Frolicking in Ecuador - What to do with 36 Hours in Quito

Brittany Hagan

Posted on October 11 2017

Ahhh...Seems like just yesterday we were swimming with sea lions by day and shark hunting by night. Hunting might be an aggressive term. More like just watching in horror as they tore at flying fish brutally while we were super grossed out. 

The Galapagos Islands were somewhere I've wanted to go since I knew they existed. I never in a million years thought that I would be able to go and see it at age 29 though, I thought it would be more of a retirement trip.  I'm so grateful that I was able to see all of this and explore all it at a (semi) young age. We were lucky enough to have a few weeks away from work too so we combined it with a trip to Peru which I would highly recommend, but that's a different blog!

Galapagos Post Office Bay

We had heard so many rave reviews before we went, and honestly Ryan and I have both traveled a lot and I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to everything we wanted it to be. I'm happy to know now that it was. Truly.

It was A LOT to take in. So, I'll break it down by segments if I can remember everything which would be a miracle as big as sweet baby Jesus in his Golden Fleece diaper and a tuxedo t-shirt (I like to imagine him like that bc it says I wanna be formal, but I also like to party).


Let's talk about just getting the Galapagos, while easier than we thought, I would still recommend leaving at least 2-3 days in your trip to get there, because as always there are beautiful interesting things to see and do along the way. 

Getting to the Galapagos Step 1- Fly to Ecuador 

The Galapagos are islands off of the coast of Ecuador, so you need to fly there to start. Ultimately you should get to Guayaquil to puddle jump to the islands, but there aren't really direct flights there, so most fly to Quito first. 

Being from Sarasota, Fort Lauderdale we found was the best price and path to get to Quito. Although it did require a 3 hour drive (from which we almost missed our flight, ha!), it was only a 3 hour 45 minute flight into Quito. Not bad. We flew Jet Blue which I know had an awkward reputation for a while, but we loved it! Super comfortable, not too stingy, and super smooth experience. 

We didn't realize, but the travel agent had booked all of the nicest hotels (no wonder it took us a year and a half to save up for this VIP shit). :) We had a Mr. Bean-like man greet us at Casa Gangotena. He was the cutest! Everything was "eeexxxccellleennnttt." Kind of like a less evil Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, super cute. The angel gave us what anyone would expect at a super fancy hotel... juice boxes and sammies. WITH the crust cut off. Classy.

So, at midnight we did the only thing we knew how to do with juice boxes, besides drink them. A very sexy boudoir photo shoot (exhibit A and B below). There was an awesome rooftop at the hotel that Ryan took some nicer pictures at as well.

Casa Gangotena Juice Box

Casa Gangotena Quito Ecaudor


Hotel Photoshoot

Some beautiful shots of our hotel...

Flowers Orchids Casa Gangotena Quito Ecaudor

Beautiful orchids at the Casa Gangotena!

Check out these beautiful photos by our friend Sean Parker (who we met on the trip!)

Check out his Flickr gallery here!

Ecuadorian Orchids

Photo credit Sean Parker

Casa Gangotena

Photo credit Sean Parker

Casa Gangotena Bar

Photo credit Sean Parker

Casa Gangotena

All photo credit to myself. Yeah, I know, I'm good. 


The next morning, although we were exhausted from traveling and getting in late the night before, I've always thought the best way to see a new city is to take an early morning run- before the hustle ad bustle begins. You can really have some more intimate time learning its ins and outs. It was a little tough with the altitude, but it woke us up and was super refreshing.

Some shots of Quito from Sean!

Quito Streets

Photo credit Sean Parker

Streets of Quito

Photo credit Sean Parker

Streets of Quito

Photo credit Sean Parker

After breakfast, we met some of the people we would be going on the cruise with and headed to the Basilica del Voto Nacional, the most gorgeous church in the heart of Quito.



Some shots from Sean from this part of the trip as well!

