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Safest Places to Stay in Quito Ecuador

Updated: Apr 25

Planning your trip to Quito in Ecuador and wondering which are the safest and best areas to stay at?


It is no secret that there are areas in Quito you as a tourist should better avoid. To ensure your visit to Quito goes smoothly and without issues, it is important to understand the different areas in the city.


In this Quito Travel Guide, I am going into detail about all the safest areas to stay in and also areas you should avoid in Quito.


Finding the ideal location in such a large city can be challenging, given the abundance of amazing sites and activities spread across the area. So, it's pretty much impossible to find one place from where you can walk to everything. You will need to take a taxi at some point. So due to safety concerns, I believe the priority is to locate yourself in a safe area. Unfortunately, after Covid, the safety situation has just gotten worse.


I have to start with the Quito Old Town as it is the most convenient location. You will be close to many wonderful sites. In general, it is fairly safe as there is a police presence in the area but as like in any South American capital, pickpockets mostly concentrate in the old towns purely because of tourists. So although generally, you can feel fairly safe as no major crimes happen in the old town, you do need to be very vigilant about your belongings. Also, if you are wandering around in the late hours, maybe going to or back from dinner, avoid small empty streets. Always stick within the main squares and streets, basically where other people are. My main rule when traveling South America - is not to be the only person on the street!


quito-old-town

So to summarize:

  • Positives: Very convenient location and fairly safe during the day

  • Negatives: Dangerous during the late hours


My recommendation:

  • Explore the city during the day

  • If you do go out for dinner, choose a place near your hotel or in the main squares

  • If you are coming back from exploring further parts of the city late, get a taxi directly to your hotel


Note: You can go walking to the impressive Quito Basilica from the Old Town, but do it during the day and stay on the main streets!

la-mariscal-quito

So with La Mariscal, is a very similar situation to the Old Town - it is a great location during the day but you have to be very careful during the night. The reason you would want to pick La Mariscal is that it is way more livelier - more bars and restaurants are in the area. Also a local market with Artisan crafts. It is a more central location so easy access to all the main sites around the city. Probably better for those staying longer periods who are planning to see all the important sites that are a 10-minute taxi drive away.

Here again, you can have a great time during the day but have to be careful with your belongings. Due to being the 2nd favorite place where to stay in Quito, it does attract pickpockets. They are especially active in the Artisan market. And also, no wandering around in the late hours. Directly to your dinner place and back.


In the La Mariscal area, you will also find a wider variety of hotel options, starting from bigger modern ones to more boutique hotels.


Here I need to visualize and explain one important nuance:


la-mariscal-quito

The green circle indicates the actual La Mariscal area where is alright to stay. There you also will find the Artisan market and main square full of bars and restaurants. BUT you have to be very careful when approaching the red circle - basically El Ejido Park! The park is not tourist-friendly at any time of the day! The craziest things happen there! Avoid the park, especially after 2PM. You might be able to walk through it in the morning (which I would personally still not do) but after 2PM all sorts of people gather there. So if you decide to stay in La Mariscal then try to stay as central as possible. There are hotels on that main street between green and red circles, but I would still avoid being in the middle.


So to summarize:

  • Positives: The most vibrant part of the city and fairly safe during the day

  • Negatives: Dangerous during the late hours


My recommendation:

  • Avoid the El Ejido Park, especially after 2PM

  • Be extra vigilant about your belongings in the Artisan market

  • Choose a dinner place near your hotel or in the main square

  • If you are coming back from exploring further parts of the city late, get a taxi directly to your hotel

Next to the La Mariscal area, you will find the La Floresta area which is a calmer area and has some of the most significant museums. Also, fairly safe during the day, just be more cautious when getting closer to El Ejido Park.


la-floresta-quito

Same rules apply - do not wander around late hours, get a taxi directly to your hotel, and be very aware of your belongings.


In the La Floresta area, you will find known brands like NH Hotels and also some lovely boutique hotels and apartments.



