We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

pleasehelp on what to do?

Which Quito hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
OKC
Level Contributor
405 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
pleasehelp on what to do?

we are a gorup of 7 people. 4 are seniors, 2 are 30ish and one 2 years old baby. We are going to fly from guayaquil to quito in May, and we have 5 days to spend there. We are thinking to spend 2-3 days in quito and 2-3 days in lago san pablo.

questions:

what will be a good hotel to stay in quito, budget is 150 for the group per night. We don't have car because friends has told us that is better to get a taxi. is this true?

what should we do during those days in quito?

can we hire a taxi to take us to ibarra and bring us back to quito after 2 days? is that something realistic to get it done?

please help

Cuenca, Ecuador
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

Hi,

I'll take a stab at this (in terms of age - your group is pretty diverse!). Unfortunately I can't comment on Lago San Pablo because I've never been there.

Check out La Casa Sol Hostel in the Mariscal District (http://www.lacasasol.com/) for a place to stay. I've never stayed there but I've heard lots of good things about it and the prices are good. Since it's in the Mariscal District you're close to lots of shopping like the artisan market. And your friend is right, it's much better to hire a taxi than renting a car (I wouldn't attempt it in the city!). It's also pretty cheap too ($5 or $6 will get you quite far).

From the Mariscal District you can take a taxi to the historic centre of the city and check out the La Basilica and possibly head up to see the Virgin of Quito (El Panecillo).

You could also go on the Teleferico which is a cable car that takes you up Pichincha for a breathtaking view of the city.

It is possible to hire a car to take you to Ibarra and then pick you up in a couple of days. Do you know where you're going to be staying there? Often the place you stay at will have drivers or know of someone to hire. Or you could contact a travel agent in Quito and ask them to reccomend someone. The driver will probably cost around $100 round trip.

On the way to Ibarra you could tie in stopping at Mitad del Mundo (Centre of the World - the equator). You may save yourelf a bit of cash/time by doing it together.

Hope this info helps. Have a good time!

Ningaboop

Albuquerque, NM USA
Level Contributor
27 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

The best way to plan for your trip is to buy the Lonley Planet Ecuador book. It has answers to all your questions. You will probably want to stay in Otavalo (next to Lago San Pablo), but three days is way too long there. Check out the Lonley Planet book. Every tourist in Quito walks around with one.

Quito
Level Contributor
101 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

I will take your questions one at a time:

1. I am assuming that you will be looking at 2 double rooms. If that is the case, La Mariscal district (La Casa del Sol) may be a little loud for your group. I would recommend either the Hotel Quito or the Marriott (A friend just got a rate of $80/night -- try Expedia). Both of these hotels are in nice areas and you could walk to La Mariscal from the Marriott. The Swiss Hotel is also an option but I am not sure the price per night. The Swiss Hotel and the Hotel Quito are quite near to some very nice restaurants.

2. A car is not necessary in Quito. Rentals are expensive and Ecuador is not known for good roads or signs. Taxis are very cheap. From the airport to any of the above hotels is no more than $6. You will need 2 taxis. Within the city that should be the most you will pay to get to any of the tourist sites. You should be comfortable using the taxis because they all have meters and a tip is really not expected.

To get outside of the city you will want to hire a driver with a van. I can recommend Antonio 097804540 (mobile number). He speaks perfect English and I have used his services and have been very happy. If he is unavailable, your hotel will be able to help you with transportation.

3. Suggested itinerary:

Day 1 (Not Sunday) Visit Old Town. Tour the Carondolet (Ecuador's White House), the Catedral, La Compania (the "gold" church located on Garcia Moreno), the museum at the San Francisco Church, and the Museo de la Cuidad. Eat lunch at either Patio Andaluz or Hotel Plaza Grande. In the afternoon, take a taxi to either the Fundacion Guayasamin or the Capilla del Hombre. www.guayasamin.com/pages_ing/index.html

Day 2 Visit the equator. Hire a driver and visit the Mitad del Mundo AND IntiNan. If you are interested, read "the Mapmaker's Wife" by Robert Whitaker for the history of the mapping of the equator by the French. For excellent seafood, empanadas and fresh fruit juices I recommend Las Empanadas del Foch on 12 de Octubre and Mariscal Foch.

