Old Town

<1> The Church and Monastery of St. Francis (Spanish: Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco), commonly known as el San Francisco, is a 16th-century Roman Catholic complex in Quito, Ecuador.  wiki   pdf  (front:  Plaza de San Francisco )

Cuencas y Sucre 477, Quito, Ecuador
No fee except the museum ($2).
Church: Mon-Sat 7-noon & 3-5:30pm.  Sun 7-noon

Church of St. Francis 


New Town

<1> Quito Botanical Garden 

Botanical Garden 



http://2backpackers.com/12684/south-america/ecuador/quito-botanical-garden - By  on April 19, 2014

Entrance is £3.50
Opening hours are 8am-5pm Mondays to Fridays, 9am-5pm weekends and holidays.
The official website is http://www.jardinbotanicoquito.com/.
It’s located inside the south end of Parque Carolina.  


The ride to Hostel Andino was about an hour long, taking us through dark and winding roads, which scared me a bit.  Not that our driver did anything wrong, but I was overly paranoid because the US Department of State had warned of taxi kidnappings in Quito.   It also probably didn't help that my flight had arrived at midnight, so the city was pitch dark and silent.  

When we finally got to Hostel Andino, it was locked and closed for the night.  It’s a family-owned hostel and does not have a 24-hour reception desk; after hours you have to ring the doorbell to get in.  Our airport transfer rang the doorbell for what seemed like forever before someone came out - it was probably only 5 minutes in reality - which given my paranoia about taxi kidnappings described above, only confused and irritated me.


Around 5:20pm we decided to head back, because we really didn’t want to be out in Quito after dark.  For dinner I walked to KFC near my hostel, and my hostel owner explicitly told me to not take my phone out while doing so, because he didn’t want me to get robbed.  When I got to KFC, there was a security guard standing outside.  Quito's not the safest of places unfortunately.  

1.) Lead Adventures Orientation (10:15am – 1pm)
Well it started a bit late (it's South America), but was an enjoyable process.  First Christopher, a Galapagos research scientist,gave a presentation on the geology and ecology of the islands, during which I developed a massive headache.  This was not due to the presentation being bad, on the contrary it was very interesting, but I was getting dehydrated from Quito's high altitude.  Luckily some water and an Ibuprofen pill fixed the problem...and the moral of the story is to stay hydrated in Quito.  Following the scientific presentation on the Galapagos, there was information about the logistics of the program.  After orientation, we went to lunch with one of the Lead Adventures interns in Mariscal Foch, a touristy area with plenty of dining (and I think shopping) options. 

Mariscal Foch

2.) El Panecillo (3:45-4:15pm)
Admission: $1 to go into the base of the statue
admission to climb to the top of the monument $2 Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/quito/attractions/212640#sthash.MlhexrZA.dpbs#ixzz3AKUlAjlI
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm; Sat-Sun 9am-5pm
Tip: For the best vistas, try to get here early in the morning (around 10am), before the clouds settle in around the nearby mountains. On a clear day, you can see Cotopaxi in the distance. This is a relatively quick ride from Old Town, and a taxi should only cost about $3 (£2) each way. A half-hour is all you'll need to take in the sights. Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/quito/attractions/212640#sthash.MlhexrZA.dpbs#ixzz3AKVIbewC

After hanging out in Mariscal Foch for a while, my friend and I caught the Ecóvia red line train to Quito’s historical center.  From there we caught a cab to El Panecillo, a statue of the Virgin Mary atop a hill.  The views of Quito from the hilltop are gorgeous, as is the statue itself.  I especially enjoyed looking inside it to see the structural support.  

3.) San Francisco Plaza (4:15pm)
We caught a cab from El Panecillo to San Francisco Plaza, a major landmark in Quito’s historical center.  St. Francis was a pretty epic Catholic Saint who has several places named after him, my favorite of which will always be a certain Northern California city.  However, San Francisco Plaza in Quito is also very nice.   

4.) La Compañía Church (4:45-5:15pm)
Admission: $3.00 adults   $1.50 students
I'm fairly sure that the tourist map we had from our hostel was just...completely wrong.  This church was totally not where the map said it was.  When my friend and I cluelessly stumbled in, the women at the ticket counter asked if we were students, which we weren't.  However, they seemed very convinced that we were indeed students, and just didn't have our IDs, because they asked more than once.  They then sold us one adult ticket and one student ticket, for a total of $4.50.  My friend and I are both 26 years old, I guess we look young.

Photos not allowed inside, so I only have a picture of the outside.  The most notable feature is that the walls and ceilings inside are decorated in gold.  Extremely ornate and unique, this church is definitely worth a visit, although I admit I have an inkling for religious sites.  

After visiting this church, it was cold, rainy, and getting dark soon, so we quickly headed back.  We ate dinner and went to bed early, because we had an early flight to the Galapagos Islands the next day!  

My Comment:

Mariscal Foch -> historical center -> San Francisco Plaza and Church (near) (b4 5:30pm Mon) -> El Panecillo (b4 6pm Mon) -> La Compañía Church (b4 5:30pm Mon) or any free or low cost activity.

historical center

Day 1: Taking In Old Town

Many international flights arrive in Quito in the late afternoon or early evening, so this actually begins the day after your arrival. Following breakfast at your hotel, spend the morning touring Old Town. Visit the magnificent Iglesia de San Francisco, which dates back to 1535, allowing a good 45 minutes to get a feel for the city's oldest church and its attached museum.

A few minutes' walk from here is La Compañía de Jesús Jesuit church, which features an incredibly ornate interior mixing baroque and Moorish influences. Nearby, Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia is a perfectly preserved 19th-century mansion worthy of at least a 45-minute visit. Pope John Paul II visited here, so you shouldn't miss it. When the day begins to warm up, take an hour to stroll around Old Town, ending at La Plaza de la Independencia, the city's main square in the 16th century. (Old Town is safe to get lost in during the day, but at night I don't advise venturing far from the Plaza de la Independencia on foot.) Break for a cup of coffee at a sunny cafe on or around the plaza -- there are plenty of spots to choose from.

While walking around the Plaza de la Independencia, see if there's a show on that night at the Teatro Nacional Sucre; if there is, buy a ticket and make a pre-show dinner reservation at Mea Culpa or Theatrum.

El Panecillo is where you'll want to head next; it's a 10-minute ride up a steep hill. From here, standing below the immense winged virgin, you have a sweeping view of Old Town and the rest of Quito. Right next to the monument is PIM's Panecillo, a great place to enjoy local cuisine and the view. I suggest returning to your hotel for a rest, because your body is probably not acclimated to the altitude and you may get tired easily. Remember to drink lots of bottled water, too, especially in the early afternoon, when the sun is at its highest and the atmosphere at its driest.

After your dinner (and hopefully a show), sit at the bar in stylish Plaza Grande for a nightcap.

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/quito/270042#sthash.XGabsNGX.dpbs#ixzz3AKYZyt8h