Getting to Quito was not the most pleasant experience! I’ll say this; United Airlines was less than accommodating and I’m becoming less and less impressed with them the more I fly with them. They gave away our seats on our connection and did nothing to help us deplane before the other passengers when our connecting flight left in 10 minutes. The flight attendant even went as far as to tell me that I should have booked a longer connection (as if the airline didn’t make these pairings themselves)! And when I wrote the airline to complain about the lack of customer service, I got a canned response.
When we finally got to Quito it was almost midnight, not to mention that the airport is about an hour from the city center. We arrived a day early for our tour, since airfare was cheaper, so we needed a hotel for the evening. I chose Hotel Casa Bianca because of the location (near a seemingly popular area called La Mariscal Square), price, and trip advisor ratings. Unfortunately, our troubles that evening (well, morning) didn’t end with the poor customer service on United. First off, we couldn’t find our hotel. We drove around in a taxi forever and finally stopped at the Hilton to ask for help; or if they, by chance, had a room for 3 (I found that in Ecuador, even if they have two queen sized beds, they call that a double room for two). The Hilton was $350 for the night, compared to the $40.18 we were going to pay Casa Bianca, so we decided to keep looking. By the time we found our hotel it was boarded up for the night and no guests were allowed in or out. (Apparently, the hotel wasn’t in as nice of a neighborhood as I thought).
Officially homeless for the evening, my sister Kelsie was starting to get worried (this was her first international trip, after all). Our cab driver suggested an area for us to stay and we were amenable as we were creeping in on daylight. He took us to the entertainment district, still La Mariscal, but in the Plaza Foch. I ran into a hotel whose name I had seen in my searches, Nu House Boutique Hotel, and begrudgingly paid the $269 fee (it would have been $115 had I booked in advance).
A Day in Quito
We had the entire first day to explore on our own, so we headed to Teleferico, a cable car that takes you 13,297 feet above the city.
The rest of the day we spent wandering around Old Town Quito and Calle La Ronda.
We got lost going the wrong way looking for Calle La Ronda and picked up a straggling male. He took to my sister since she was the only one paying attention. (Apparently begging in Quito consists of kissey faced stalking)! We stopped in the noisiest place on Calle La Ronda and ordered some wine. It just so happened that the wine was warm and served in shot glasses, that’s a first! We also ordered one of the giant fry breads that everyone around us was enjoying and discovered a grainy cheese inside!
We rounded out our day by enjoying a traditional Ecuadorian dinner. Ecuadorian cuisine consists of lots of fish and meat and is fairly bland, they don’t salt anything. And even though ceviche is popular, I found out that it’s not so great everywhere you go. An Ecuadorian meal isn’t complete without plantains, popcorn and a toasted corn kernels & lime juice ceviche appetizer!
This post was written by one of FWTG’s contributors, Crystal Doro.