Basílica del Voto Nacional

Photo credit Sean Parker


To get up to the top, you've got to climb all the way to the top on these narrow stairs.



Basílica del Voto Nacional

Photo credit Sean Parker



Ryan walking the bridge of death 



The stairs....

Basilica Stairs Quito Ecuador

Photo credit Inside Quito


It definitely got my heart pumping (but nothing compared to the Inca Trail I would later find out). But here was our reward :)


Basílica del Voto Nacional

Photo credit Sean Parker



While exploring, we luckily met a couple our age, Megan and Sean (the photographers), while exploring and ended up hitting it off! After a lunch with a KKK-esque show (what?!)...

Santa Semana Purple Costume

KKK or Santa Semana?!

Photo credit Sean Parker

Turns out it's for Santa Semana, but with no warning, we were a bit creeped out to say the least. Especially since they did this whole bit with the music about 7 times.


Not just one...just kept getting more and more uncomfortable.

There was more exploring to do, so we headed to La Ronda street- a cobblestone quaint hidden street. Super cool.  Unfortunately, the late afternoon rains changed our plans, so we ducked into a bar to grab a beer.

Little did we know it was also a karaoke bar. So, for the next several hours, we sang our little hearts out (we were the only ones- shocking) with our new friends. 

If you ever wanted to see a good hair whippin, this is it. 

The games continued after we made a lasting impression on the karaoke bar owner.

Karaoke Calle La Ronda

We got to explore the city by ourselves for the rest of the day which was amazing. A little bit about Quito...It's capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Incan city and is the second highest capital city in the world second only to La Paz, Bolivia. Despite a tragic earthquake in 1917, the city has one of the best-preserved, least altered historic center in Latin America. The city's historic center is actually a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.


Here's some shots of what we saw by Sean. 

Guard in QuitoGuarding well, Ryan...



Streets of Quito

Ryan and I laughing at our very kind friend Quito get hassled by the locals. Kidding.

Photo credit Sean Parker

Quito Ecuador

Photo credit Sean Parker

Street Meat

Photo credit Sean Parker


Photo credit Sean Parker

Walking around Quito we quickly realized there was a strange(ly amazing) amount of pinatas for sale around the area.

Pinatas in Quito

Photo credit Flickr

One can only walk by so many pinatas before one buys a piñata. It's a rule. Will power is slim to none around these parts. 

Which piñata is one supposed to choose with so many options... Murika. Always choose Murika. Especially when you're outside of Murika so people know how Murikan you are. 

So, we took home a tiny Captain America and put him safely in our room until later.

Captain America Piñata

"Not weird". To be continued...

Later in the evening, we were taken to the most beautiful glass restaurant overlooking Quito. They greeted us the way I prefer to be greeted.. with a hot adult drink. That sounded dirtier than it was supposed to be. For that reason and many others, I highly recommend El Ventanal for an amazing meal and even more incredible view of the city. 

Rooftop Dinner Beautiful Views Quito

Some views from Sean's camera!

El Ventanal

Photo credit Sean Parker

El Ventanal


Ryan & Brittany Quito

After enjoying the most beautiful views, we went back to introduce Captain America to his maker. We somehow were able to talk a bunch of people into going on the roof with us and hitting a piñata. Why? No idea. It just seemed so right.

I'm not sure why, but there is nothing funnier than watching someone totally bif a piñata. They're just trying so hard and get nowhere close...and it's amazing. 

Piñata Hitting

Captain America Pinata

Our relationship idols, Ricky and his wife Connie were the coolest! They buffed too. But still, they're amazing. 


The end of a piñata hitting should always be followed with this... throw a body part of the piñata over the railing, then make your friend go get it. Then, proceed to wait for the perfect moment and then throw the pinata's head over the railing at said friend to scare shit out of said friend. There you have it. That's how it ended. 

We headed to bed with the excitement of heading to the Galapagos the next day!

Flight to Galapagos

  Comment below and tell us where you want to go in South America!

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