Tag Archives: Quito

Nightlife: Enjoying a Dry Night Out in Quito

By Nick Rosen

Visitors, take note: a fun night out in Quito does not have to end with your head stuck out a taxi window, singing “I Know You Want Me” at full volume while the stranger you’ve been canoodling with tries to pull you back inside the cab. Oh, it certainly couldand visiting one of V!VA’s Top Ten Places to Get Inebriated at the Equator is a good way to kick off just such an eveningbut there are plenty of alternatives. In fact, V!VA’s hometown has a number of nocturnal attractions to keep the teetotalers among us entertained.

Peculiar Películas

Ocho y Medio is located in Quito’s La Floresta neighborhood, but it wouldn’t feel too out of place in the trendier parts of Brooklyn. The theater uses its four little screens to show Ecuadorian movies, the latest indie hits, and strangely wonderful German art house films from the 1970s. Though the movies are subtitled in Spanish, sometimes the theater shows English-language films. Grab the opportunity to slip on your skinny black jeans and come hang out at this hipster haven.

More conventional multiplex theaters can be found at shopping centers throughout the Quito area. The most convenient option in southern Quito is the Multicines branch at the El Recreo shopping mall. The nicest theater in Quito’s north is the CineMark located at the Plaza de las Americas mall.

Live from Quito, it’s Saturday Night

Quito is also the best place in Ecuador to catch a live music, theater or dance performance. One place to make note of is the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, a large complex across from Parque El Ejido. The cultural center puts on plays, concerts, film screenings and art exhibitions.

Teatro Sucre, by flickr user dimplemonkey

Teatro Sucre, by flickr user dimplemonkey

In the Centro Histórico, El Teatro Nacional Sucre hosts opera, ballet, theater and dance in a beautifully restored colonial building on the Plaza del Teatro. While the Centro has a checkered nighttime reputation, it is easy enough to get a taxi to take you directly to the theater; you should not be scared off from dressing up and enjoying this unique venue.

Quito’s Café Culture

Just because you aren’t drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you’re fasting, does it? By all means, warm up at Café Mosaico with a hot chocolate. Enjoy the ambience, the food, the view and maybe even your company. The hillside neighborhood of Guápulo is also chock-a-block full of atmospheric little cafés. Take your pick of Café Guápulo, Café ChiQuito or Mirador de Guápulo.

Be a Mall Rat

Alright, you probably haven’t spent your nights out goofing around at the mall since high school, but Quicentro, the city’s swankiest shopping center, is a popular hangout for the locals. Long after most streets in town are deserted, you will find Quiteños strolling and checking out the shops at the mall, which stays open until 8 or 9. If you want to stay even later, the attached bowling alley, which claims to be the most technologically-advanced one in the whole country, remains open until midnight.

Quicentro Mall, by Luigi Ochoa

Quicentro Mall, by Luigi Ochoa

Go see a movie, take in the ballet, bowl a few frames. Abstaining from drinking is not abstaining from a good time in Quito.

The V!VA Office Staff Share their Top 10 Favorite Things About Living in Quito

By Paula Newton

1. The access to mountains, coast and jungle

One of the best parts of all about living in Quito is the access that you have to other diverse parts of the country. Quito is a fairly small city, so it’s also easy to get out quickly and reach them. Within just a few hours, you can be climbing snow-capped peaks in the Andes, spotting hummingbirds in the cloudforest, drifing through the jungle on a canoe, or kicking back in a hammock on the Pacific beaches. How many cities in the world can boast that claim?

2. The weather

Quito has a “spring-like” climate year-round. That means that it is warm and sunny every day, but not too hot due to the altitude. Well, at least it is sunny in the mornings anyway—at some times of the year it rains heavily in the afternoons. That’s easy to live with when you know it will be bright and sunny once again come morning. And that any day is good for an ice cream.

3. The surrounding mountains

There’s something magical about waking up in the morning, looking out of the window and glimpsing the giant mountains and volcanoes that surround Quito. Out and about in Quito on a clear morning (and most mornings are clear), the views are spectacular on the walk to work.

4. The South American Explorers Club

The South American Explorers Club is a great way to meet like-minded individuals. While being a resource for travelers, they also have a ton of information for expats about all of the practical stuff that you need to know, as well as lists of schools that have teaching work. The club arranges weekend trips, social events, information evenings and more. They also often have ads about places to rent. This has to be one of your first stops in town, for traveler or expat alike.

5. Salsa

The V!VA girls love to dance. Or, to try anyway. V!VA’s favorite salsa spot is trendy salsateca, Seseribo, found just outside of the popular Mariscal district. Even if you can’t dance, it’s worth stepping inside to enjoy the vibe and watch how the locals twirl.

6. The cost of living in Ecuador

Ecuador is pretty cheap compared to back home, and the currency is the US dollar, so it’s easy to understand the costs. Renting a room in a shared apartment in the the center of town costs anywhere from $100 to $220. A banana costs $0.05. A set lunch menu is $2.50. You can get a large beer for $0.80 from the store. Sweet!

7. The Street Food

From salchipapas (sausage and chips) to cevichochos (bean ceviche) to taco stands and more, Quito knows how to do fast food on the cheap. V!VA staff favorite is the Rey de Hotdogs (King of Hotdogs) stall at the end of the road, where you can get hotdog with all kinds of toppings, for $1. Good for a cheap lunch, or for solid stomach lining before a night out on the town. Que rico!

8. The easy-to-understand quiteño accent

Quito’s a great place to pick up Spanish quickly. Quiteños speak Spanish fairly slowly and usually very clearly, so their accent is pretty easy to understand. In addition, there are more than forty Spanish schools in Quito where it is possible to get cheap classes, either one-to-one, or in small groups.

9. The Soccer

Ecuadorians love their soccer. If you’re in Quito for any length of time, you won’t be able to miss the city gearing up for a LIGA (local team) or national game. For national games, the city turns yellow with everyone from tiny babies to old men wearing the national team shirt, bought outside the stadium or elsewhere in the street for just a few dollars. Duck into a bar, grab a Pilsener (the local beer) and watch the game. GOOOOOOOOOAL.

10. Last, but not least, the Pub Quizzes

Quito has a lively expat community with a few bars and pubs that run pub quizzes. At last count, there were at least three pub quizzes a week. This gives the V!VA staff three chances to feel like they’re smarter than all the other expats/backpackers, though on a rare occasion, they’re not. The V!VA favorite is the South American Explorers Pub Quiz held on the first and third Wednesday of every month in the Reina Victoria pub. Come and pit your wits against the V!VA staff if you’re ever in town.

V!VA Travel Guides launches unique travel writing Boot Camps in Latin America

V!VA Travel Guides is offering aspiring writers and photographers the chance to partake in several intensive week-long travel writing crash-courses in various exciting cities in Latin America.

V!VA’s pilot Boot Camp will take place from November 26th to the 30th in Quito, Ecuador. In 2008, a Boot Camp is also planned to take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from January 6th through 12th. Boot camps are also in the works for several other Latin American countries in the early summer of 2008.

Students of the crash-course will hone travel writing skills under the guidance of seasoned professionals and will be given tips on producing quality digital photography for the internet to accompany their stories. Students will be advised on what editors want, how to deliver, get published and get paid, and writing will then be critiqued by established travel writers and editors.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to stay “on assignment” in Ecuador or Argentina after the course and may be compensated, and works will be published in upcoming guidebooks for these countries.

For more information about V!VA’s bootcamps and to send in applications, please visit the Boot Camp section of V!VA’s website.