Ancient Gems In Quito's Old Town - Two Churches And A Cemetery

Quito is known to have one of the most well preserved and least altered, and might I add the most beautiful historic centers in all of Spanish America. Walking along the narrow up-and-down streets is a visual treat with every turn revealing a rich tapestry of neo-gothic Ecuadorian architecture, colors, authenticity, open plazas, almuerzo shops, fruiterias, key cutters, and most importantly, lots of local people and tourists infusing life into this ancient city. In my two weeks in Quito, I spent countless hours ambling the streets of this historic center, soaking in the view, visiting churches, or simply parking myself on a bench and watching life pass by as I sipped on naranja and zanahoria mixed fresh fruit juice or wolfed down one delicious mango after another. Yes, Ecuador is heaven for those of us who love tropical fruits. While Quito's ancient old town is full of several gems, I wanted to dedicate this post to three sites which I believe should be on every visitors itinerary. 

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Getting To Otavalo From Quito

Two words - start early.

Quito has an efficient and expansive public bus system but it takes time to get to the main bus terminals that offer service to other cities. Buses to Otavalo depart from the main terminus in the north of the city called Carcelen Terminal but getting here will itself take at least 1.5 hours. A friend and I started our journey at 6:45 AM on a Saturday by meeting up at one of the Ecovia bus stations on Avenida 6 de diciembre and hopped on to a bus going towards the north until the Rio Coca bus station.  From here, we caught a bus to La Ofelia. Look for the 'Auga Clara' signage at the station as that is where you catch the bus to La Ofelia from. Interestingly, this particular inter-bus transfer is free of charge. 

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First Impressions Of Quito Through My Lens

One of the highest capitals in the world, Quito is a breathtakingly beautiful city and exudes a heady mix of old world charm and modern living. Geographically, Quito sits on a long and narrow strip of land flanked by mountains on all sides. Since it is so close to the equator, the climate is temperate all year round. The nights do get relatively cooler though so come prepared with some cold weather wear. In fact, I just learnt today that the word for Equator in Spanish is in fact Ecuador. So..everything makes sense now.

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