Quito is a dynamic and diverse city with many neighborhoods and sectors that have their own lodging and restaurant options. While you will undoubtedly enjoy your time in the capital, not every area is equal, and not every location will be ideal to optimize your time in the city when considering where to stay in Quito. As we already know, the specific accommodation—and the neighborhood where we choose to stay in—can make or break our trip, as several factors related to these can affect how much we get out of our visit.
Wondering where to stay in Quito? In this blog, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of several of the best neighborhoods we recommend staying at in Quito, including their location within Quito, the logistics of staying there, and their surrounding tourist attractions.
Where to Stay in Quito: The Top Best Neighborhoods
La Floresta is known as Quito’s most chic neighborhood thanks to its many brightly painted, mosaic-covered walls that demonstrate an appreciation for modern art and food. During the day here, you can:
- Wander down picturesque, tree-lined streets, and enjoy the local galleries and cafes that seem to appear around every corner.
- Head to a couple of small farmers’ markets, on Fridays and Saturdays, that give residents and visitors the chance to pick up locally grown fruit and vegetables from nearby farms.
- Enjoy a huge concentration of restaurants ranging from the quintessential American burger joint to the upmarket sushi restaurant. All eateries are within walking distance.
While your taste buds will definitely be satisfied with the options in this neighborhood, you should be aware that there are very few tourist attractions or daily activities that you can experience close to this stylish neighborhood.
The Historic Center of Quito was the first-ever-place to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is here where Quito first came into existence, and the streets and buildings of the Historic Center speak of the world that once was, making it a timeless place and quite possibly one of the best culturally- and historically-relevant areas to stay in Quito. While staying in the Historic Center of Quito, you’ll be able to:
- Experience a wealth of beautiful and extraordinary churches, galleries, and museums–all within walking distance. These include, but are not limited to:
- La Compañia de Jesus: Boasts one of the most intricately decorated church interiors in South America, almost entirely covered in gold leaf.
- La Basilica del Voto Nacional (Basilica of the National Vow): Represents the pride of Ecuador. This enormous cathedral features statues of animals native to Ecuador (instead of more traditional gargoyles) and a huge stained-glass window.
- Explore the La Ronda alleyway, which offers a unique glimpse into old Quito, with its cobblestone street and colorful colonial-style doors that lead into numerous artisanal shops, typical Quiteño restaurants and bars, and courtyards.
- Marvel at the beautiful plazas it is home to, including:
- The Main Plaza: Home to the majestic government palace.
- San Francisco Plaza: Home to the towering San Francisco Church and Convent. Not only was it one of the preeminent centers of the Inca Empire in the 16th century when the Spanish first arrived, it was also the location of one of the region’s primary marketplaces.
Choosing to stay in the Historic Center of Quito means that most of the city’s visitor sites will be within a short walk, and what better place to stay at than a boutique hotel that caters to your every need? Casa Gangotena, located along one edge of San Francisco Plaza, is a beautifully restored mansion originally belonging to some of the capital’s first aristocratic families. Steeped in history and offering unparalleled levels of service and luxury, staying at Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel means that you will not only experience Quito as a destination but also as part of a family.
So if you’re deliberating on where to stay in Quito, look no further than the Old Town and Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel!
Gonzalez Suarez abuts La Floresta to the north and rests along the eastern side of the city’s central valley, overlooking both Quito and the valley of Cumbaya, so long as you choose a hotel with a good view. Benefits of staying in this area (regarded by many as being one of the nicest, wealthiest, and best neighborhoods in Quito) include:
- A little more reserved and quiet atmosphere in comparison to La Floresta, allowing visitors to get a good night’s sleep.
- A number of restaurants can be found scattered amongst the buildings and homes that occupy this relatively young residential area, including some delicatessens, breweries, cafes, and cozy specialty restaurants.
- Close proximity to one of the most beautiful metropolitan parks in Quito which, on a clear day, offers park-goers exquisite views of the city and surrounding mountains.