So far sounds like Quito does not have any safe place? Well it is kind of true when it comes to the central touristic areas. Unfortunately, when it comes to popular tourist zones in the city, the pickpockets are always there. Sadly after Covid petty crime has increased. Quito is a wonderful city with loads to see and do but in general you at all times need to have your guard up! A bicycle literly got stolen in front of my eyes! (not mine, thankfully, I wasn't letting go of mine the whole time I used it)


Also, Quito is not walkable, to get to the famous cable car and Middle of the World monument you will need to use a taxi! I always picked Uber over local taxis. Local taxis do not have a good reputation in South America in general. By using Uber, I have all the driver's information, I can track the route and I know exactly how much I will pay. I recommend using Uber in Quito and South America.


So if you are purely just looking for THE safest area in Quito, then González Suárez will be your best choice! This upscale neighborhood is one of the safest areas in Quito, boasting luxury apartments, fine dining, and secure, well-lit streets. Its location offers great views of the city, adding to its appeal. This is not the most convenient location as you will need a taxi to get anywhere but if that is not an issue, it will be the safest choice.


gonzalez-suarez-quito

An amazing hotel option with great views will be Go Quito Hotel!


The 4 above areas are the best ones to pick from. Let's look at the areas you should avoid!


Places to avoid in Quito Ecuador

So looking at the maps above, you can gather which is the central area in Quito. Although I would always advise getting a taxi from the old town to the 3 other areas I mentioned, the distance between the old town and La Mariscal is only around 20 minutes. I did walk once and I was fine, but I was also on a tight budget. Now if I would go back I would pay the $6 for Uber to travel between the above-mentioned areas.


So most dangerous parts of the city are outside that central area, so a bit further away from it. You as a tourist not necessarily will go there without a very specific reason. So as long you stick with that central area (except the park in the middle) you should be fine during the day. I would say as a general rule - no wandering around in the late hours when it gets dark. Pay that little bit extra and get a taxi. Also, when you will be making those longer drives outside the city to get to the cable car and Middle of the World monument, watch your belongings extra. Whenever you are near a famous tourist monument, be extra vigilant of your bag and hold your phone/camera tight when taking pictures. Common practice is simply to grab the phone/camera and run.


2 areas that I do want to warn you about as they are quite close to the central area are: La Tola & Panecillo 'mountain'.

La Tola covers quite a large area and although you not necessarily will travel there (no major sites) it is quite close to the old town and some famous hostels are located quite near there. So when booking your accommodation, the cheap price might be appealing but consider if it is worth it!


la-tola-quito

And the other area that I definitely need to highlight is the area around the famous Virgin of the Panecillo because it is an amazing site to visit and you can see the whole of Quito from there but the place is dangerous for 2 reasons:


  1. Crime. It is not a safe area. The little area around the statue is fine, so as long as you take a taxi up, you will be alright at the top, but the whole area going up is full of illegal housing and just not a safe area.

  2. Also loads of aggressive stray dogs. There have been reports of stray dog attacks on people. The stray dog issue is a problem in general in Quito but it seems to be more concentrated in that area. So just one main rule, do not walk up the Panecillo 'mountain' to the statue. Although on the map it seems like a nice walk up, a little hike, in reality, the area is not safe for tourists.


I really hope this article will help you better plan your stay in Quito. I hope it did not put you off visiting this amazing city because I did have such a wonderful time there. Was Quito one of the capitals in South America I felt most uncomfortable? Maybe. But at the end of the day, I followed my main safety rules that I mentioned in this article, and the whole 3 weeks I was there I did not run into any issues. So as always, if you have common sense, you plan your trip, and are extra vigilant about your belongings, you will have an amazing time!


If you are worried about the safety and your belongings, consider getting travel insurance for your peace of mind!


If you want to get more ideas for your Quito trip, check out my Quito Travel Guide or watch the video:


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