Day 3 Take a ride up the Teleferico to the refuge of Pichincha. Don't forget your jackets as it is very cold up there. If you're tired of Ecuadorian food, I highly recommend, La Bricciola, Toledo 1255 y Luis Cordero. It is my favorite restaurant in Quito.

4. Lago San Pablo is very nice and just down the road from Otovalo. You can definitely hire a driver to take you there and pick you up. Or you can ask the hotel at the lake for a transfer back to Quito. It is a beautiful area with lots to do.

Enjoy your trip to Ecuador!

OKC
Level Contributor
405 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

thanks a lot for your answers,

Can someone comment on hotel san francisco de quito, I have heard good things about it.

thanks

CHARLOTTE
Level Contributor
820 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

Hello OKC: I would not stay in Quito for 2-3 days. Just a big city. Suggest you search the web for hotels. Also, I strongly advise that you do not attempt to rent a car and drive. If you want to go to Otavalo and that area by taxi at a very good price call Taxi Lagos at 2565 992 in Quito. This taxi is about $7.5 to $8. or so per person and I recommend this instead of the bus. I have taken both with no problems. The taxi will actually pick you up at the hotel if you call the day before and tell them what time you want to go. A good place to stay in Otavalo is the Ali Shungu, staffed by Ecuadorans but owned by 2 gringos. Very clean, the restaurant is very good, and the hotel is nice. A double room was $40.00 last year there. Look for them on the web. I would advise the Otavalo area since there is more to do, for example, the market, Ibarri, the white city just 23 miles away, Cotacachi, the leather city is just 7 miles away and can be done quite easily by bus or taxi. The lake there in top of the volcan is beautiful and there is a hotel near the top, Las Pinos which is very nice and good. I hope this helps some. Have a good trip and if someone appears to be too nice, there is probably something they want. Be aware of your surroundings, don't walk alone, esp. at night, stay in well lit areas, stay away from parks unless there are lots of people around, take a taxi to the restaurants in Quito. Otavalo is very safe. Frank in Charlotte

los angeles
Level Contributor
1 post
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

If you rent a car to travel north of Quito, you should go to Otavalo and Cotacachi. Otavalo (approx 90 mins north of Quito) is known for its Alpaca goods and local handicraft (artesanias). Cotacachi (approx 15 mins north of Otavalo) is known for its leather goods. Enjoy your shopping. During your drive to Otavalo stop and try the "Bizcochos" and "Queso de Hoja"

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,248 posts
227 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

for local feel, look into hostal santa barbara, a small guesthouse in between the old and new towns, about $60 for a double with good tripadvisor reviews, where we will be staying pre and psot-cruise; casa sol lately has been getting poor tripadvisor reviews; the Marriott is nice-we will also be staying there as part of our cruise package, but typically $170 night, unless there is a sr. rate which is slightly lower and which you may or may not qualify for.

As for quito, I would think 2 days would give you a good feel for the city-there is an inexpensive city tour offered by the city and it starts in the old town. Beyond that, Ottavalo is best on Saturdays when the weekend market is in play. If you like crafts, you can do it independently or take a tour to several nearby villages. Alternatively,spend a few days in a cloudforest like Mindo, as we plan to do, or visit cuenca, 1 hour plane ride from quito.

Fuerteventura
Destination Expert
for Fuerteventura, Paros, Sifnos
Level Contributor
3,372 posts
792 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

I agree with artnuvo

From my research, from Quito, Mindo seems to be a unique place as possibly is Banos. Quenca is a bit far though there are regular cheap flights.

