Plaza Grande, Plaza San Francisco and all of the museums are a must see. However, as a tourist, especially a solo one like me, be very careful with your possessions. Take as little valuables with you as possible. Unless you have zippered or interior pockets, don´t keep things in your pockets. The scam that I was confronted with the most was an Ecuadorian speaking passable English wanting to practice their English, take you to their store, show you around, etc. I was polite, but never accepted them taking my photo for me, etc. However, the third time, it was sheer dumb luck that I didn´t lose anything. From Thurs. to Sun., you can tour the Presidential Palace and it is worth seeing. You need a piece of identification to get in, but a driver's licence is sufficient (don't take your passport). A teenager behind me started chatting with me in English, telling me he was in Quito to study for exams to get into university. Being a retired teacher, I was taken in by his sincerity and charm. What I´m about to tell you is looking at the situation with hindsight. I did not clue in at all until I got home. He asked me in line if I had headphones for his camera(I said no, sizing up what I had?), to save his place, made sure to get into the same group of 20 to tour (if someone is eager to be in your group, be aware). He went ahead of me through the detection, now I believe to figure out what I was carrying. Stayed with me, exchanged taking photos. I think our guide might have suspected something as when we go our identification returned at the end of the tour, he left this teenager until last. Unfortunately, I was not paying close enough attention, still looking around. I think he called out Fernando, whereas this ¨student¨ called himself Paul Melgar. So, blithely I take him to lunch, let him pick the restaurant (he pretends that he doesn't like a few and leads me to the one he wants). Through the distraction of chatting, he must have gotten my glasses (at least, by chance my back was to the restaurant wall, if it happened to be a pickpocket area). When I went to pay with $20 for a $5 lunch, my glasses ¨fell¨, but fortunately I was paying attention to the payment and so when I was handed only $5, I knew it wasn't enough. The lady of the restaurant quickly told the man that I had paid $20 (a family scam?), so I got the correct change. ¨Paul¨escorted me to the taxi, negotiated my fare, gave me a ¨hug¨, luckily, I kept my hand across my body and camera. I am not trying to scaremonger because Centro Historica is a must see, just take cabs and only as much money as you want to spend. Leave valuable electronics at the hotel and be very careful with your camera.
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