use Ecuador’s great products.

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