Plaza Grande - Gathering Place

Plaza Grande/Plaza de Independencia resonates with the heartbeat of Quito Colonial. Any given day, or only on Sunday, you'll notice someone:

  • meeting someone,
  • performing a skit,
  • protesting something,
  • having their shoes shined,
  • people watching,
  • selling lottery tickets,
  • selling munchies,
  • preaching,
  • strolling,
  • photo shooting,
  • and maybe a few other things.

Spontaneously meeting someone new in this mini village wouldn't prove difficult at all.

And, Plaza Grande provides restaurants and/or shopping in any direction you take as you cross the street at the chirping of the traffic lights.

In Quito, no one explodes in protest of religious pictures or crucifixes in public offices, or about hearing a preacher in a public place. Now, that's freedom of speech!  The people will let you know if they want to hear you or not.

In the U.S. and other places, Catholics live a muzzled life under someone's pretext of not mixing religion with politics and false equal rights.  

National guards always patrol the area on foot and sometimes on horseback, but lively entertainment draws you into itself.

You could stumble upon tree blossom time as I did during the month of August. Ecuador's perpetual spring gushes in constant profuse display in one area or another.

You might even witness the changing of the guards or any event pouring out of the presidential palace. That really makes this presidential front yard grand.

Good Place to People Watch

I have relaxed on the concrete benches and meditated in this park a few times while waiting to meet someone.

Cathedral doors usually stay closed facing Plaza Grande, but the door facing Garcia Moreno Street opens early every morning for daily Mass celebrated in a side chapel.

More of these quadrangles abound around the historic center, but they seem to function best for special occasions, festivities or Sundays only - when outdoor simple entertainment takes over...theatric performances, concerts and such things. Artists now spread their wares with loud music through Garcia Moreno Street here like a Picadilly Circus every Sunday.

Whether it's Trafalgar Square in London, Times Square in New York or this one in Quito, the "kitchen" of the city gathers the people together.

Tour Bus or Horse and Buggy

Close to Plaza Grande, the horse and buggy, or carriage, awaits to trot nonchalantly through the historic center every time someone pays the fare.  More recently, the double-decker tour bus begins its city wide tour from here.

Since 2012 the horse and buggy offers 15-20 minute rides for $12 for 1 or 2 people, $5 per person after that unless you're a child and can go for $2.50. Availability comes on Wednesdays through Sundays after 5PM from the same parking space.

You'll also find a Quito Tour Bus at 1-hour intervals all day long - three of them, each taking three hours to return. Price $12 for an all day pass that can be purchased on the bus.

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