Sadly, Quito is not an easy city for disabled travelers to move around. There are few wheelchair ramps or accessible buildings, and the Old Town's narrow sidewalks are often potholed. The city's eastern and western neighborhoods are built on the lower slopes of the mountains, with pedestrian access often taking the form of extremely steep sidewalks or even steps.
However, the city's trolley bus system is wheelchair accessible and Ecuadorian's with disabilities do use public transport, usually with the help of others. Many hotels have accessible, ground-floor rooms, but the best bet may be one of the city's international chain hotels.
Dangers & Annoyances
Quito has its share of robberies and petty crime, but the dangers can be minimized by taking a few precautions.
- Mariscal Sucre remains a target for muggers and pickpockets, though Plaza Foch and the surrounding streets now have a visible police presence. Take a taxi after dark when traveling more than a few blocks.
- Because most of the shops and restaurants in the Old Town close in the evening, it can feel sketchy wandering some of its outlying dimly lit blocks alone. Pickpocketing, the old-fashioned mustard scam and snatch-and-run robberies do happen here, so keep your wits about you.
Police Station On the west edge of Parque La Carolina
Filing a Police Report
If you get robbed, file a police report (denuncio) at a police station or tourism security service office; the latter has stations in the airport and Quitumbe bus terminal. Or call 02-254-3983 for assistance.
Use ATMs in the daytime, choose locations with other people about (shopping malls, banks etc) and stay alert upon exiting.
Pickpockets are a problem on the trolley bus system – keep an eye out while riding, and avoid taking it during rush hour and after dark. Always keep your bag close (on your lap); the slicing open of bags (even while between your legs/under your seat, or on your back) is common practice.
Emergency & Important Numbers
The Mariscal Sucre area has several internet cafes, many with inexpensive international calling rates. There are fewer options in the Old Town. Most charge around $1.50 per hour. Wi-fi is available throughout the city in cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and even public parks.
Quito has a small but active gay scene, with most of the bars and clubs located in Mariscal Sucre. A gay pride parade takes place in June; check the Orgullo LGBTI Ecuador Facebook page (www.facebook.com/orgulloEcuador) for details of the parade and other events.
Bring your passport for entry to clubs.
There are a few casas de cambio (currency-exchange bureaus) in the New Town, along Avenida Amazonas between Avenida Patria and Orellana, and there are dozens of banks throughout town.
Banks 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Bars 6pm to midnight Sunday to Thursday, to 2am Friday and Saturday
Restaurants 10:30am to 11pm Monday to Saturday
Shops 9am to 7pm Monday to Saturday; shopping malls to 8:30pm daily
Travel with Children
There’s plenty to keep the kiddies happy in Quito. Parque La Carolina is a good place to start: you can pedal around the lake in a paddleboat, or take in the natural history museum or the Vivarium, where the snakes, turtles and lizards will surely interest and/or frighten them. Nearby, the Jardín Botánico has a hands-on area for kids. The park is also home to the Mundo Juvenil, with a tiny planetarium, kids' shows and changing exhibits.
At the base of the TelefériQo there’s an amusement park, Vulqano Park, complete with bumper cars and other rides.
Housed in a former textile factory south of Old Town, Museo Interactivo de Ciencia has loads of hands-on exhibits to keep all ages engaged, from toddlers to tweens.
Built on the lower slopes of Pichincha and at the site of the city's first water distribution tanks, Museo del Agua-Yaku tells the story of the city's relationship to the most vital resource through interactive exhibits good for kids.
Tourist-oriented babysitting services are difficult to find in Quito unless you’re staying at one of the city’s top-end hotels, in which case the hotel will arrange for a sitter.