Archive for the ‘Quito’ Tag
News directly from Cafe Cultura
Just a quick note to say hello and to inform you about the latest developments at Café Cultura.
Operating since 1993, Café Cultura was the first boutique hotel founded in Ecuador. Ever since opening it has been ahead of its time, setting the trend. Its uniqueness features in Samantha Brown’s Passport to Latin America, a half hour TV show currently running on the Travel Channel, part of the Discovery Network.
In our continuous effort to improve and reinvent ourselves, we are creating a new home for our beloved Café Cultura. Just a few blocks from our present location the perfect spot for a boutique hotel exists. Surrounded by listed buildings, the house that we recently acquired won the city’s architectural prize in 1937 and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
The property features a manor house that incorporates Art Deco and Republican architectural styles. The magnificent interiors are bursting with the glamour of that golden era. This was simply a lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t possibly afford to miss, so we took on the challenge and we are currently restoring the house back to its former glory.
Business goes on as usual at our well known current address where we will be operating from until February 2010. In the new location, the hotel will offer a second to none array of social areas. The impressive wood paneled library with its extensive collection of books has a splendid fireplace and a wonderful crystal chandelier, original features of the house. The restaurant incorporates several cosy dining areas, the most comfortable and perfect place to enjoy the traditional culinary delights that Café Cultura is famous for. A well stocked wine cellar guarantees that the overall experience will be a memorable one.
The roof garden of the house presented a perfect canvas for us to design and incorporate a spa that offers the latest techniques and treatments, a state of the art bar and one of our suites, all with private terraces and enjoying a pristine view across the heart of Quito.
Since we really treat our clients as friends, we made a point of designing the most spacious, elegant and comfortable suites, the average size of each one will be 40m2 with the exception of the Cultura Suite which will be around 90m2.
Current Cafe Cultura details
We would like to kindly invite you to visit http://www.cafecultura.com/new_project where you will find plenty of photos, a 3D presentation and coming soon a video of the work in progress.
LINKED IN Profile
TAME airline has just renovated their logo and started a new ad campaign:
For the Galapagos Islands ..
For Quito ….
For Guayaquil …
For Macas ….
For Portoviejo ….
For Loja …
For Tulcan …
For Cuenca …
For Manta …
Sangay Touring provides readers with a diagram (and associated instructions) for the check-in procedure for Galapagos Islands flights from the Quito airport:
UPDATE [July 23, 2009]
New Quito International airport scheduled to open August 10, 2010. The airport is located 2400 m.a.s.l. (meters above sea level)
The New Quito International Airport (NQIA), the most modern of its kind in South America, is being constructed with the support and guarantee of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), the Government of Canada’s international contracting agency.
In 2005, CCC signed a $413 million contract to act as prime contractor for the construction of the New Quito International Airport in Ecuador. The Government of Canada, through CCC, guarantees that the airport will be completed on time, on budget and according to the quality standards stated in the contracts between CCC and CORPAQ, the local government entity, and between CCC and Aecon, the Canadian construction firm. The Canadian Commercial Corporation has been a key player in a number of projects in Ecuador in the past, and as an entity of the Government of Canada, CCC is well positioned to continue building on the solid relationship between Ecuador and Canada.
Contributing to Ecuador’s Prosperity
To date, the project is progressing according to the construction schedule, with various milestones achieved throughout the course of the project. During a recent meeting between Canadian investors in Ecuador and Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, the President highlighted the need for concession models for infrastructure projects that, in many cases, include financing, construction, operation and transfer, such is the case of the new airport project.
Ensuring Responsible Development
CCC adheres to the Government of Canada’s standards for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which include environmental, social, and ethical business practices. At CCC, the importance of CSR and the obligation to conduct our business in a socially responsible manner is recognized and demonstrated through the New Quito International Airport Project. CCC’s approach to CSR means that there is local staff engagement, knowledge transfer and that environmental laws are respected.
The NQIA will act as a centre for regional trade, while further solidifying the Canadian government’s relationship with Ecuador. The success of this project will facilitate collaboration on future projects in the region, and the Government of Canada is proud of its participation in this project, through the CCC, together with Canadian contractors’ participation. The airport is expected to be operational by October 2010.
