Quito is an incredible city, and just a 40 minute bus ride away from our Manna Project Ecuador site in the Los Chillos Valley, it becomes a home away from home for many Program Directors. With its beautiful architecture, constant rotation of festivals celebrating food, culture, and cinema, and its gleaming new malls, cafés, and restaurants, there is aways plenty to do in the city for a Program Director on their time off!
We are not the first ones to praise Quito for all it has to offer. Do a Google search on Quito and you'll find that it is regularly praised by travel guides, magazines, and the like as one of the hot destinations for all kinds of travelers. Lonely Planet even named it the #2 destination among its Top Ten Cities to visit in 2016!
Here are some of Program Directors' favorite places to visit in Quito!
The Historic Center of Quito has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its incredible Spanish colonial architecture. It is the best-preserved and least-altered historic center in all of Latin America.
There are many beautiful churches and historic buildings to visit. Last week, I visited the Presidential Palace for the first time, where visitors can see the ornate rooms and lavish gifts given by visiting presidents and diplomats from around the world.
The Guayasamin museum transformed the home of Ecuador's most famous painter, Eduardo Guayasamin, into one of Quito's biggest tourist attractions and loveliest sites. Not only do visitors get the chance to see Guayasamin's most famous works of art, they also get to see his impressive collection of colonial art and take in an amazing view of Quito spilling over the mountains. Program Directors also enjoy the delicious coffee, juice, and snacks at Omama Cafe just one block away...we even spent time there during our Quarter 4 retreat last year!
(and skull donuts)
There are plenty of cafés sprouting up all over the city, celebrating the world-class coffee of Ecuador, and Program Directors keep a running list of favorites. Although Ecuador has some of the best coffee in the world, there aren't that many cafés in the Los Chillos Valley where we live, so Program Directors will often take their laptops into Quito and work on MPI projects, or take a book and their journal to reflect and relax. One of my personal favorite cafes is Skull Donuts, a delicious café near La Mariscal district with coffee and donuts. Skull Donuts truly puts Dunkin Donuts to shame! They make fresh donuts every day from the most delicious (and creative!) ingredients, including a variety of fresh Ecuadorian fruit.
Ecuadorians are lovers of parks, and on the weekends (particularly Sundays), Quito's parks are filled with families spending time together. Parque Carolina is one of the largest and liveliest parks in Quito, and it has so many things to see and do on the weekends: bike rentals, paddle boat rides, and a variety of food stands selling everything you could imagine and more. Parque Carolina is a great place for a picnic or people watching!
Join us - apply to become a Program Director today.
Carley Clement | Senior Program Director
Sangolqui, Rumiñahui, Ecuador