Quito Local Attractions
When I think of Quito, I think of a great chaotic blend of humble abodes and towering financial structures and apartments built atop uneven contours of a verdant valley. I think of a city walled-in by abrupt mountain walls and snow-covered volcanoes in the distance. I think the Otavaleõos, and their beautiful navy colored wool and gold-beaded necklaces sparkling in the sun. All of these things are pieces of the Ecuadorian terrain you are sure to come across. But for that cosmopolitan tourist in you – that one that yearns to set eyes on international works of art, walk through grand archways, and steal photos of cobbled colonial streetscapes – there is a lot to be seen in this great city. What follows is an introduction to Quito’s cultural and art attractions.
|View of San Francisco Church|
The tourist area of the new town is called Mariscal Sucre or Gringolandia, if you prefer, as some locals have christened it. Aside from internet cafés and hip restaurants, this area is filled with museums. There is the Museo Amazónico, where you can check out a selection of indigenous artifacts from the jungle, and the Museo de Ciencias Naturales, where you’ll find a good cross section of the country’s diverse flora and fauna. And just farther to the northeast in Bellavista, is the Museo Guayasamín, featuring the named artist’s internationally renowned works. This guy’s stuff is ubiquitous in Ecuador and if you’re fond of it, you will definitely not want to miss this place. It is also possible to buy many of his pieces here. Still, some of the more widely visited museums are to the south of Mariscal Sucre adjacent to the park El Ejido. Aside from being a popular public gathering space where you’ll see people lounging about under trees or pounding the grass in a heated soccer match, the north end of El Ejido is used by artisans to sell their paintings and crafts on the weekends. Across from Parque Ejido you’ll see the eye-catching Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana. This sphere shaped glass structure is home to, not one, but two museums: Museo de Arte Ecuatoriano and Museo del Banco Central. The first carries pieces from as far back as the 19th century and as new as modernist and contemporary works. The canvases of many of Ecuador’s most famed artists can be viewed here. Inside the other one is an abundance of pottery, golden ornaments, a deformed skull, and other notable artifacts from Ecuador’s past. And a bit farther to the south is another park called Alameda. While there are no museums, there are many statues and sculptures of the country’s heroic figures, including a monument to Simón Bolivar. There’s also an 1800s observatory in the middle that is still in use for those craving an equatorial glance at the sky.
|View of La Plaza de la Independencia|
After a long day of diligent site seeing, I say head back to Gringolandia for some good eats and a few cocktails is next on the agenda. But you already know where that is.