The airport is being constructed under a 51-month Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract between the city of Quito and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) – part of the Canadian Government – that has subcontracted the $415m construction contract to the 50/50 joint venture between Aecon and Andrade Gutierrez Constructores.
The new airport is being built on a 1,500 ha site (ten times larger than the existing airport) about 18km from the centre of town.
The terminal building will have a floor space of 38,900m² on four levels; there will be six jetways and 12 remote gates. The air traffic control tower will be 41m tall, with the building occupying a site of 901m².
The initial cargo capacity will be 250,000t a year (eventually increasing to 440,000t). The cargo and support area will have 10,000m² of storage space and 2,200m² for offices, refrigerated storage and access (bonded) areas and also a 5,000m² hangar for maintenance activity. The airport will also incorporate a 60ha free-trade business zone to encourage commerce (increasing to 220ha by 2030).
The positioning of the new airport on the Caraburo Plateau will increase the taxi journey to about 50 minutes to the centre of the city but will have the advantage of only being at an elevation of 2,400m above sea level instead of 2,808m at the current airport so that passengers won’t find altitude sickness such a problem.
“The terminal building will have a floor space of 38,900m² on four levels; there will be six jetways and 12 remote gates.”
The new airport will have a single 3,600m runway. Initially the airport on opening in 2010 will be able to accommodate 4.5 million passengers a year (76,715 operations a year) but this will increase by phased development to 5.5 million by 2020 and 7.5 million by 2030.
Quito City has made a good start at supporting the new airport with the construction of a new 4.2km road and a water pipeline to the area where the new terminal building will be situated (this infrastructure project has required the purchase of land from 24 farms).
Currently the airport construction is in the phase of building dormitories and facilities for the construction workers and earth works relating to preparing the site for the new runway and terminal building. By March 2007 the first million tonnes of stone was compacted in the fill area.
Historic (Colonial) Quito is starting to be recognized for its architecture, culture and stunning scenery.
[MAP] Useful interactive Historic Quito map (in Spanish)
[MAP] Useful map in English
[TEXT & IMAGES] Overview of Quito & interesting points
[MAP] English map (interactive) of historic Quito
[TEXT & IMAGES] Overview of Quito & attractions
[MAP] Interactive map of historic Quito
[TROLE BUS INFO] Trole bus details & information
TIPS & SUGGESTIONS …
Explore the Old Town With its gorgeous colonial architecture, relaxing plazas and a stunning number of churches. If you happen to be there during Christmas or Easter, you’ll be amazed at the number of events, masses, and processions that bring out the crowds. You’ll find craft shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels across its grid of streets.
A recommended walking tour that could enhance your vision of the Historic Center is as follows. Take the trolley (watch your belongings) south until “Cumanda” stop. Get down, you are on Maldonado street. There you will have an impressive view of what once was the “Jerusalem” ravine, which stands between Panecillo and the core. Walk north past the trolley stop and go down a narrow stairway that brings you to La Ronda street, of Pre-columbian origins. Walk up picturesque La Ronda until you reach Av. 24 de Mayo. This boulevard was built on top of this section of Jerusalem ravine to connect the two sides of town. On Garcia Moreno Street turn north and you will arrive to the Museo de la Ciudad, which provides an easy and interactive history of Quito. Then walk on Garcia Moreno street until Sucre, which is a pedestrian street. La Compania is at the corner and if you go up Sucre street you will reach San Francisco. If you continue on Garcia Moreno you will reach the Main (independence) Square. If you go to San Francisco, then walk to La Merced and down to the Main Square. This itinerary follows a chronological and logical sequence of sites. Most people do it backwards, turning La Ronda and Museo de la Ciudad as distant points where you’re usually worn out by the time you get there. In any event, the Historic Center is so vast that you need more than one visit to see it all. The recommended walk provides you with a good overview if you’re short of time or want to see as much as possible on a first day.
Watch The old men play Ecuador’s version of bocce at Parque El Ejido. You can also see some serious games of Ecua-volley, the local version of volleyball, on a Saturday or Sunday.
