While I technically stayed six nights in Quito, I was arriving and leaving late so it was really more like five full days. I did feel a little rushed, so if you could swing it and actually spend seven full days there, I think that would be perfect.
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
I was supposed to meet another traveler going to the Secret Garden, but he didn’t wait for me at the arrival area as planned, so I took a taxi into Old Town on my own.
I arrived at about 10PM in the middle of a trivia game at my hostel, Secret Garden. I hiked up the three flights of stairs to the top floor and my presence was announced to a crowd of partying people. Lol.
I was famous the next morning, but after a short wave and smile to the crowd, I quickly checked in, found my dorm, showered, and went to sleep. If I hadn’t been traveling since five that morning I would have joined in the party, but I am too old for that I guess!
Day 2: Exploring Old Town
I took my time waking up, and eating a leisurely breakfast at my hostel on the gorgeous rooftop terrace. Because I had arrived so late the previous night I had no idea how gorgeous the view was up there. Wow! I had to refill my coffee and journal for a while to fully enjoy the view. The conversation with the sexy German guy also helped me drag my feet a little more than I normally would. Sadly the guy was leaving that morning to a sister hostel in the mountains an hour later, so I was still on my own.
I got my cell phone set up and just wandered around old town. I found Calle de la Ronda but it was not exciting during the day. Apparently it is the place to be at night. This is one of those things I wish I had more time to explore.
I came across Dios No Muere, which turned out to be my favorite place to eat in Quito. I really loved the mix of New Orleans Cajun style and food with the local dishes on special. It was also a block away from my favorite cathedral in town, Santo Domingo.
After lunch, I journaled for a bit (I am thinking of getting this one next) at the nearby Iglesia de Santo Domingo and took a few pictures. I loved the colors and (relative) simplicity of this church!
I wandered some more and made my way to Iglesia de San Francisco in Old Town. I don’t really like the gaudy gold-splashed-on-everything style so after a quick look around I made my way up the hill to the eye-catching Basilica at the top of Old Town.
It is quite a steep hill so I took the opportunity to grab some rolls for my early morning breakfast the next day at a random panaderia/bakery. This was a perfect spot for a little breather on the way up the hill, but it started sprinkling as I was leaving.
After paying the entrance fee ($2 I think) I entered the Basilica and began climbing the stairs. There is an elevator, but I like getting a little exercise while on vacation. I loved the stained glass in this place!
I went outside only to see that the rain was picking up speed every minute. I decided to check out the gift shop, write for a bit, and take more pictures to try to wait it out. I really wanted to climb the bell tower, but there was no way that I was climbing up the ladder to get to it in the rain!
When I realized that the rain was not letting up and that everything for sale in the cathedral gift shop and café were seriously overpriced I descended the stairs and made my way back to my hostel. Thankfully I had my umbrella in my day pack!
I had dinner at my hostel and shared a few drinks (I highly recommend the hostel’s Caipirinhas) with two random investment bankers I met that had just got back from the Galapagos. They shared their stories and I shared my hopes for my trip, which would begin the next day. One of them exchanged Facebook info with me and seemed very enthusiastic about visiting me in Venezuela.
Haha, I will believe it when I see it!
Day 3: Arrival from Guayaquil
Again I arrived after dark, so I mostly hung out at the hostel terrace bar and chatted with other travelers and planned the upcoming days. I had intended on going to a fancy restaurant in town but the reservation system was funky and they never answered their phone when I called! Good thing the food was so good at the hostel!
I wanted to go to El Panecillo ever since I arrived at my hostel (you can see the statue sitting on the top of the hill from my hostel), but nobody wanted to go and everyone said that it is something that you should not venture to on your own.
Yet another reason to return to Quito!
Day 4: Mitad del Mundo
I will post more about this next week as it was a really nice day trip. Basically, I woke up at a normal hour, made friends with two other travelers, caught up with a friend I had made the night before, and we hired a taxi driver to take us to Mitad del Mundo.
Day 5: Mindo
This was a full day trip (and many people stay there for a few days) so I will be writing more about the butterflies, zip-lining, and tasting adventures I had in Mindo next week.
Day 6: Otavalo
Again, another huge highlight of my time in Ecuador was this fabulous day trip to, what seems to me, to be the shopping capital of Ecuador. Expect to hear more about this soon!
Day 7: Depart Ecuador
I had another insanely early flight so I had my Otavalo driver from the day before pick me up in la madrugada (daybreak/dawn) to bring me to the airport.
As you can see, I was quite busy! I was very thankful to have found Secret Garden Hostel in Quito because it was so close to everything. I truly adored Quito and would looooovvvveee to live there one day.