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Quito Free Walking Tour – Start Your Visit Here

Quito Free Walking Tour – Start Your Visit Here

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We took the Quito Free Walking Tour about 2 weeks into our visit to Quito, Ecuador.  In retrospect we wish that it would have been our first stop.  Here’s why . . .

This is as comprehensive a city tour as I have taken and paid handsomely.  For those that haven’t done a “free” walking tour before, the guides work for tips. So they tend to put more effort into entertaining you.

The tour was guided by one of the experienced staff.  In our case, that was Ovi.

Quito: Ovi breaking it down . . .

Ovi breaking it down . . .

The walking tour lasts about 3 hours and is an easy walk through Old Town with plenty of stops.

Quito Central Market

Ovi started us off at the Central Market where he described the typical dishes of Ecuador. He also pointed out the fruits from the region and the the role exports play in the Ecuadoran economy.  

Surprise fun fact:  the biggest export is not fruit but is actually oil.  We then sampled some fresh juice from a vendor inside the market which can be blended to taste.  

Our pick – mora (blackberry) with coconut milk – delish.

Quito Central Market

Quito Historic Center

We moved on to the historic city center where we were given a brief history of Ecuador, learning how it gained its independence from Spain.  

Ovi pointed out specific buildings and explained their significance.  We also learned about Ecuador’s decision to move to using the US dollar as its currency and the implications for life in Ecuador.  

According to Ovi, those Ecuadorians who left during the devaluation of the currency prospered in countries such as Spain and Italy. They sent money to their relatives who remained in the country.  

Now returning to Ecuador, many of these people were able to construct huge homes. This explains why we saw mansions in the midst of impoverished areas in the countryside.

Old Town Church Steeple

Old Town Church Steeple

From there we visited a candy shop where we were given an explanation of each kind and invited to purchase what we wanted to sample.

Quito Free Walking Tour

Quito Free Walking Tour – Visit to thCandy Shop

Not finished yet.  We were given a tour of the interior of the San Francisco Church and were told about the artwork inside.

Ornate Church Interior

Ornate Church Interior

Tasting Ecuador’s Chocolate

This was followed by a trip to a chocolate shop where Ovi gave a presentation about how chocolate is made.

Learning About Chocolate Making During The Quito Free Walking Tour

Learning About Chocolate Making During The Quito Free Walking Tour

Is Quito Safe?

We were shown the area where the black market had been ousted from several years ago.

We were told that the climb to see the La Virgen de Quito statue at the top of the hill above was not recommended.  

The thieves that were moved out of the black market apparently wait for tourists to make the climb and are ripe for mugging.  

Tip – take a taxi to the top if you want to see the statue.  We had been planning to hike the stairs in 2 days.  Scratch.

La Virgen de Quito

La Virgen de Quito

Can you believe this is a free walking tour?

He ended the tour with a trip to a few artisan shops and an invitation to Almuerzo (lunch).  

There are several restaurants dotted throughout the City who serve a typical Ecuadoran lunch.

This is typically of a glass of fresh juice, salad or soup, rice, fried plantains,  beans and most commonly fish, beef or chicken.  

Always accompanied with a sauce called Aji (mildly spicy creamy condiment with fresh onions).

El Boyero Restauran

El Boyero Restauran

As a bonus we got to meet some interesting people and were given additional recommendations about Quito and other places that we were planning to visit.  

The tour in sum was fantastic and well worth the price tag of “free”.  But don’t worry, we did give Ovi a tip to show our appreciation.  If you go, we recommend you do the same.

Cheers!

Related Articles about travel in Ecuador and things to do in Quito:

Ovidio Luque

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

This is Ovi, your walking tour Guide, and im so glad you had a good time in the tour. Things are going great here in Ecuador, if you wanna visit our webpage and see how are things going visit www.freewalkingtourecuador.com

Good travels y hasta pronto!!!

richard

Wednesday 31st of August 2016

are there any tours in the afternoon?

Jen

Thursday 31st of March 2016

Hi Ovi - Yes we loved the tour and happy that you found it. We saw on Facebook that you were recently married - congrats to you both. We will look you up if we make it back to Quito. And no question, we highly recommend starting a visit to Quito with your tour.

Francesca @onegrloneworld

Tuesday 11th of August 2015

My jaw dropped when I saw the church - I can only imagine how beautiful it was in person! I love walking tours, this one sounds like something I'd really enjoy. I didn't know that Ecuador exported oil at all... or that they use the dollar!

Vanessa

Monday 10th of August 2015

I love when you get the "extras" such as the tip on not climbing to the statue so as to avoid being a tired target of the petty criminals.

Great post.

Vicky and Buddy

Sunday 9th of August 2015

A lot of people tend to stay away from tours, but I think they can be really helpful to first get acquainted with a new city. It looks like you guys learned a lot!

Jennifer @ Made all the Difference Travel Blog

Sunday 9th of August 2015

I love free walking tours. They showcase the best parts of cities. Plus it's a great way to get a feel of a city from a local.