Quito, Ecuador

After a wonderful time in the Galapagos we headed for Quito. As the oldest city in the Americas Quito is full of colonial charm. It sits some 10,000ft above sea level, quite a change from our lazy beach days.

We arrived at the airport without any semblance of a plan. It was raining and the airport is 45 minute taxi ride from city center and it was getting dark. We didn’t feel like taking the bus or figuring out a hostel so we just starting asking fellow travelers where they were headed and if they wanted to share a taxi. After a few attempts a German/Colombian couple was thrilled to split the cost. They had done loads research and found a great hostel, our work was done.

We spent a few days wandering around the city. We got free Yellow Fever vaccines (travel tip: If you need it there – they have it. $160 each saved), ate all kinds of street food, and chatted up countless locals. There’s a whole hit list of things you are supposed to do in Quito, but we were content just picking a direction and walking until it started raining, and going the opposite direction the next day.

We also visited the Otavalo market, one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. It was touristy as could be in the center, something we always find off-putting, so we employed our usual “lets try a few blocks away,” tactic and promptly found ourselves in a sea of people no taller than Val (read indigenous) and had a blast trying local food and learning a little Kichwa, the local language.

We won’t miss the smog, but we certainly did enjoy our time in the oldest city in the new world.

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.

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