FOUNDED IN 1534, QUITO sits at almost 10,000 feet, making it the second-highest capital city in the world. Located just 14 miles south of the equator, the city enjoys a spring-like climate year-round, from the cool 50s at night to the low 80s during the day. With a consistent 12 hours of daylight, Quito is, literally, one of the greenest cities in the world.
Quito’s unique geography provides visitors with a spectacular wall of snow-capped Andes Mountains and volcanoes just beyond the skyline as well as flower gardens and palm trees. In 1978 Quito’s cobblestoned, 16th-century Old Town, one of the best-preserved colonial-era districts in South America, became UNESCO’s first World Heritage site.
Business travelers can start the day with an early-morning swim or workout at Zumay Health Club at the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel, followed by breakfast at the hotel’s Bistro Latino, featuring a buffet along with healthy fruit and juices. A popular downtown meetings venue for Ecuadorian and multinational businesses since opening in 1999, the strikingly modern hotel offers more than 30 event venues.
Numerous off-site venues provide a different ambience. English is widely spoken at business hotels, but at venues like museums and art galleries in Old Town or at wineries and flower farms in the countryside, non-Spanish speakers may find it difficult to arrange meeting spaces. Contact a local tour operator like Link Experiences, with connections throughout the city, prior to your visit.
Getting around Quito by taxi is easy, but account for traffic congestion between destinations. The new Quito Metro, opening this year, will ease that burden considerably and help make the air cleaner. Local environmentalists are thrilled the new Metro will stretch 14 miles through the business center and suburbs, offering 15 new stations, including one in Old Town. Operating 5:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., the Metro will allow visitors and Quiteños to travel around the city faster and more efficiently.
“This is a pivotal moment for the city,” said Felipe Correa, editor, A Line in the Andes, a book about Quito’s urban transformation. “Quito is a linear city, north-south, along a narrow and elongated valley with mountains on either side, so there are very few cities that can actually build a subway from scratch in such a consolidated urban area.”
In 2013, to make room for the Metro and other projects, the city moved its airport from city center to a location 11 miles from downtown. The new, green Mariscal Sucre International Airport boasts one of the longest runways in Latin America and earned South America’s Leading Airport at the World Travel Awards. It strives to maintain its high scores in the global Airport Carbon Accreditation program and also instituted a rainwater management program and works to maintain the biodiversity of the area. The city repurposed the 300 acres around the former airport into a city playground called Bicentennial Park, offering bicycling on the old runway.
The Eugenio Espejo Convention Center provides another example of repurposing, as the building once served as an important hospital center. After a remarkable architectural restoration in 2008, the center opened with enough meeting and exhibition space to host Ecuador’s largest conventions.
Quito took advantage of the more affordable e-buses coming into the market by electrifying two major bus corridors, purchasing about 120 e-buses and installing dozens of charging stations. Ecuador is only the second South American country to adopt sustainable electric mass transit. Such projects increased since Quito hosted Habitat III, a United Nations conference, in 2016. Some 30,000 delegates attended discussions among world environmental leaders about making cities sustainable, resulting in the Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements.
For a small group lunch with business associates, reserve a table at Café Plaza Grande in the Hotel Plaza Grande, a boutique property adjacent to Old Town’s main square, home to the historic Carondelet Palace, Cathedral of Quito, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Municipal Palace. The café serves fresh fish, pork, steak, seafood salads and Ecuadorian specialties, including locro de papas (potato soup).
Around 5 p.m., an hour before sunset, get a table at Rooftop Bar & Terrace at Casa Gangotena, a restored Neoclassical mansion converted into a 33-room boutique hotel on Plaza San Francisco. While enjoying the Old Town view, order a locally produced gin like the quadruple-distilled Amaranto. Or try the non-alcoholic agua de frescos, also called horchata, a vivid pink infusion of plants and herbs traditionally served to refresh visitors arriving in Quito.
Quito’s environmentally ambitious city plans also include green architecture. Quito-based Uribe & Schwarzkopf will open the IQON residential tower in 2021, designed by the Danish firm BIG. The 33-story structure of concrete apartment “boxes” features terraces planted with native trees, with a hollow wall underneath to hold the roots. The entire façade becomes a vertical display of Quito’s biodiversity, and the building will act as an urban tree farm, as the trees will be replanted in city parks once they outgrow the terraces, in about five years.
EPIQ, a 24-story curved tower also by BIG, will open in 2022 with sustainable features such as a gray water treatment plant for reusing rainwater and a materials bank to reuse and recycle construction materials. It will sit next to a large park close to a new Metro station.
Global architects Moshe Safdie, Jean Nouvel, Philippe Starck, Leppanen Anker, Marcel Wanders and Carlos Zapata also launched projects that will greatly enhance Quito’s green and innovative urban environment.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of Sedona’s most breathtaking sights with us.
Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Hotel Indigo Madrid Princesa opened in Madrid’s primary shopping district (temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but expected to open soon), adjacent to Parque del Oeste, giving first-time visitors to Madrid a perfect location for city exploration. The property offers more than 100 guestrooms, with two designs found throughout, both inspired by the natural greenery found in Parque del Oeste and reflecting the spring and fall seasons. In-room amenities include smart televisions and complimentary WiFi.
As states allow visitors again and travel picks up, airlines are starting to prepare for an influx in passengers by increasing cleaning schedules, preparing aircraft for flight and even taking the temperatures of passengers before boarding the plane.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of London’s most breathtaking sights with us.
Saint Lucia announced a phased plan to reopen island tourism responsibly, beginning June 4. Phase One includes welcoming international flights at Hewanorra International Airport from the United States only. In preparation, 1,500 hotel rooms are being prepared to open. The approach to reopening continues through July 31.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts, with luxury hotels in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, announced its Holidays for Your Heroes initiative. The program will donate 150 luxury, all-inclusive resort stays to essential workers and their families with its Karisma Foundation and partners.