The capital of Ecuador is very intriguing to me for one main reason. You know how much of a history buff I am, and Quito was one of the first two cities named a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, the other being Kraków, Poland (which I’ll be writing about very soon). From reading more about this, I’ve also found that the historic center of this city has been tremendously preserved. This is also a desired destination for us because we have some very good friends from Ecuador, so it would be amazing to get to see their home country and experience it from an outsider’s point of view! Based on what they’ve told us, the food is spectacular, and considering how much of a foodie I am, I can only imagine how much my arteries will clog just writing about how much I’m going to eat down there! So, before I keep jibber-jabbering about food, let’s get on to the three things I want to do while visiting Quito!
First: El Panecillo
A tremendous hill over over 200 meters, this is home to the statue, La Virgen de Quito, made entirely of aluminum. The hill overlooks the entire city, with a phenomenal view of the volcano, Cotopaxi. I think it’s pretty safe to say that if there’s a high place in one of our destinations that overlooks the city, it’s going to be a must-do!
Next: Casa del Alabado Museo
This is a very unique museum that showcases the area’s Indigenous history. I also really enjoyed reading about how the museum is formatted. Rather than showing the artifacts chronologically, they are organized thematically. Here’s a little clip from the museum’s offical website highlighting why the art is ordered this way:
“The permanent collection is organized thematically, focusing on native ancestral rituality and spirituality in the Americas. This allows visitors to form their own visual and cultural connections to the pieces within an innovative museographic and cultural framework.”
Pretty neat, right?
Last: el San Francisco
More properly known as “Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco,” this Catholic complex was built in the 16th century. This is considered the largest religious complex in South America, and it’s also home to the famous sculpture, Virgen de Quito (the bigger statue on El Panecillo is modeled after this original made in the late 1700s). There’s also a museum in the complex that houses more than 3,000 pieces of colonial art, which you know we will not be passing up.
I do have to throw in that my only honorable mention for this trip is spending as much time as possible in Quito’s Old Town to take in as much of the beautiful, historic district as possible! I get chills thinking about how many people, whether famous or ordinary, have walked those same streets.
I can’t wait anymore though, I have to move on to the food! Dinner is cooking and I’m salivating, so I need to get this part done before I can’t take anymore!
- Seco de Pollo
- A hearty chicken stew that’s cooked in beer and wine, and accompanied by tomatoes, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, peppers, onions, citrus juice of choice, and cilantro, and served along side fried plantain, rice and beans, and potatoes. The more I read about these South American dishes, the more I don’t think I could handle as many servings as I think! They’re all served with so much on the side, I really think one helping would do the trick!
- With Ecuador bordering the Pacific Ocean, I can imagine the seafood will be far superior than anything I can get at home. That being said, I do admit that I’m not a major fan of raw fish when consumed outside the context of sushi. However, being that this is so popular in Ecuador, I’m willing to give it a shot! Anyone care to comment on their experience with ceviche?
- If they’re anywhere near as tasty as they are fun to pronounce, these will be amazing! These are fried potato patties that are stuffed with cheese. Simple, yet effective!
I do have an honorable mention for the food that, and that’s a dessert called Flan de Coco, which is just a coconut flan that’s smothered with an orange caramel sauce. Now that I can take on more than one!
Alright my friends, that’s all I have for Quito! Let me know what you think, and share your experience if you’ve ever been 🙂