We woke up kinda early and packed up to head to the bus station. Our plan was to take the bus to the Cotopaxi volcano which is about 30 minutes up the road toward Quito. We wanted to get a hostel there and then go to Quito the next day. The weather wasn’t great though which meant we might not even get good views of the volcano. So we found the bus and as we got closer to the volcano, we realized the weather wasnt getting any better. We told the driver we wanted to go all the way to Quito instead and I think he was a little confused, but we gave him more money and hoped he understood.
On the rest of the journey, we decided to treat ourselves to a night at the Holiday Inn Express in Quito. Super fancy right!? Well, when our last hostel was too small to even walk around in… yes, the Holiday Inn is fancy. And we had already booked our free night at the JW Marriott (for having the Marriott credit card) and the hotels are basically right next to each other. We got into the bus station at 10 and had to figure out which city bus to take downtown. A helpful station agent showed Ethan which one and we got lucky as it was pulling up when we walked out. The ride was long and we had to stand in the back with our bags. We got a lot of interesting looks from the locals.
Once we finally got to our stop and walked another half mile to the hotel. We used their wifi to make a reservation with our IHG points (hooray!) and got to check in early. Hallelujah! We got a corner room on the top floor and it was probably the best view we’ve had ever at a normal hotel. We hung out for a bit then took ourselves on a self-guided walking tour of Old Quito.
We took the bus to one of the plazas and walked around looking at the old buildings and marveling at how far civilizations have come. We took a taxi up to El Panecillo (The Virgin of Quito) which is a huge statue of the Virgin Mary on top of a hill overlooking the city. We actually ran into Dominic (which is crazy given how big Quito is) and he was walking up with a friend. Crayyy. The view was incredible and you really get a sense of how massive and sprawling the city is. After that we stopped to get a sweet treat which was a huge bowl of fruit with ice cream and Ecuadorian whipped cream. It was amazing. We also got a huge empanada con queso that was also amazing. Treat. Yo. Self!
On the way back we checked out the Basilica del Voto Nacional. The architecture was incredible and we were kind of bummed that it’s almost completely surrounded by newer buildings. There is a park down the hill on one side and that’s really the best way to see the whole thing. We ended up walking back to the hotel since we couldn’t figure which bus to take. We spent the evening relaxing then went and got tacos from a place called Frida Tacos. Yum yum!
We woke up around 7 and went downstairs for breakfast. The best part about Holiday Inns, IMHO (except that one in Abu Dhabi). After Ethan had several helpings of everything, we packed up, checked out and pretty much walked right across the street to the Marriott. They let us check in early, so we dropped our stuff in our room and headed right back out. We took a taxi from the hotel to Teleferiqo, which is a cable car that takes you up to some hiking trails on the Pichincha Volcano. It costs $8.50 per person so it’s not the cheapest view of the city, but the ride was cool and the view was amazing. On a clear day you can probably see several volcanoes, but it was a bit too cloudy for us.
We spent a while up there talking about life, the trip so far and how much we love Ecuador. We took the cable car back down, then another taxi back to the hotel. We got lunch, then dropped off a bunch of laundry at a laundry service down the road. Back to the hotel for some pool time! We had pizza again for dinner after we picked up our laundry, then we tried to find things to watch on TV in English. ‘Twas a lovely, relaxing day and just what I needed after our hikes and adventures around Ecuador.