La Mariscal is famous for being the former nightlife hotspot of Quito (now superseded by Cumbaya, which we’ll detail below), especially around Plaza Foch. Many travelers on a budget browse this area when looking at where to stay in Quito. This area offers convenient access to:
- Many bars, clubs, and restaurants, which inevitably means that getting to sleep at a reasonable hour isn’t always possible.
- The Artisan’s Market, which you can walk to during the day, where you can haggle and acquire all the handcrafted souvenirs you can fit into your bag or.
- El Ejido Park, also within walking distance, where many artists gather to display and sell their paintings on Sundays. Many visitors like to purchase an original piece of art here to take home with them.
Note: Because this area is often viewed as being a former major hub of nightlife in the city, caution should be taken while walking around at night.
Despite its difficult pronunciation (Gwan-gwil-TA-gua), visitors and residents appreciate this neighborhood in Quito due to the fact that:
- It offers some of the best views of Northern Quito.
- It is situated north of Gonzalez Suarez and right next to the Metropolitan Park, which means that you can take an early morning stroll alongside the park’s formidable trees while being mesmerized by a breathtaking sunrise over the Andes.
- Offers a handful of hip bars and various restaurants that line the length of the main street.
An excellent place to visit while staying in this area is the La Capilla del Hombre Museum, which overlooks the city. This museum was originally created by Oswaldo Guayasamin, easily Ecuador’s most famous painter, and is dedicated to the people of Latin America.
La Carolina is located along the flattest part of Quito’s main valley, in the area known as Centro Norte (Central North). If you’re considering this area while researching where to stay in Quito, know that you’ll be able to enjoy the following:
- One of Latin America’s largest urban parks, La Carolina, which functions similarly to New York’s famed Central Park and includes dog walking areas, dozens of fields, skate parks, and several courts designed for different sports.
- The southern edge of the park even has a paddle boat lagoon with water fountains and bridges!
- One of the continent’s top-ranked botanical gardens (inside La Carolina Park), which is host to an extensive and impressive orchid collection along with a tremendous variety of plants and flowers from around the world, plus an award-winning bonsai collection.
- The city’s modern financial center, which is highly commercialized, with numerous shopping malls and plazas, interspersed amongst various restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Although Cumbaya offers little in terms of cultural attractions, it is a great place to chill and, as of late, experience Quito’s revamped nightlife. While here, you can revel in the following characteristics:
- It is located about 20 minutes from the center of Quito and situated at a lower altitude than the capital and partially sheltered by the surrounding mountains, making the climate somewhat warmer.
- Cumbaya’s center hosts a farmers’ market on Saturdays, while the town square is also home to conveniences like cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Also, there are a number of movie theaters very close by.
- For those who are a little more active, the Chaquiñan Trail, which runs along old railroad tracks from Cumbaya to the adjacent town of Puembo, located another 12 mi (20 km) east, gives hikers and bikers a scenic view of the countryside.
- Another great place for a relaxing walk is around the Reservoir, which has views of the surrounding valleys. La Esquina—which is a colorful group of shops, cafes, and restaurants—is located opposite one of the corners of the Reservoir and serves as the perfect spot to cool down and replenish your energy.
In general, sifting among the best neighborhoods in Quito to stay at and deciding on one will help define the overall experience you have of the city itself, either adding to or diminishing the enjoyment of your trip. Do you want to enjoy cafes and restaurants? Do you want to experience the city’s many tourist attractions? Do you want to be immersed in the culture and traditions of Quito? Or do you want all the above?
Because only one neighborhood is definitely able to offer you everything you want on a trip to Ecuador’s capital, which contains the most well-preserved Historic Center in South America. It’s up to you! And, should you decide to stay at Casa Gangotena in the Old Town, you’ll certainly be able to explore all those other neighborhoods we’ve mentioned!