I get tired of travel planning, searching through endless websites for the best things to do in Quito, and feeling overwhelmed since they are all sort of the same.  Then I start questioning whether any of these writers have even set foot in Quito or if they are just lifting all of their knowledge from Wikipedia and the thousands of other “Things to do in Quito” articles out there.   This process actually makes me sad. Does anyone else feel this way?  

I know this sounds strange since I am one of those websites that tell people what they can do in a destination, but I only do write about places I’ve actually been to and experiences I’ve had.  

Sometimes I have the energy to search through all of those little details hopping from review to review and pulling together a custom itinerary, but let’s be serious – this takes hours if not days.  Other times I just want someone to hand it to me on a platter, allow me to customize it slightly – but let someone else deliver me to the best experiences in Quito that are also unique and cultural.   

But I want the platter handed to me by someone truly knowledgeable of the area…not just some website that is trying to win the SEO game.  

On my recent trip to Quito Ecuador, I did just that, I let someone else handle it, I trusted them, and it worked out incredibly well.  Surprisingly it wasn’t a tour company – it was a historic hotel in Quito Old Town that I let take the reins and it was a perfect way to experience the city leaning on their local expertise.  

San Francisco Square Quito
San Francisco Plaza

Casa Gangotena not only offers a beautiful place to stay in heart of the historic center, it also will lead you through the best parts of the city teaching you about Ecuador history, culture, and traditions.  It will immerse you in one-of-a-kind experiences that aren’t your run-of-the-mill ‘best things to do in Quito’, and you’ll barely have to lift a finger when it comes to planning.  It’s sort of like a concierge service on turbo drive, they don’t simply tell you were to go, they take you there and hold your hand while doing it.   

Don’t Skip Quito Ecuador
Quito Old Town UNESCO Site
Stay at Casa Gangotena
7 Things To Do in Quito Arranged by Casa Gangotena
Take a Heritage Guardians Tour
Visit San Francisco Bell Tower at Sunset
Visit Museo Casa del Alabado
Learn How to Make Ecuadorian Ceviche
Visit a Local Pottery Studio and Artist
Do a Chocolate Tasting
Rent Bikes and Go Ride with the Locals on Sunday

Don’t Skip Quito Ecuador  

But first – let’s talk about why you should make a stop in Quito.  I know most people go to Ecuador to see the Galapagos Islands.  However, if you are just going to the islands (which are incredible and not to be missed), then you are missing out on so much more the diverse country has to offer.   If you can, then I suggest you get the big picture of Ecuador by adding a stop in Quito – a capital city at the center of the world.  

Spend a couple of days in Quito first and soak up the history and culture of this high-altitude city perched on the equator. There is plenty to do and see in the city, not to mention the incredible and up-and-coming food, drink, and artesian scenes.  

It’s Easy to Get to Quito

JetBlue actually has budget friendly airfares direct from Fort Lauderdale to Quito starting at $130 one way. Then it’s easy to take a domestic flight from Quito to the Galapagos for not much more than it would cost you to just go to the Galapagos directly.

Quito Old Town UNESCO Site

In 1978, Quito’s Old Town was declared the first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site city thanks to having the largest and best-preserved Historic Center in the Americas. From the over-the-top gilt interior of the Church of la Compañía to the government, municipal, and church headquarters facing off in the Plaza de la Independencia to the pedestrian streets of La Ronda and the daily bustle of San Francisco market, the cultural heritage of Quito is impressive. The hotels and restaurants cater to a tourist crowd, but there is also a feeling of a bit of a revival in Old Town, where locals and tourists can intermix in daily life; breathing new life into the old city.  

Stay at Casa Gangotena – Your Expert Guide to Quito

Casa Gangotena quito old town
Casa Gangotena

I go to a foreign country to get out of my comfort zone and see another culture.  So why in the world would you go to a place like Quito and stay in an American chain hotel?  Quito is like many South American capital cities – sprawling yet packed tightly with old crumbling buildings.  There is an old historic part of town, and then the newer suburb where most people live.  

I know what suburbs look like, we have them all over the US.  But I don’t know what a  nearly 500 year old city looks like – one that started with the Incas, was colonized and now is full of old beautiful buildings each telling a story of Ecuador’s history and traditions.  

This is why you stay at a place like Casa Gangotena in the historic heart of Quito – to experience this history first hand and immerse yourself in the culture.  

Casa Gangotena sits in a prime location on the corner of San Francisco Plaza.  Over centuries, the plaza went from being a holy Inca area to an open-air market for indigenous traders, and eventually was the setting for a number of colonial mansions to be built around its perimeter.  Casa Gangotena was one of those mansions.  It sadly was damaged in a fire in 1914 but was rebuilt by its owners, the Gangotena’s, in 1924. The Gangotena family owned the home until the mid-2000’s when the current owners (Metropolitan Touring) purchased the mansion with the goal of converting it into a world-class boutique hotel.  

Casa Gangotena Rooms and Decor  

The rooms are absolutely charming.  I walked in and was in love with the bright art deco decor, big bathrooms with tubs, and tall windows.  Many of the rooms look right out on San Francisco Plaza.  I felt as if I were in a movie as I opened the big windows and looked out on the ancient square!  

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