Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is a sprawling Andean city that runs about 51km north to south and 8km east to west. At an altitude of 2800m, it’s important to take it easy when you arrive if you aren’t accustomed to the thin air. The city boasts a brand new international airport and a dazzling historic city centre. I highly recommend the free walking tour with CarpeDM Travel, located on the ground floor of the Secret Garden Hostel. They run the tour from M-F at 10:30 and it lasts for about an hour and a half. And if there’s one thing that you must do in Quito, visit the Basilica (US$2) and climb to the top of the spire and clocktower. The views are amazing!
Like in any big city, keep your wits about it. Be mindful of your surroundings and your belongings. Crime in Quito is a problem and as a foreigner, you’ll be seen as an easy target. We were warned by quite a few locals to “be careful.”
Some Practical Transport Info. The north and south bus terminals are not easily reached by public transport. A taxi ride to either takes about 45 minutes and costs 7-10 dollars. City buses (excluding the Troli) cost about 25 cents and have their route posted on a placard in the front window. The new international airport is located about 18km east of the city and is accessible by public transport as well as taxis and airport shuttles.