We spent in total two weeks in Ecuador before heading south in pursuit of the southern hemisphere summer. We know that we are returning in July, so we didn’t feel rushed to hit every touristic spot. Before arriving we read a lot of frightening travel advice that we should be wary of pick pockets, robbery schemes, that it wouldn’t be safe to walk around at night, and bag slashing. Luckily, we didn’t come across any of those and after spending two weeks in Ecuador, it feels a lot safer than any reading made us think.
Granted, we are three people traveling instead of solo travelers. There is definitely safety in numbers. Also, we are fairly well-traveled individuals. We know not to be flashy with money, and to keep our valuables in front pockets and out of easy-access pockets.
I found Quito to be wonderfully friendly. The Spanish is slow and easy to understand. The locals were extremely friendly.
We stepped into one craft gallery and chatted with the owner for over an hour in Spanish/English. He ended up being a good friend over the next few days. Offering us company at a festival (which was cancelled due to rain) and taking us to a local restaurant for the best ceviche in town. His shop is located in the Mariscal District and is called Casa Mariscal. He is a great example of responsible businessmen. His shop is full of crafts from locals and he only sells things of good quality.
Of course, no traveling for me would be complete without playing some frisbee. Jeff actually knew someone from Ithaca who was now living in Quito and semi-organizing the frisbee there. The team is a mishmash of immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, and had very few Ecuadorians. The level of ultimate was pretty fair, but definitely plagued by individuals wanting to be the star and not putting in effort on defense. Overall it was a fun group to play with. They stacked way to deep, which made me look like a freakin’ super star being able to get open under quite easily.
The next time we played with them we went to a Caroline park at 9am on a Sunday morning. When we arrived the place was already packed full of people jogging and playing games. We set up a field and started playing, but not even two points were scored before a group of local soccer players just set up their field around us.
That’s right. They literally just put their field where we were playing already.
This caused quite a kerfuffle. Everyone was yelling at everyone in Spanish (I understood some swear words!). From what I understood, the soccer players were saying they’ve been playing there every Sunday for 20 years. Ultimate players said that they were here first. It was resolved an hour later and with no less than 5 police men. We were supposed to compromise and share the fields, but the ultimate players definitely were shafted.
The other thing that we did in Quito was climb to see the Virgin of Quito. This is a huge statue that also offers an excellent view of the city. We walked from Basilica de Voto Nacional, but apparently we walked through some rough neighborhoods and it is not recommended. This may explain why people kept trying to help us. If you were to walk there, follow the main road that the busses use until you see a police office. Walk up the stairs by the police office. We were told the other stairs were peligroso by a nice man in a truck.
After Quito we travelled to Mindo via a bus from Terminal Ofelia fro $3.10. It was wonderfully full of hummingbirds, toucans, and butterflies.
Even people in Ecuador protest Trump!