Quito and the Galapagos Islands, an outdoor adventure where animals will be your friends
If you are coming from Europe, it will be easy to land in Quito.
Amsterdam or Madrid are the most popular routes chosen to come to visit this small Country. From London you will do a stopover in Bogota “Colombia” and if you are in the USA, Miami, Atlanta, Houston proposes lots of daily flights as well.
Ecuador is on the Pacific side of the South American continent in between Colombia in the north and Peru in the South. Quito the capital city of Ecuador, has approximately 3.1 million inhabitants in 2018 and continues to grow rapidly. This capital is gay friendly with absolutely no doubt.
The nerve center of Quito is located in the north of the city, where all the bars, nightlife, hotels are, but one of its major attraction is the historic colonial center, a must-see for all tourists. UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage Site in 1978 for its colonial architecture.
Having made this wonderful trip, I recommend you visit the old city the day after your arrival because most of the flight arrives late afternoon or at night. The center of Quito is a breathtaking architectural pearl, every corner is a discovery. Indeed, this old city is considered the best restored and the largest of the American continent. I had the choice to go by myself, but I preferred to be accompanied by a guide who explained and told me the fascinating history of this city built more than 2800 meters above the sea.
As the old town is crowded, I preferred to stay in the north area as the nightlife was more exciting and the next day easier to go for an excursion outside the city. Regarding hotels it all depends on your budget, but personally the two following hotels are a very good choice.
1- The NH Collection Quito Royal is located near the Pink gay zone and near another street full of restaurants and bars called “Isabel la Catholica”
2- The Hotel Casa Joaquin owned by a gay couple and situated in the Pink gay zone, it is a colonial refurbish charming house with a terrace and a small, charming bar.
After a day visiting the old town my favorite place to drink a cocktail was the “Zinc” located near a residential area, a fabulous trendy place where good food and gay people will go very often. In general, the community is discreet, but we always find us out. The Gay Community as I said is discreet, but you can easily have fun at the “zona rosa, Pink gay zone” of the Mariscal area in the north district where a lot of gay bars and discotheques like the famous and popular gay bar called “Pravada” and “Tercer Milenio Evolucion” open from23h00 to 05h00 are. The Kika was my favorite place for fun, this trendy gay club with the good-looking men. Kika is a smaller venue but still draws in large crowds of LGBT+ people throughout the weekend, it plays plenty of International and Latino pop hits until 4am. If you are looking for a more relaxed evening, try out the Karishina Lounge by Kika. This venue is within a 10 minutes’ walk of the pink gay zone in Quito. One of other places to go and have fun on Friday nights “La Disco Bitch” place not so fare from “Kika” to party in Quito. This Gay venue attracts a mix of young adults and very good fun!. Remember that is quite common to go to one place and go to another one after to keep going to the party.
My favorite place to relax before going to a club is the sauna “Sauna Azul” is a small and clean gay sauna located at the Pink zone of “la Mariscal”. It is a great place to meet nice boys, chatting without all the sexual tension. This Sauna offers hot tubs, steam room, video, massage, and a gym, remember to go before the clubs and bars as the sauna close at 22h00 weekday and 21h00 weekend. The Ecuadorian gastronomy is varied, and it is easy to eat either a fish dish or meat, Ecuadorian are carnivorous, although if you are vegetarian, it will be easy to please you. As the city is cosmopolitan, I found funny to be able to go and eat any kind of dishes. During your short stay in Quito take advantage of eating in a great “sophisticate” places like “Zerdo” in the Mariscal area, where the design wood bar will surely satisfy before having a delicious food. When I made this trip to Ecuador, a new area near la Mariscal really took all my attention, it was at a walking distance of the NH hotel where I stayed. In fact, is a long street called “Isabel la Catolica” where many restaurants and bars offers any kind of food, they all play music with good vibes and energy. I stayed in Quito for only few days before going to the Galapagos.
Your trip to the Islands as to be prepared in advance, and a travel agency will propose any kind of itineraries regarding the number of days you wish to stay. It could be 4 or 5 or 8 days in general. I strongly recommend “Ishpingotours” a tour operator specializing in gay tours in Ecuador and gay Galapagos tours owned by a nice gay from California. Most of the flight will leave Quito early in the morning, the Island has one hour less then the continent. And it took about 2 hours flight. They are two airports depending on where you are going to stay or taking a cruise.
The enchanting island of Galapagos are unbelievable. It is once in the life trip where the wildlife is surrounding you, located at only two hours of the capital city by plane. There are to ways to visit them and I did both to make sure I can enjoy each of the available options.
The first one is staying in hotels in the island called “Santa Cruz” or “San Cristobal” The Island hopping which consist a stay at a hotel and day boat excursions is a quite way to discover the Galapagos the day excursions includes a long list of activities like, snorkeling, boats, walking on volcanoes and observing animals like, see lion, blue foot bubby, albatross crabs, iguanas and many others that are only living in Galapagos. If you are looking for a quite Island and larger beaches “Isabela” the largest Island could interesting you as it is very natural but unfortunately none of the Islands propose nude beaches as the entire archipelago is a preserved National Park.
This first choice was more suitable for me, as it allowed me to choose my excursions and enjoy the night activities easier, although after a long day of sightseeing I was glad to get some rest.
The second choice is a cruise of 4 o 5 or 8 days on board of a sailing boat with 16 passengers. If you prefer a larger sophisticated boat with a bit of more cabins comfort, or a larger boat up to a maximum 100 passengers it is really matter of your budget's preference.
Choosing a cruise has the magic sensations to feel like an explorer, every morning you wake up having a new senary, colors, island in front of you. At the time of landing on the island, everything is made to letting you experience as the first visitor ever. Life on boat after excursion is great, with lots of options to be with others passenger and having a drink on the deck, chatting knowing each other and sharing great moments.
As you are in a protected national park you will have to respect rules that must be followed towards exuberant wildlife and flora.
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