<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 )
<1> Quito 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.
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!
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.