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We too will be traveling to the Galapagos with a day before and after at the Mariott. On the last day, we would like to tour Quito with an English speaking guide. Any suggestions. We are a family of 3 adults, 1 teenager. Is it best to go through the hotel concierge service??

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1. Re: Quito

My husband and I had a couple extra days before our Galapagos tour. We hired a guide one day to do a city tour, and one day to do a tour of the surrounding area.

The first day we did a Quito city tour - we saw the San Francisco Plaza, Independence Plaza, El Panecillo (a hilltop overlook), and the museum at the equator. That tour cost $32 per person for the two of us, plus tip.

Our favorite restaurant in Quito was Mama Clorinda - we enjoyed eating local foods there like the empanadas, lochre de papa soup, goat stew, cuy (guinea pig).

The second day we used the same guide to drive to Otavalo market with several stops along the way. Otavalo has the reputation of being one of the best markets in South America. We were there on Monday instead of the busiest day, Saturday. But, we still found plenty of nice things to buy! We found a beautiful weaving of herons made with natural dyes. We also found an alpaca sweater, and other items.

On the way to Otavalo, we stopped in the town of Calderon to see some of the famous bread dough figures made there. We got a beautiful llama decorated with roses. We stopped at a roadside stand to try a new fruit - delicious chirimoya. In Cayamba we stopped for another snack of biscochos; we found a favorite treat of guayaba there. We drove through the beautiful Guayllabamba river valley. We went to beautiful Cuicocha Lake. Our last stop on the way back was the town of Cotacachi, where we popped into several leather shops to search for good deals. That day's tour cost $45 per person, plus big tip. We left at 8 and returned around 7.

The prices we were charged were for just the two of us; I bet that the rates would be better for a larger group. He has a comfortable SUV that he uses for the tours. It would fit one person in front and three in the back seat.

We really liked our guide, Alfredo Carrera. His email address is alficm@yahoo.es and his cell is 097070906. We highly recommend him! His English was perfect. He has a lot of knowledge about the area - politics, plants, Indian culture. He is fluent in Quichua. Very cool, smart guy!

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2. Re: Quito

Metropolitan Tours, which is a travel agency offers some really nice tours. I think a city tour is an excellent idea. We went on one once with a bunch of friends and the historical info was fantastic. You should also consider the teleferico. I am shure your kids would enjoy it. Your hotel can be of assistance in booking tours.

3. Re: Quito

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