QUITO AND ECUADOR INFORMATION
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is nestled among the Andes Mountains with an altitude of 9350 ft. The city, named Heritage of Mankind by UNESCO, houses spectacular churches and a historical center founded in the 1500’s. It is located about 10 miles from the equator, thus providing an ideal climate, ranging from 55-78 F. Ecuador has four distinct regions: Sierra (mountain), Costa (coastal), Amazonia (jungle or amazon basin) and the Galapagos Islands, which are 500 miles off the coast.
Quito itself has much to offer with beautifully preserved churches, convents, and palaces in the city center in contrast with the modern, cosmopolitan areas offering great restaurants and shopping areas.
Location: On the Andres Mountain range between Colombia and Peru
Population: Quito, 1.6 million; Ecuador, 15 million
Altitude: 9350 ft.
Temperature: 55-78 F.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Internet Access: You will have Wi-Fi on campus and in your hotel, though the Internet can be weak at times due to building structures and difficulties with the providers.
Airport: You will arrive to Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre in Quito (Tababuela). The airport is located about 30 minutes from Quito and your hotel. When leaving, make sure you allow one hour of travel time to the airport in the event of any problems with traffic.
What to wear: The weather in Quito can vary quite a bit during the day. The mornings and evenings may be around 55-58 F and noon may get as high as 78 F. So, the best dress for Quito is layers with a sweater or light jacket. The school buildings can be chilly as well. Often, in the afternoons there are showers so an umbrella is a good idea.
What to bring: Since we are on the equator, the sun is very strong so sunscreen is a must. If you are planning a lot of walking, a hat is a good idea.
City transportation: Taxis are readily available and inexpensive. You can travel almost anywhere in the city for $5-$6. The rate to the airport is $25. There will be bus transportation from the hotel to school and returning.
Health Issues: Keep in mind that we are over 9000 ft. above sea level so we do not recommend coming to Quito if you have pulmonary or cardiac problems. You should drink a lot of liquids while here and you may have a headache or feel dizzy. For the headache, you can take aspirin or Tylenol and for the dizziness, a piece of sugar candy, brown sugar and lying down. For the first days, you may experience trouble sleeping at night. The School’s medical services will be available. We recommend drinking only bottled water. The food at School and in the hotel will be treated and safe. We do not recommend eating from street vendors.
TAXIS UPON ARRIVAL
In the baggage claim area you will find people advertising for buses but these buses go to the old airport in the city and then you have to take a taxi from there. We do not recommend doing this. As you come out of Baggage Claim, straight ahead you will find a desk with the Taxi rates. You need to prepay your taxi to the Hotel Quito or NH Hotel. Then, with the receipt, you will find a yellow taxi outside that will take you directly to the Hotel Quito. The current rate is about $25.
TRAVEL AGENCIES FOR QUITO AND ECUADOR TOURS
AGENTUR: Elena Arellano ó Rocío Vela
(+593) 02-244-8433 or 098-727-0777 / 098-727-0775
METROPOLITAN TOURING: Maria del Carmen Morabowein
(+593) 099 502 9284
WHAT TO DO IN QUITO
Places to visit: We recommend a visit to the old city and historic center where you can tour colonial churches, the Presidential palace, and museums. In the center, you will also find an old home that has been renovated with a five star restaurant, Casa Gangotena next to the San Francisco church. Another picturesque area is Guapulo, right behind the Hotel Quito. If you are going to be in Quito for a few days beyond the conference, we recommend a visit to the Indian market in Otavalo, the warm springs in Papallacta, the waterfalls of Baños and of course, the unforgettable Galapagos Islands.
Restaurants: Down the street, Isabel la Catolica, and behind the Hotel Quito, there are a number of restaurants and bars that range from international cuisine and Peruvian fare to new takes on Ecuadorian food. We also recommend: Rincon de Francia, Risotto, Zao, Zinc, Zazu, Noe Sushi Bar, Carmine, and Nubori, among others.
Shopping Malls: The two big malls close to the hotels are the Jardin and Quicentro Shopping.
Security: In Quito, you need to be street smart and aware of your surroundings, as petty theft is common. Take additional care with your laptops and smart phones. We recommend you carry only copies of your passport, leaving the original locked in the hotel. And, try not to carry a lot of cash or credit cards. Make sure the taxis you use are from the hotel or called by the school when you are on campus. You can ask restaurants to call you a taxi as well. If you do need to take a taxi from the street, make sure it has an official registration number on the side doors, front window and note the name of the taxi company (cooperativa). We do not recommend traveling alone in a taxi late at night.