We are going for Mindo, Banos and Cuenca in 10 days, with two days in Quito.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,248 posts
227 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

re mindo-there was robbery of guests at a lodge on the outskirts of mindo during early March-a press release from the Ministry of Tourism highlights the robbery but lacks details- here are the details which are not deterring us from our trip there in July but, I would suggest as with other remorte areas, if you are hiking/birding, hire a guide as an extra precaution:

Dear Bruce-

We were a party of 12 together with our guide and driver, staying in a fairly isolated lodge on the outskirts of Mindo. Sitting down to dinner we were surprised by several masked men entering the dining room carrying machetes and knives and one unmasked gun man carrying a small pistol. The guide and driver, together with the lodge staff were then thrown to the floor and tied up , while we sat at the table, were instructed to put our hands on our heads, and the 'bandits' proceeded to rob us all individually, taking, jewelry, money, cameras etc and 2 passports, although I felt the passports were incidental losses as they specifically threw others away. We were then tied up while they went to our rooms, as we thought , as they had taken our keys. It took a considerable time to raise the police ( one woman had managed to kick her bag under the table) as I understand the 911 code does not function in that area. Our guide raised the police through a contact in Quito. The initial local police response was poor, appearing casual since they believed we were all insured and it was no big deal, and we had to press hard to get them to fill out the necessary paperwork. We then went back to Quito, arriving 6am the next morning. Our tour company Explore, was informed as was the land agent via Natura. The response from Explore was brilliant ( a representative was on the way by the following day together with a psychologist) but we felt the local land agent was trying to hush it up to avoid any detriment to future tourism - indeed our guide was afraid he would be sacked when we insisted we were not going to allow it to go away quietly. We indicated we were in touch with the press back in the UK and when they realised that we were not about to allow any other tourists to walk into Mindo unaware of what had happened they knew they had to take us seriously.

Accordingly the meeting was arranged that you read about on the tourism page. We felt that as a result of that meeting things started to happen and a very real effort was made to detect the criminals with 2 of them in custody before we left, and knowledge as to the identity of the other 6. Some property was also returned, albeit in a useless state, but it proved they were indeed on to the right perpetrators. It would seem they were all quite amateur local people and it was in fact an 'inside job' with a number of the lodge staff actively involved ( they had allegedly not been paid for 3 months) and a local birding guide. Without a doubt word would have spread within the close community as to the fact that the police had caught the 2 and the others were being sought and I have no doubt the system out there is so harsh as to act as a deterrent to others. The authorities claimed all along this was the first time anything like this had ever happened ( although many individual episodes of theft/kidnapping had) especially in Mindo which had always been considered a very safe destination. We continued with out trip, albeit with addtional security in the remote area of the Amazon, and had a great time. The rest of the people were fine, the scenery beautiful and I would not want to have missed it. All of us stayed and we all agreed were glad we did so.

Would I go again- yes- crime is everywhere and no where can be considered totally safe and I know there is now extra security in and around Mindo which should prevent any re-occurence in the near future. However I would be more careful about my personal security, not just in S.America but anywhere I go in future( I have visited 45 countries on my travels). I would not wear any jewelry at all, including a wedding ring, and dress very simply and leave money etc in a safe where possible and spead my money about my person if obliged to carry it at all times. ( We saw a number of Americans sporting great diamond rocks on numerous occasions) I would make sure I had a copy of all phone numbers ( mine were lost with my personal phone) and take out the sim card between use and if not feasible certainly make sure it had a security code in use to lock the key pad. I would also have a photocopy of my passport.

All in all we considered that though slow initially the national police and ministry response was very good and that real efforts were underway to make changes to ensure as far as possible that Ecuador is safe for tourists and Mindo in particular. I don't think you should let this put you off your trip. If my daughter wished to go there I would just urge her to take the precautions I have outlined and most of all to give up anything willingly- no possessions are worth dying for- even though I managed to hide my waist wallet initially becuase I didn't want to give in, I lost it in the end and it was lucky that they didn't punish me for trying to hide it!

Hope this has been of some help

regards Carolyn Scotton

new york
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: pleasehelp on what to do?

Hi as stated before you are a diverse group, as far as a place to stay I would recomend Balcon de la Cuenca, a fully furnished 3 bedroom apartment located in the heart of colonial Quito. Price range, $50 per night for your entire group.Balcon de la Cuenca is walking distance to all the colonial attractions, San Francisco,Plaza Grande, Museo de la Ciudad, all can be done in one day. The other days you may want to do el teleferico and mitad del mundo, on the third day I suggest Thermal springs Papallacta and el Panecillo.

As far as a car while in the city you dont need one

taxis quite cheap. If you would like to take a look at

www.rentalsystems.com/Book/mybalcondequito/

Good luck and Enjoy!