The Middle of the World 45 mins from the capital Quito, you can go to see the Monument to the middle of the World. It’s a big monument with many events and things to do. For example, national indigineous music groups play different songs of their culture. There are museums with the history of the 0 latitud and history of Quito as well. There are many unique artworks and once you are there you can even weight your self and you will find out how you weigh less on the equator.
Bicycle Ride the Ciclopaseo takes place every Sunday. 30 kilometres (20 miles) of roads running north-south through the city are completely closed to traffic. People cycle, run and blade the route. Up to 30,000 people take part. Several bike shops rent bikes for visitors to be able to take part.
Cable Car There is a cable car ride up the side of Ruco Pichina. It’s called “Teleferico” in spanish. Ask your hotel about the special buses that run through the city taking people towards this destination. You can also find your own way there through taxi or bus.
HIGHLIGHTS IN OLD QUITO
San Francisco Church. The church dates back from the 1570s and was devoted to San Francis, since the Franciscan order was the first to settle in the area. Hence the city’s official name: San Francisco de Quito. The church contains masterpieces of syncretic art, including the famous “Virgin of Quito” by Legarda. The sculpture represents a winged virgin stepping on the devil’s head (in the form of a serpent) and is displayed in the main altar. The virgin would later be inaccurately replicated on top of Panecillo hill. The museum next door to the church is arranged through the monastic compound and includes access to the choir.
Museo del Banco Central. Located across from the Casa de la Cultura and adjacent to the Parque El Ejido, you’ll find perhaps Ecuador’s most renowned museum with different Salas, or rooms, devoted to pre-Colombian, Colonial and gold works of art, among other topics. Some of the famous pieces include whistle bottles shaped like animals, elaborate gold headdresses and re-created miniature scenes of life along the Amazon. The museum is well-organized, and it takes about 3-4 hours to see everything. Guides who speak several different languages including English, French and Spanish are available for a small fee.
Museo de la Ciudad. The Museo de la Ciudad is in the Old Town, on Garcia Moreno street, directly opposite the Carmen Alto monastery. A lovely museum with two floors encircling two quiet courtyards, the “Museo de la Ciudad” provides more of a social history of Ecuador than other museums in Quito. Re-enacted scenes from daily life of Ecuador’s citizens through the years include a hearth scene from a 16th-century home, a battle scene against the Spanish, and illustrations of the building of Iglesia de San Francisco church.
Teleferico. This is the world’s second-highest cable car. It’s located on the eastern flanks of the Pichincha Volcano which overlooks the whole city. It hoists visitors up to an amazing 4,000 meters (12,000 feet). On clear days, one can spot half-a-dozen volcanoes and spy the entire city below. You can also hike up from here to the Guagua Pichincha Volcano, which is active. See Teleferiqo website for details. It is $4 for locals, but $8 for foreigners. There is also an express lane option for more money.
Botanical Gardens. The Jardin Botanico is located on the southwest side of Parque La Carolina. It’s a wonderful escape from the city, with all of Ecuador’s ecosystems represented with a wide variety of flora. You can take a guided tour or just wander. The highlight for many people are the two glassed-in orchidariums.
Museo Mindalae. An extremely original project in the north part of the Mariscal District, this museum provides an ‘ethno-historical’ view of Ecuador’s amazingly rich cultural diversity. You can find out about the country’s different peoples, from the coast to the Andes to the Amazon, and their crafts in a specially-built and designed structure. The museum has a restaurant for lunch, a cafe and a fair-trade shop.
Itchimbia cultural complex and park. This hill lies to the east of the Old Town. It provides stunning views of central and northern Quito, as well as the distant peak of Cayambe to the northeast. The hillside was was made into a park and an impressive cultural centre established here in 2005. The centre holds temporary exhibitions. At the weekends, there are workshops and fun for children. A restaurant, Pim’s, opened at the complex in June 2007. The complex closes at 6 pm. Once it closes, you can head to the nearby Cafe Mosaico to watch the sunset until about 7 pm. It’s a great spot to watch the fading of the light on the mountainside with the floodlights of the Old Town’s churches.
