Quito New Town or ‘el Norte de Quito’ is, in my opinion, a great place to stay as a backpacker. Although with taxi’s costing about $1 to take you anywhere in the city, it does not really matter where you stay. It is located near to the airport so easy to visit if you are not staying long.
Situated in the North of the city, it is termed ‘New’ as it mainly developed during the 1940s. However despite this there is a mixture of old housing and large glass fronted tower blocks.
New Town is the financial centre of the city, with banks, offices and plenty of large shopping malls. I went in the largest shopping mall I have ever been in whilst there, which had about 5 floors, and most memorably and incredible ice cream shop.
The Simon Bolivar/Mariscal Sucre area in New Town is the main tourist area, an American even asked us if we were interested in buying a flat there. With a plethora of hostels, Internet café’s, restaurants, travel agents. There are several good Mexican restaurants, which make serve great food and Margherita’s, as well as a pizza place. Other areas of New Town are not short of places to eat, with places such as Busters’ British Pub serving classics including fish and chips. The area is also the main nightlife scene in Quito, including a club dubiously named ‘G-spot’.
Hostels in the area usually have bunk beds but are pretty cheap. We stayed in Posada de los Jazmines which was only $9 a night including breakfast. If you want something classier, forking out a bit more money should get you a decent hotel.
New Town also has two beautiful parks: Parque La Carolina and Parque Metropolitano.
Parque La Carolina is popular with the locals for exercise including football. It has a Vivarium, Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens. The roles of the Vivarium are to research, educate and care for custom confiscated pets. It offers a great chance to see some of Ecuador’s 290 snake species and other reptiles. It is open Tuesday- Sunday, 9.30am-5.30pm. The Botanical Gardens showcase plants from Ecuador’s three main regions: coastal, Amazon (el Oriente) and the higher Sierra of the Andes. Ecuador has more plant species than all of Europe so it really is something impressive.9-5pm all days of the week except Monday 9-3pm. Next to the Botanical Gardens is the Natural History Museum (Museo de Ciencias Naturales) which is also worth a look in.
Parque Metropolitano is better appreciated if you have a reasonable level of fitness. Located on the hillside it is a refreshing break from the polluted air of the city below. The park is pretty large so great for exploring by bike or hiking in. There are also great views of Quito and the Cumbaya valley to the East of Quito.
Next Time: Quito Old Town