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Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Northeast
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Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

I will be in Quito for a whole day in January before joining a group to the Galapagos. Would love to get out to Otavalo although it will be a Wednesday. I have other interests as well. Should I try to get a tour guide or can I navigate safely alone around town and possibly to Otavalo market?

Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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1. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Quito is pretty easy for touring on your own. The EcoVia, on the east side of the valley, and the Trole, on the west side, run north and south to the main tourist areas for 25 cents. Cabs are quite cheap.

Otavalo is easy to get to by bus. It costs $2 and takes about two hours.

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2. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Thanks for your help. Is this a safe city for me to be alone? Also, I do not speak Spanish. Is English spoken in tourist areas? Thank you!

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Well, I go out alone...The usual precautions apply. There will be plenty of English speakers in the Mariscal if you're into that scene. Many attractions in el centro will have an English speaking guide on hand.

Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

When I was in Quito (and, for that matter, all of Ecuador and Central America), I traveled alone. I spoke a little bit of Spanish, but certainly didn't think myself terribly fluent. It probably wouldn't hurt you to learn some basic Spanish and maybe even get a small translator to carry around if that makes you feel more comfortable. That said, as mentioned there will be enough people speaking English in the Mariscal, aka "Gringoland". I used it as a base to "go home to" at night, and then went wherever I wanted to go in the city, probably including a neighborhood that was a little sketchy.

If you use commonsense things such as not flashing cash, dressing conservatively, don't be opening maps in public (step into a store or other private place), you should be fine.

I used public transport or very occasional taxis exclusively and other than getting a little lost on occasion never had problems. AZ gives accurate pricing on public transports, taxis rarely exceeded $10 for a ride, most of the time was $2-3 in Quito.

Personally, I would forego a tour guide. Do some research on things you might want to visit and just go. I think you get better experiences when you go on your own as you see things as they "really" are, not preset to what a tour guide wants to show you - though if you get a good guide I suppose they can know the area better to show you things that may not be in a tourbook.

Anyway, my two cents...

Ecuador
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5. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Getting an expert to take around on a half day or full day tour of Quito, considering the short amount of time will be a good idea. Also you can visit the Equator, plus the famous Teleferico (cable car) that reaches 13000 ft above the city and gives you the oportunity to view incredible landscapes of Quito plus it sourrounding valley. If you decide to go on your own at the trolley bus or Eco via bus, be carefull with your belongings, put your backpack in front of you and leave your valuables at the hotel. Regards.

Quito, Ecuador
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6. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

Hi there ronkers, Quito is a city that requires a little more care than others. Walking around the city is usually ok but you should avoid parks and small alleys as possible. When taking public transportation always keep an eye on your belongings at all times.

Otavalo is a great city, really safe and lively. Since you will only do one day maybe the only shot you have of doing both of this is doing Otavalo in the day and a small night tour of the city center in Quito. For the second I would definately recommend a profesional tour guide.

You can PM me if you need any special recommendations, have fun!

7. Re: Getting around alone in Quito and beyond

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