Quito New Town
The Sunday art market in Quito´s El Ejido Park
Souvenir and craft stalls at the craft market in Quito
View of Quito city´s new town backed by mountains
The Vivarium in Quito New Town
logo of Quito New Town's Vivarium
Quito´s Botanical Garden

Quito's New Town
encompasses the tourist area of La Mariscal and the business district and attractions of La Carolina Park further north.  It's a must-see on any trip to Ecuador.

Quito New Town -  Ecuador Destinations

Quito New Town includes Quito's business district, around the La Carolina Park (Parque La Carolina), where many of the embassies and international corporations are located along with some of the smarter hotels.  There is a wide range of fascinating museums in Quito to suit all tastes.  Since the relocation of the airport away from the city, Quito New Town no longer suffers from aircraft noise, making it an even better location to start or finish your trip to Ecuador.
La Carolina Park is popular with locals at weekends for walking, running, cycling and football games - visit to get an insight into life here, though avoid the park at night.   It's also home to the Vivarium, Natural History Museum & Botanical Gardens.  
The Vivarium, in Parque La Carolina on the Avenida Rio Amazonas side, has a fascinating collection of snakes, frogs, turtles and caiman.  The Vivarium plays an important role in research, in caring for amphibians confiscated by customs, and also in educating students and visitors.  Ecuador has several poisonous snakes, notably the "equis" ("X") or bushmaster and the coral snake.  Only around 10% of Ecuador's 290 types of snake are poisonous, many are endangered, most are shy and well camouflaged.  Tourists will have to be extremely lucky to see a snake in the wild, so a visit to the Vivarium is your best option.  Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30a.m. to 5.30p.m.  Keep hold of your ticket for a discount on entry to the Botanical Garden.
Quito's Botanical Garden in the Parque La Carolina is an oasis of calm in the middle of the city.  Exhibits of different habitats showcase various flowers and plants along with quirky little plant facts and statistics (Ecuador has more plant species than all of Europe put together; 1 in every 4 of Ecuador's plant species is an orchid).  The Orchid Houses have a huge range of these beautiful flowers and are also a great place to escape the rain if you are unlucky with the Quito weather or have timed your trip to Ecuador in the rainy season.  Daily, 9a.m. to 5p.m. (Monday 9a.m. to 3p.m.).  Adults $2, children $1.
Quito New Town also covers the La Mariscal area, between El Ejido Park and Avenida Colón, which is the main tourist area.  La Mariscal is full of hostals, hotels, internet cafes, travel agents, souvenir shops, laundries, restaurants and pubs.  In short, everything a backpacker could need to get started on (or recover from) their trip to Ecuador.  If you don't speak any Spanish, this is the place to base yourself as you are more likely to find English-speakers in this part of town.
La Mariscal is also where young Quiteños hang out as it is the nightlife centre of the city.  For this reason, Quito hotels in La Mariscal may be noisy at night, so bear this in mind when looking for a New Town hotel.  For a private room, quiet accommodation & cable TV, try La Casa Sol (www.lacasasol.com). Rooms approximately $70/night.  For quieter budget options far enough away from the square to avoid the ever-present thumping of local clubs, but close enough to restaurants and bars, try Posada de Los Jazmines (www.posadalosjazmines.com, $9/night with breakfast) or Posada del Maple (www.posadadelmaple.com, $9/night with breakfast). If you want to meet other travellers and don't mind bunk accommodation, check out the very social and noisy Vibes Hostel (www.vibesquito.com $7/night with breakfast) or El Centro del Mundo ($5.60/night with breakfast).
Quito's Sunday art market is an informal affair that takes place around the edge of El Ejido Park, weather permitting.  There are a wide range of styles (and qualities) of painting, but since art is such a personal thing, you might find something you love.  El Ejido Park is to the south of the New Town, or the north of the Old Town, or in a sort of no-man's-land in the middle, depending on your Quito guidebook.  El Ejido is also home to a weekend craft market with lines of green tents housing the usual range of textiles, hats and jewelry with a few more unusual offerings such as musical instruments & coins.  It's not all aimed at tourists, either - a couple of stalls have hand-embroidered blouses, woven belts and all the other paraphernalia for the traditional Otavalo costume, which they sell to the large population of Otavaleñas working in Quito.
The Quito craft market at Washington & Juan Leon Mera is open all week and is just a few blocks away.  There really is something for everyone here, so you can round off your trip to Ecuador here and spend your remaining dollars on souvenirs and gifts.  Take as little as possible with you & don't make yourself an easy target for pickpockets.  Be prepared to haggle!
The easiest way from Quito New Town to the Old Town or Historic Centre of Quito is the EcoVia bus along 6 de Diciembre.
Many visitors plan their trip to Ecuador as a series of mini excursions, storing the bulk of their luggage in a Quito hotel so as to travel light.  The good transport links and facilities here make a hotel in Quito New Town a great choice for this.
Useful Spanish Vocabulary for Quito New Town, the capital city's tourist & business district:
Parque: park
Museo: museum
Trole: trolley bus system along 10 de Agosto
EcoVia: bus line along 6 de Diciembre
Ecuador Destinations: Quito New Town
The capital city of Ecuador, Quito, has many historical and cultural attractions.  Quito city maps give enough information to get to the various tourist attractions in the new town.  Most visitors end up in Quito New Town at some point on their trip to Ecuador.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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