Unfortunately, I didn’t get to explore Quito as much as I wanted because I got sun poisoning in the beginning of my trip. However, here are some of the highlights from my time in Quito.
I stayed in an Airbnb near Parque de Carolina in Quito. This area is known for many shops, office buildings, high rises and malls. This bustling area is one of the most popular and sort of central areas for locals. Although the building itself requires two one inch steps to enter, the super secure building has an elevator and access via a parking lot with no steps. The Airbnb studio was on the 6th floor, with plenty of space. There were panoramic views and plenty of space. There were no steps or lips into the shower, but no seat or anything so you cannot roll in. However, I would 100% recommend this apartment for someone with limited mobility. The host is also very friendly and can give assistance or guidance if necessary.
Quito is the world’s second highest capital city, more than 9000 feet above sea level. If you want to see sweeping views of the cities and the area’s mountains and volcanoes, one of the best places to travel is Teleferico. Head up almost a mile on the gondola cable cars for about 15-20 minutes up the side of the Pichincha Volcano where you can sit and enjoy the views or hike up even further. There is a ramp plate for someone with mobility issues to access the cable cars. The restrooms and restaurants can only be accessed by stairs and similar with most of the hiking and viewpoints. However there are main viewpoints directly near the top of the cable cars with benches that are accessible to someone with limited mobility.
The Airbnb experience that I did in Quito was the best Airbnb experience I’ve ever done. Myself and two other participants were able to go to a local’s warm and welcoming home to make chocolate! We roasted cacao beans, peeled, crushed, grinded them, and mixed them with ingredients to try different combinations of chocolate fondue with coffee, rose, chili flakes, ginger and a few other things. We used some of the chocolate to make a passion fruit chocolate cocktail, as well as chocolate tea as a palette cleanser. Lastly, we grinded up the shells and made an exfoliation paste. Such a cool and yummy experience! Since everything is made from scratch, I am sure it could be modified for someone with food allergies and sensitivities. There is one about three inch step into the woman’s house and no steps within the house in places that need to be accessed. The host does ask that participants remove their shoes before entering her home.
The Middle of the World complex or Mitad del Mundo is the most visited attraction in Ecuador, where a monument stands at the equator line and there are also shops and cultural museums for tourists to enjoy. Visitors can go to the top of the Mitad del Mundo monument, however when I arrived the elevator was not working so this was inaccessible to me as someone with limited mobility. Many of the shops were small, so there is limited space for a wheelchair to maneuver but shop owners are more than willing to help you out and assist in whatever you may need. Tourists may visit the ancestral houses and learn about the culture and customs of the indigenous people. Most of this is accessible to someone with limited mobility, however may be difficult for blind and deaf visitors. There are many tourist extras here like getting an unofficial passport stamp, professional photos, other photo opportunities and demonstrations. Definitely a cool and fun experience if you are in Quito!
El Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal is a lively covered market with hundreds of local vendors selling Ecuadorian textiles, jewelry & other traditional crafts. The market is covered with stalls close together and sometimes products in the aisles, but someone with limited mobility or in a wheelchair can still easily get through the aisles. Some of the vendors are very aggressive and most only speak Spanish, so I would recommend a guide to take you if you aren’t comfortable speaking Spanish or are deaf/hard of hearing. It is a great place to purchase souvenirs, especially if you don’t plan on taking the trip to Otavalo.