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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Quito 2024
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Plaza San Fransisco in Quito, Ecuador


7 Tips for Living in Quito

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: Advice for people moving to Quito or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to Quito or thinking about moving there.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is a city that beautifully blends the old and the new. It's a popular destination for expats and digital nomads, thanks to its rich history, vibrant culture, and affordable cost of living. However, living in a foreign city can be challenging, especially if you're not familiar with the local customs and lifestyle. Here are seven key tips to help you navigate life in Qito, Ecuador.

1. Learn Spanish

While you'll find English speakers in Quito, especially in the tourist areas, it's beneficial to learn Spanish. Not only will it make your daily life easier, but it will also help you connect with the locals and understand the culture better. There are many language schools in Qito, such as the Simon Bolivar Spanish School, where you can take intensive Spanish courses.

2. Understand the Local Culture

Ecuadorians are known for their warm and friendly nature. However, they also value respect and politeness. It's important to greet people properly, avoid controversial topics in conversation, and respect the local customs and traditions. For instance, it's customary to say "Buenos dias" (Good morning) or "Buenas tardes" (Good afternoon) when entering a shop or restaurant.

3. Explore the Neighborhoods

Quito is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its unique charm. La Mariscal is known for its vibrant nightlife and is popular among expats. The historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is filled with colonial architecture and historic landmarks. La Floresta is an artsy neighborhood with a bohemian vibe, while Cumbaya is a more upscale area with modern amenities. Spend time exploring these neighborhoods to find the one that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

4. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse and flavorful. Don't miss out on trying local dishes like ceviche, empanadas, and locro de papa. There are many excellent restaurants in Quito where you can sample these dishes. For instance, La Choza is known for its traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, while Zazu offers a more contemporary take on local dishes. For seafood lovers, Segundo Muelle is a must-visit.

5. Stay Active

Quito is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, making it a great place for outdoor activities. You can hike in the nearby Cotopaxi National Park, bike along the Chaquiñán trail, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk in the Parque La Carolina. Staying active will not only help you stay fit, but also allow you to appreciate the city's beautiful landscapes.

6. Be Aware of the Altitude

Quito is located at a high altitude, and it's common for newcomers to experience altitude sickness. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath. It's important to take it easy for the first few days, stay hydrated, and avoid heavy meals and alcohol. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.

7. Get Involved

One of the best ways to feel at home in a new city is to get involved in the community. There are many opportunities for volunteering in Quito, depending on your interests. Whether it's helping out at a local school, participating in environmental conservation efforts, or assisting in community development projects, volunteering can be a rewarding experience. It's a great way to meet locals, learn about the culture, and make a positive impact.

Living in Qito, Ecuador, can be an enriching experience. By learning the language, understanding the culture, exploring the city, enjoying the local cuisine, staying active, being aware of the altitude, and getting involved in the community, you can make the most of your time in this beautiful city.

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Ecuador Visas - Law office of Attorney Sara ChacaEcuador Visas - Law office of Attorney Sara Chaca

With Offices in BOTH Ecuador and the US, Ecuador Visas with Attorney Sara Chaca is the No. 1 Visa Law Firm for Your Move! Specializing in Ecuador Residency Visas plus converting from Temporary to Permanent Residency, Containers, Real Estate Closings, Wills and Estate Planning, Driver Licenses, Opening Businesses & Citizenship!
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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Plaza San Fransisco in Quito, Ecuador

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