I should have been tired after a two hour flight, two hour layover, and five hour flight, finally arriving in Quito at 11:30 p.m., but all I could feel was the excitement. It was chillier than I was expecting (whenever I hear equator I automatically picture a tropical paradise), but my friend from Quito had warned me, so I had the proper pants and jacket to keep me warm and dry. The airport was by no means empty, but not nearly as busy as Atlanta had been. The further we got from the airport the more lights we came upon until we could see the twinkling of Quito. The orange and yellow dots splashed up onto the mountains like grains of sand washed onto the beach.
We crossed the threshold of the city and began to hear what would become one of my sharpest memories: car horns. As I would come to learn in the following days, driving in Quito is not for the faint of heart. You must be aggressive enough to cut off another car (even a bus), slam on your breaks to avoid being hit after being cut off yourself, and be willing to stop two lanes of traffic just to make a u-turn. By the end of the week, I had become desensitized to the honking, instead being unnerved by any silence in the street.
Needless to say, I was never brave enough to get behind the wheel. Fortunately for me, Cabify or Uber was able to get me anywhere I needed to go at a good price. Gas is not nearly as expensive in Ecuador as it is in America, so transportation was probably where I saved the most money during my week in and around Quito. Making incredible memories and discoveries along the way, I dove into the geography, economy, culture, and traditions of the capital city and the country as a whole.
Walk, climb, and ride beside me on a journey that left a lasting impression on me and one that I hope will encourage you to find your own path, whether it leads to Quito or an unknown destination. You have to expand your borders to make room for new growth and if you let it, travel can help you grow more than you ever thought possible. A small part of my growth will be revealed in the coming weeks, reflected in the stories connected to each place I visited while in Quito.
- Papallacta Volcanic Pools
- Mitad Del Mundo
- Intiñan Museum (The Middle of the World)
- Mercado La Mariscal
- Quito’s Historic City Center
- Jardín Botánico de Quito (Botanical Garden of Quito)
- Cotopaxi National Park
If you do find yourself in Quito, I hope my tips and recommendations will make you feel better prepared and give you a good place to start. Where your adventure ends is up to you!