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Choosing where to stay in Quito, Ecuador is one of the most important decisions to make when booking a trip to Ecuador. Quito was the first city to ever be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site! This is owing to Quito’s beautiful landscapes, 18th century architecture, and rich cultural traditions.
Where to Stay in Quito: Old Town vs. New Town
When thinking about where to stay in Quito, many tourist’s first question is whether to book a hotel in the Old Town or the New. Quito is divided into two main areas: the historic Old Town, and the modern New Town. While both areas of town have plenty to offer tourists, I recommend staying in the New Town overnight and traveling to the Old Town during the day for tours and sightseeing.
Quito’s Old Town (aka El Centro Historico) is located in the southern portion of the city, and features most of the architectural and historic sites Quito has to offer. Quito’s Old Town is also the best preserved colonial city in South America!
You can easily walk from one location to another in the Old Town — most sites are just a few blocks from each other. The Old Town features the beautiful Basilica del Voto Nacional, a gothic church built in the 1500s, as well as Ecuador’s presidential palace.
The Old Town is, obviously, much older than the New Town, and some of its neighborhoods can be a bit run down and are sketchy at night. The streets here are darker and smaller, and just about everything shuts down at dusk. There’s really nothing for tourists to do in this part of town once the sun goes down, which is at 6pm year-round thanks to Quito’s position along the equator. For this reason, it’s better to take an Uber to explore the Old Town during the day, and then head back to the New Town (also called La Mariscal) for the evening.
If Quito’s Old Town is a well-preserved colonial village, the New Town is just the opposite. Full of large streets, modern parks, and tall buildings, La Mariscal, as it’s known locally, is packed with restaurants, hotels, and nightlife.
Staying in Plaza Foch
One of the tourist hot spots in Quito’s New Town is Plaza Foch, a square filled with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Many tourists choose to stay in this area due to the availability of things to do at night, walkability, and ease of access to other parts of the city. Ubers and taxis are abundant in this area.
While many of the restaurants in Plaza Foch are Americanized or otherwise touristy (read: overpriced and full of white people), I still think it’s worth staying nearby. You don’t HAVE to eat there, of course, and I would certainly recommend broadening your horizons during the day, but it’s convenient.
When I visited Quito as a solo female traveler, I knew I wanted to stay within walking distance of my hotel at night, and in an area with lots of other people around for safety. While I can imagine pickpockets might target the less aware tourists, I felt completely safe in this area. It was well lit and always busy but not crowded.
There’s a great coffee shop in the main square, Juan Valdez Cafe, which is sort of like South America’s Starbucks. They had tons of drinks and breakfast options, free wi-fi, and lots of seating, so I found myself grabbing coffee and a pastry here most mornings before heading out to explore.
Ecuador is known for its phenomenal coffee (they do grow coffee beans there, after all!) and there are tons of locally owned coffee shops throughout Quito that will serve some of the best coffee you’ve ever had! But for a quick grab-and-go first thing in the morning, Juan Valdez in Plaza Foch is not a bad option.
Just a few blocks from the main square in Plaza Foch are smaller, local restaurants that are fantastic. Achiote serves traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, Isakaya Sushi has near-perfect reviews, and there are all types of South American cuisine to be found nearby. As you can see, there’s something for everyone in this neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Quito: Hotel Cayman
Hotel Cayman is a tiny hotel located just two blocks from Plaza Foch, on a quiet and tree-lined street. Staying here is one of the best decisions I made while in Ecuador, and remains one of the best and most memorable places I have ever stayed while traveling!
When I arrived, I was greeted by very friendly, English-speaking staff. The first floor of the hotel includes the front desk, a community area with a couch, TV, board games, etc. and a courtyard breakfast area.
Once I checked into Hotel Cayman (note: you are expected to pay cash) I was led to my adorable room upstairs. There are just a few doors upstairs, maybe ten, each using a skeleton key for entry. It was so charming! Since I was traveling solo, I took a single (twin) room but they offer double beds as well. The cheerful yellow room included a private bathroom, closet, and window overlooking the street.
The going rate for a single room is about $30 USD per night, including breakfast, and I could not have been happier for that price! Everything was clean and comfortable and I felt truly welcome by the staff.
Breakfast is available downstairs each morning. There is a selection of croissants, bagels, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee, plus the onsite chef is there to make fresh eggs for you as you like them.
Hotel Cayman in Quito is the perfect hotel for a solo traveler or for a couple. The room was comfortable and quiet, and within walking distance of just about anything you might need. Although the hotel is located off a main road, just a few minutes’ walk from bustling Plaza Foch, the actual street it’s on is very quiet and quaint. The room’s windows open and you can hear music drifting in from somewhere each morning. I can’t imagine a better place to spend $30 for a night’s rest in Ecuador!