It's a simple question, why go to Quito, Ecuador? The capital of Ecuador is located high in the mountains over 9,000 feet above sea level. The community is sprawling over the mountain range like sand on a beach. When hiking up to one of the many parks or mountain peaks you can see how massive this city is. Looking down you feel a bit insignificant in this place, realizing you are one of over 2 million people enjoying the spoils of what Quito has to offer.
Apartment buildings rise over parks; parks that could rival Central Park in New York City; office buildings line major roads where there is a constant stream of taxi horns beeping at other cars, public buses, and people crossing the street. Street performers practice their craft in between red lights. Sword throwers hangout with people dressed as cartoon characters, and dogs acrobats show off their jumping skills with the owners. The street is their stage at least until the light turns green.
Entertainment is not only found at stop lights. Each pocket of the city offers something completely unique from it's neighbor. Walking the cobble stone streets in the historic district throws you back in time where hills lead up to ancient steps, they stretch up to one of dozens of Spanish influenced cathedrals in the area. Lucky for you the majority of them are free to wander, worship , or just to get lost in the corridors as the Virgin Mary looks over.
The churches of Quito are a living reminders of the past. Showing you in real time how people once lived, worshiped, but also saving history for future generations. What can't be found in a church can certainly be found in one of the many free museums in Quito. I took an afternoon to check out the National Museum of Ecuador otherwise known as NuMa. A brand new, state of the art, interactive facility that showcases the art, culture, and history of the Ecuadorian people. You will be immersed in interactive displays that are in both English and Spanish. Modern art is placed next to ancient artifacts; here you can see how the culture evolved into todays society. Spending just a few hours there will open up your mind and heart to the Ecuador's past, present, and future.
There is a reason people have been living here for centuries. High above the world Quito offers exceptional weather. June to August are what many have said are the best months to visit. I can certainly agree. Cool during the mornings and evenings, but the day turns warm with full sunshine. Ecuador is not lacking in outdoor adventure or experiences. In a day you can visit several spaces that can lead you high above the city such as Metropolitiano where you could hike for hours in nature, only occasionally seeing another person. There are parks that rival New York City's, Central Park. Paddle boats, BMX ramps, skate parks, and botanical gardens can all be found within Parque Carolina. This is just one example!
Hours, even days can be spent in and around all of the public spaces Quito has to offer. Getting to the outlying areas such as Mindo and Banos is as easy as hopping on a local but for as little at $3.00. Traveling alone is not for everyone; groups leave from Quito to explore the outskirts of the city daily. Honestly you will never be alone in this city. Meeting locals and expats is as easy as sitting in one of the many coffee shops or awesome pubs. Even hiking solo you will come across others that are willing to hike with you or just sit and chat.
Spending four weeks in Quito was not enough time to explore everything I wanted. This area and the entire country has so much to offer ever walk of life. Go and explore the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, the snowy top of Cotopaxi, or just soak up the culture in the capital, Quito. Traveling solo around the world has taken me to many places, none compare to Ecuador. Ecuador will forever hold a special place in my memories.