Gay Quito Quito City Guide

Perched in the Andes at the foot of an active volcano and straddling the equator, Quito delivers all kinds of scenic drama. The world’s highest capital city also has one of the largest and best-preserved historic centres in Latin America. Overlooked in the past by travellers who opted for its neighbours Peru and Colombia, Quito maintains an old-school charm with warm, welcoming people, fifth-generation hatmakers and ancestral healers. But Quito is in no way stuck in the past. It was way out ahead on gay rights as one of the first countries in the world to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in its Constitution, and one of the few nations to have banned conversion therapy. The gay scene in Quito is not huge, but it is spirited. The Mariscal district fondly referred to as the Pink Zone is the centre of gay life. You might want to try and make it down there for Año Viejo, which is akin to a transvestite Halloween held on New Year’s. Men dress up as ‘slutty widows’ and accost passersby for change. The longer you refrain from handing over a few coins, the wilder their antics get. We take this tradition as more proof that Quito’s a fun, open-minded place that knows how to have a good time and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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The best hotels in Quito

Casa Gangotena has nailed intimate luxury. This boutique hotel set in a neoclassical mansion delivers 1920s elegance and colonial charm right from Quito’s most beautiful plaza. The third-floor terrace offers unbeatable views and the gourmet restaurant serving modern Ecuadorian cuisine is one of the city’s best. You will undoubtedly fall deeply in love with the ILLA Experience Hotel if you stay there. This 10-room family-run hotel fashioned from an 18th-century villa is designed so each of its three floors represents an era in Ecuador’s history —Colonial, Republican and contemporary styles. The word ‘experience’ in the hotel’s name is literal. They will arrange for you to watercolour with a local artist or partake in an Ecuadorian chocolate tasting. The Ikala Quito Hotel is cosy, friendly, serene and inviting. The staff of the 15-room boutique property is super, as is the location in Quito’s Pink Zone. The Carlota Sustainable Design Hotel is a charming, eco-friendly boutique hotel with a rooftop urban garden, reading room, wine cellar where you can schedule a tasting, and a lounge with panoramic views of the city. The gay-friendly 3-star Hotel NASS Sol De Quito is a great budget option. Every room has a terrace facing the mountain or the garden and a complimentary buffet breakfast is served.

Carlota Sustainable Design Hotel

Carlota Sustainable Design Hotel

ILLA Experience Hotel

ILLA Experience Hotel

Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena

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