Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Aside from having the best-preserved historic center in Latin America, the city has so much to offer travelers from around the world. Quito will satisfy your cultural desires through food, music, festivities, and art. If you want to live like the locals, aka quiteños, and explore without spending lots of money, then check out these tips.
Tip #1 - Sundays are for Biking
Every Sunday the city closes off its main avenue, Río Amazonas, to cars and vehicles for Ciclopaseo, which directly translates to"bike stroll". Here, you can see cyclists of all levels along a 30 km bike route that stretches from the north to the south of Quito. There are several bike rental locations near El Patio Hostel. On average, the cost is very affordable, about $2.50/hour. If bike riding isn't your thing, walking, rollerblading, or running is very popular along the ciclopaseo, just stay clear of cyclists!
Tip #2 - Ride the bus
Looking for a cheap way to get around the
city? Perhaps you want to go to Mitad del Mundo or el Teleferíco de Quito. All you need to do is head to one of the main avenues, such as Colón, which is located a block to the north of El Patio Hostel. Simply pay the 25 cent fee each time you board and stay on as long as you'd like. If you aren't sure if you have the right bus, just ask the driver or a local, they can point you in the right direction.
Tip #3 - Buy Produce at the Market
When I first came to Ecuador, I was buying my groceries at one of the Supermaxis near the hostel. While it is a great place to buy kitchen staples, produce can often be more expensive than usual, especially on imported goods. The cheapest way to eat your greens is by shopping at the local mercados, there are several of them in the city. Even organic produce is extremely cheap here, $1 is the maximum price on most things; such as 5 avocados or a bag of tomatoes. Just bring small change with you and always keep an eye on your wallet, as it can get quite busy.
Tip #4 -Try Ecuadorian Street Food
Ecuador has some of the most unique dishes in the world. To truly experience local living, you must try Quito street food, where you can order everything from colada morada, a thick, fruity drink to salchipapas, a savory dish with meat and papas fritas (french fries). For more adventurous eaters, you will often see dishes like Tripa Mishki -- aka. cow intestines that are grilled or fried (be prepared to chew). These are so popular in Quito, there's even a park called Parque de las Tripas, but don't worry, they offer more than just guts.
Tip #5 - Always bring a jacket (or umbrella)
The weather in Quito is unpredictable. Quiteños don't use the weather app, because it's never accurate. Sunny days can quickly giveaway to rain and hailstorms that seem to appear, quite literally, out of nowhere. That's why it's always good to bring your jacket, and you will often see locals wearing or carrying them even on warm, sunny days. An umbrella is a good idea for rain, and can also be used as a parasol to shield you from being so close to the sun.