Museo Guayasamin. This musueum houses the collection of Ecuador’s most renowned contemporary artists, Oswaldo Guayasamin. It has a fine collection of pre-Colombian, colonial and independence art, as well as housing many of the artist’s works. You can also visit the nearby Chapel of Man (Capilla del Hombre) which was built posthumously to house some of Guayasamin’s vast canvasses on the condition of Latin American Man.
Calle de la Ronda. This street in the Old Town was restored by Municipality and FONSAL in 2007. It was transformed with the help and cooperation of the local residents. It’s a romantic cobbled street just off the Plaza Santo Domingo (or it can be reached via Garcia Moreno by the City Museum). There are shops, patios, art galleries and modest cafe restaurants now, all run by residents. Cultural events are common at the weekends.
La Vírgen del Panecillo. Adjacent to the Old City, El Panecillo is a large hill on top of which is La Virgin del Panecillo, a large statue of the ‘winged’ Virgin Mary. She can be seen from most points in the city. Local legend has it that she is the only virgin in Quito. Never walk up the hill, always take a taxi or a bus as the walk up can be dangerous.
Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesus. In the Old City, this church is regarded by many as the most beautiful in the Americas. Partially destroyed by fire, it was restored with assistance from the Getty Foundation and other benefactors. Stunning.
From La Compania, turn down Calle Garcia Moreno and you’ll pass El Sagrario (dating from the mid-1600s) and, next door, the Cathedral Metropolitana (where independence hero Antonio Jose de Sucre is buried).
OTHER ATTRACTIONS nearby
Mitad del Mundo. Just outside of Quito is where the measurements were first made that proved that the shape of the Earth is in fact an oblate spheroid. Commemorating this is a large monument that straddles the equator called Mitad del Mundo or middle of the world. Note, however, that the true equator is not at the Mitad del Mundo monument. Through the magic of GPS technology, we now know that it is only a few hundred feet away — right where the Indians said it was before the French came along and built the monument in the wrong place. The entrance for the park is $1.50 and for most of the attractions you have to pay extra. The Intiñan Solar Museum is right next to the Mitad del Mundo monument on the other side of the North fence. For two dollars you can have a tour of this little museum. They demonstrate the Coriolis effect and several other interesting things. The place looks like a total dump and is at the end of a dirt road, but is much more interesting and informative than the Mitad del Mundo. When you go to the middle of the world, it is best to go with a tour, or hire a taxi driver by the hour. The hourly rate should be in the $12 or less range. Buses leave from the Occidental or Av. America for $0.40.
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The Cumanda Bus Station [Terminal Terrestre de Cumandá] in Quito, which operated all inter-provincial buses throughout the country in now closed, after 23 years in operation. Apparently this area will be converting into a park & parking facilities.
Operations for route to the south are now operated from QUITUMBE, while bus routes to the north are operated from CARCELEN.
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Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m (9350 feet). The second highest capital city in South America, after La Paz in Bolivia, it quite literally takes your breath away.
Quito is located on a horizontal strip of land running north to south between beautiful mountains. The splendor of the city’s natural setting, combined with its attractive squares, parks and monuments as well as the warmth of its people, makes it a unique and unforgettable place.
Location : Andes mountain range 2.800 meters
Population : 1.4 million
Altitude : 2,850 m/9,350 ft
Temperature : 50 to 78 ºF (7 to 26 ºC)
Province : Pichincha
Currency : United States Dollar (USD)
Time zone : GMT -5
Language : Spanish
Foundation : December 6th, 1534
Airport: Mariscal Sucre International (UIO)
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is considered one of the most beautiful regions in Latin America. Located in the Andean mountains at the foot of Mount Pichincha 9200 feet above sea level. Quito has a spring-like climate all year. Beautifully preserved colonial churches, convents, palaces, and other buildings of note contrast with the contemporary architecture of modern Quito, a cosmopolitan city of great cultural diversity. Quito has been designated the “Heritage of Mankind” by the United Nations. Stationed at nearly 10,000 feet, Quito is almost twice as high as Denver, Colorado. Though because it sits only 25 kilometres from the Equator, Quito does not suffer through long winters like the Mile High City . On the contrary, Ecuador’s capital enjoys mild days and cool nights almost year-round. The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude and the time of the year.
