We love traveling with Blue Parallel and have used them for all of our South American adventures over the past eight years. They put together an amazing itinerary in Ecuador – including our time in Quito with our incredible guide Johanna. Here are a few of the highlights.
Where We Stayed:
While in Quito we stated at the Casa Gangotenawhich is a beautifully restored mansion located on the main San Francisco square in Quito. The rooms were lovely, the service was incredible, and we absolutely loved having breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Many of the rooms as well as the third-floor balcony have sweeping sites of the mountains and the city, so make sure to request a room with a view. It’s definitely worth it – also make sure to try the cassava rolls, they were delicious!
What We Did:
Private Tour and Cocktails at the Convent Santo Domingo
The Convent of Santo Domingo is a baroque style convent from the XVI century. The main Church is covered with unique colonial art paintings and sculptures and it is beautifully decorated with gold leaf. I found each chapel to be more stunning than the last; and being able to be alone in such a beautiful and sacred space was such a treat. After the tour we went to the rooftop to enjoy snacks and cocktails, and watch the sunset. We love using Blue Parallel because of experiences like this, which feel special and so unique. It is absolutely a mustand felt special, and spiritual and unique.
Convento San Francisco
The Convent San Francisco – located right next to the Casa Gangotena is breathtaking. The architecture and gold leaf make for quite the experience when you walk in. It was the first convent we visited in the city and it left quite the impression.
Capilla de los Milagros (Chapel of Miracles)
This is a little known 17thcentury chapel we were able to visit and then enjoyed a delicious private lunch and cocktails featuring a traditional Ecuadorian dance show. This was another special event set up by Blue Parallel and was a highlight. Explore the Capilla’s stone patios, lush gardens with beautiful geraniums, and the chapel painted with frescos. This ancient chapel built in the 17thcentury is made of paunchy walls and a bare brick bell tower. Festooned at the alter there is a small Hermitage that guards a painted image of the Señor de Los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles). The cuisine here beckons upon the almost forgotten recipes of Quito’s past, attempting to resurrect hard-to-find ingredients and give life to these dishes with a modern twist.
Tour Old Town:
We loved walking around and exploring the beautiful old town of Quito. It is a World Heritage site and the streets and cathedrals are absolutely stunning. You can feel the hustle and bustle of the people, and imagine what the city must have been like back in the day.
Where We Ate:
Octava de Corpus
Jaime Burgos is a local art collector and restauranteur who loves to charm and engage his patrons while serving delicious local cuisine. It feels as though you are being welcomed into someone’s home (and in a way, you are) when you visit. Make sure to try the langoustines!
Although it is located not far from the city center, Hacienda Rumiloma feels like you have retreated to the countryside – the yard has llamas casually grazing in the front and the location on a hill overlooking Quito gives you a feeling that you are removed from the hustle and bustle of the city below. The food was as delicious as the view, and this is definitely an experience you shouldn’t miss. We also had a “small world” moment at Hacienda Rumiloma when we realized the owner was born in Portland, Oregon, as was I! She was lovely, and friendly and that was just the icing on the cake of a lovely lunch.
Theatrum is housed in a building that has quite a bit of history. It was formerly the Sucre National Theater and the “Plaza of the Butchers” because it housed bull fights as well. Now it is a delightful and very chic restaurant. It was one of our fanciest dinners in Quito, and the food lived up to its reputation. Absolutely delicious.
Things to Know:
The altitude can be draining, especially when walking around this hilly city. Make sure you stay hydrated and try the coca tea, it definitely helps with the fatigue and nausea.
Everywhere in Quito was nice casual, you can opt for dressier looks in the evening, but leave your heels at home. The city is cobblestone covered and it makes for a difficult walk home (although we always had a driver on hand, I like to walk post dinner).
Travel Company: https://www.blueparallel.com
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