First Impressions of Quito, Ecuador

We’ve arrived!

Life is still a little crazy but a few days ago, late in the evening, we landed in Quito, Ecuador. The first thing I noticed was the smell of ozone, a dryness in my nostrils from the high mountain air, and a sense of relief that we are finally getting started on this new adventure.

The new airport, only about 6 months old, was crowded with Ecuadorians returning from vacation and tourists from the United States arriving for theirs. Despite the crowds, lines moved quickly, bags arrived in a timely manner, and we were soon on our way into the dark Andean night.

We drove for about half an hour through quiet and well lit city streets. It was a little surreal to see the capitol city looking so still and calm, even at midnight. Businesses were all shuttered with heavy metal doors and window coverings, homes hidden behind tall concrete walls, and few cars were out on the streets. Our other experience with South America, Buenos Aires, taught us that night life is muy normal. Obviously, that’s not the case here.

We were greeted at the hotel with hot towels to wipe our hands and faces and tall glasses of orange juice to help us hydrate. It’s not just the long international flight that will dehydrate the body but the altitude, a grand 9,300 feet. In fact, Quito is the second highest capitol city in the world. In order to adjust, it’s important that we drink lots of water and be careful with how fast we start exerting ourselves. So far, so good. We’ve had the slight headache that passes with more water and a little ibuprofen but nothing more.

After a great night’s sleep, we awoke to a gorgeous morning and a beautiful view! It’s one of the few pictures I’ve taken so far… we’re still figuring out the local layout and haven’t taken out the cameras so far. But as our comfort level increases and we figure out how not to look like nosy tourists and more like interested travelers, I’ll have more to show you.

The Volcano Cotopaxi as seen from our hotel window late in the afternoon.

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14 thoughts on “First Impressions of Quito, Ecuador

    • I find that the light in the early morning and the late afternoon are the absolute best for photography! I’m still working on some night time shots that I hope to share soon. The great thing about digital photography is that I can take several shots at different settings to help me learn what combinations work best. I’m slowly but surely gaining confidence away from the auto settings and I’m much happier with the quality of photo. I have to say, I really enjoyed your dancers from Mitad del Mundo… you’re certainly on your way to capturing the heart of this place via photography as well!

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      • Thank you! That was on the burst setting on my camera, I managed to capture the whole dance. Although I lost all my photos yesterday! My USB stick went missing and all my photos with it.. just as I was about to back them all up! Very sad.

        Are you enjoying everything? How long are you here for?

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      • I look forward to following your travels to new places! Any chance you’re headed down south to Buenos Aires? We have recommendations if you do!

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      • Happy travels! We’ve done a short stint in Peru – just a week for Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Puno. All very much worth visiting. We used a great guide in the Cusco area, Fredy Zapata, who worked for Wayki Trek, https://www.facebook.com/waykitrek. Just in case you need a guy who has a master’s degree in Peruvian History and can tell a story like no other guide we’ve had. He speaks excellent English but actually did a bilingual presentation on a lot of stuff as my kids preferred learning in Spanish. He was just great!

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      • We trekked – 4 days and it was wonderful, for the most part. Day 2 was grueling. If you’re interested, you can check out the travel posts on a different blog; eventually I want to get them all over to this site but for the moment, I’m too busy writing about Ecuador!

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