In Quito the temperature ranges from 7 ºC (50 ºF) at night to 26 ºC (78 ºF) at noon, and averages 15 ºC (64 ºF). There are two seasons, wet and dry. The wet season is called winter and the dry is considered summer. Quito’s summer lasts about 4 months, from the end of June to September.
Quito sees its fair share of rain from October through May, though even during this period the climate supports a multitude of diversions. There are enough sunny days during the rainy season to accommodate all but the most insatiable sun worshipers, and when the sun hides, Quito has plenty to offer indoors.
Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the ‘Baroque school of Quito’, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.
Accommodation options are basically divided into two sectors: (1) Historic Centre; and (2) Modern north (Mariscal). For more details on recommended option SEE HERE
The climate is spring-like and relatively comfortable, with warm days (sometime hot) and cool nights.
The main attraction of Quito, providing it with its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ‘Old City’ or Colonial Quito. From the heart of the old Spanish colonial center, Plaza de la Independencia, it is easy to wander through the many cobblestone streets and explore the rest of the old city on foot. The photo pictured above shows Plaza de San Francisco, and the famous church and monastery of the patron saint of Quito – San Francisco – constructed by the Spanish in 1553.
The city expansion towards the north and the south started during the 1980′s, when the main tourist area in the north-central area of modern Quito started growing. The modern portion of the city, especially La Mariscal district is where the majority of hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts, internet cafes, bars, and souvenir shops are located.
The History of Quito
The history of this beautiful colonial city, full of legends woven over more than 400 years, is still alive in the memory of its inhabitants. To find its origin it is necessary to go back in time to the 6th of December in 1534, when the Spanish conquistadors founded the city with 204 settlers.
Before then, the present-day site of Quito was inhabited by the Quitus, a tribe from the Quechua civilization in a strip of land that stretched from what is now Cerro del Panecillo in the south to Plaza de San Blas in the center. Called the Kingdom of Quito in the Pre-Hispanic period, buildings in this ancient city were made of carved stone and sun-dried brick. Later, Spanish architects incorporated the same materials into their grandiose constructions.
At the beginning of the 16th Century, the city adopted a monumental style with the construction, by the various Catholic missions, of the impressive temples of San Francisco, Santo Domingo, La Cathedral and San Agustín. The main events during this period took place in or around these temples, which helped promote religion among the people.
The truth is that Quito’s history starts long before 1534 when the Spanish founded it. Although pre-Hispanic traces disappeared with the conquistadors’ arrival, it has been said that before the Europeans arrived, Rumiñahuy, an indigenous warrior, set the city on fire and destroyed the temples of the Incas who lived there. Other legends tell of such characters as Atahualpa, last emperor of Tahuauntinsuyo, the Inca Kingdom, who was executed in 1533 by his Spanish captors, despite the fact that the Inca people paid a whole room full of gold and silver for his return. Figuring prominently in more recent tales is Xavier Chusig, a mestizo (someone of mixed Indian and Spanish parentage) who changed his name to Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo to avoid discrimination and went on the found the first newspaper in the city. There are still other stories of Manuela Sáenz, the first woman to join the Bolivarian army and who became the chief lieutenant of “the Liberator” Simón Bolívar. For them, as for many others, Quito was the setting of their resistance and struggle.
The conquest brought many Catholic missions, whose presence is apparent in the more than thirty convents, churches and chapels in the historic center. Their influence was not in vain, and religious devotion was sown in people’s souls. In 1649, more than two thousand people crossed the city from north to south various times during the day and night, praying for God to reveal to them the identity of the thieves who had stolen the sacred chalice from the convent of Santa Clara.
The 28th of January, 1912 was especially memorable in the annals of the city’s history. A large crowd of people dragged the dead body of President Eloy Alfaro through the streets. Alfaro had headed the Liberal Revolution but was assassinated in the city’s prison and later incinerated at Parque de El Ejido. Another important event was the coup d’état attempt on September 1, 1975, when the army attacked the Presidential residence during the government of General Guillermo Rodríguez Lara.
Quito is today an enterprising metropolis and political center of the country. It has made an enormous effort to offset the damage caused by the natural disasters that have affected it over the years. Quito offers many options for a pleasant visit amidst its history, tradition and legend.
Café Cultura is a delightful mix of English tradition and contemporary trend. Consider it an inner city retreat, with an out-going personality and inspirational food. Some sixty years ago, the hotel was home to one of Quito’s oldest families, after which it became the French Cultural Centre. The building was carefully restored over a period of four years, with special detail given to maintaining the unique characteristics of the original interior. The house is hemmed by a beautiful garden, with secluded seating areas for relaxing — or watching our resident hummingbirds, doves and peacocks do their thing. So don’t be shy, ring the bell, come in, and discover for yourself why Condé Nast Traveler magazine recently listed Café Cultura as one of the three reasons to visit Ecuador!
Special incentive rates applicable on selected dates
SPECIAL SUMMER 2009 OFFERS …
FREE airport pick up
FREE three course dinner
50% OFF 3rd consecutive night’s stay
1. One offer per reservation per room
2. This offer applies to clients who have made their reservation and will stay at Café Cultura between the months of June to December 2009.
3. The free airport pick up is from Quito airport to Hotel Café Cultura.
4. The free dinner consists of one starter, one main and one dessert course per person selected from the specials menu.
5. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
The hotel …
On the ground floor you will find the reception area and cafe – bistro, together with the wood-panelled library complete with guidebooks, papers and magazines for your use. Fires are lit in our three large stone fireplaces every night, along with an abundance of candles, creating a warm and cosy atmosphere, reminiscent of colonial life. Here you can relax in the comfortable leather armchairs, glass of wine in hand, basking in the warmth of a crackling wood fire.
From the reception area an open-gallery staircase leads to 15 of our 26 bedrooms. Each room has been individually designed in keeping with the style of the house and has its own en suite bathroom. Different artists have painted modern frescoes throughout the hotel, adding to its already unique style.
Once inside, you will immediately be seduced by the overall atmosphere of conviviality: the perfect mix of home comfort, the right level of discreet service, plus our own touch of eclectic culture. Indeed, while all of our rooms have individual features, some are more special than others with their own fireplaces, or perhaps a sunken bath. Our honeymoon suite boasts its own balcony – a conservatory converted into a dream-like bathroom with an antique tub.
The International airports of Quito and Guayaquil each have installed a thermal camera, as part of measures to tighten up measures to control the possible spread and entry of the A/H1N1 flu virus. These cameras detect passengers which corporal temperatures in excess of 38 degree, a major symptom associated with the A/H1N1 flu virus.
The WHO report that the fatality rate for this virus, originally at 4% has decreased to 1%
The Minister of Health, Caroline Chang, confirmed 7 cases of A/H1N1 flu in Ecuador, of which 6 are in Guayaquil and 1 in Quito. With this, the total number of cases in Ecuador has risen to 8.
Regarding the case registered in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, it involves a tourist that recently arrived in the country. Chang preferred not to indicate the Nationality of the foreigner but indicated that the virus was brought from a foreign country.
Meanwhile, the other 6 cases involve 5 children and one adult in the port city of Guayaquil. The Minister confirmed that only one of the cases in Guayaquil was contracted directly from contact with the 12 year old child that arrived from Miami carrying the virus and was the first confirmed case in the country.
The 8 people that have the A/H1N1 flu virus are all under treatment and present a “favourable evolution”, she added.
The Secretary of State assured that all cases of the virus where contracted outside of the country and called upon the population of Ecuador to avoid unnecessary travel overseas.
Quiport has a very useful page for the Mariscal Sucre International Airport of Quito with domestic and international flight information.
SAMPLE FLIGHT DETAILS …
[LINK TO PAGE]
Heavy rain and hail forced the temporary closure of the Quito International airport, Mariscal Sucre [IATA airport code UIO], from 14h20 to 16h55 on May 12, 2009.