Put Quito on your travel list and move it up high.

As soon as one lands and exits UIO airport in Quito, Ecuador, it’s almost impossible not to let the excitement build up inside you. The fresh intake of mountain air fills your lungs immediately and as you wait for your taxi outside, you can’t help but peer around the terminal to look at all the mountain ranges around you. The emittance of positive energy is felt immediately and it’s a feeling that you innately understand to be mutually shared by all newcomers.

I wrote a post a few months ago on how certain works of architecture and places, especially historical locations, give off a unique energy that can be felt if one looks deep enough. This is one of those places and it’s something you’ll feel as soon as you exit the terminal. The other times I’ve felt this similar energy was in Cuzco, Peru and Chitral, Pakistan. I guess high altitude habitats emit powerful frequencies; maybe because there’s less negative frequencies in the way, as are found in most cities. Or maybe the altitude brings our bodies a much needed openness in terms of physical and mental reactions.

Following my swift exit from the terminal, I met my Cabify driver who wasted no time in getting me into the heart of Quito. We tried our best to converse in what little we knew of each other’s language. As we drove into valleys and up mountains, a obvious, yet striking fact nonetheless, hit me powerfully: we can never appreciate, understand, comprehend, judge or just really know a place until we are actually there. In this 40 minute car ride, I witnessed how a community of 2.3 million people worked together to create monumental feats of engineering and master the art of living on mountains.

As the sun set over this capital city, I was able to see the mountain sides light up as far as the eye could see. Hundred of millions lights growing brighter as the mountains covered the last few rays of the sun. I looked ahead and it seemed like something out of a fairytale or futuristic world, skyscrapers build on top of mountains hundreds of feet directly above in front of us. It made me image what a view would look like if you stacked up four Empire State buildings and went right to the top. This was a sight that truly makes one appreciate nature and the creations of this planet.

After such an amazing cab ride, I was dropped off at the Selena Hotel, a new property located near Plaza Foch. A welcome drink at their trendy oak wood bar helped me take any edge I had off from the flight from New York. I quickly went to my room to shower and refresh and was on my way to do a little night exploring. What I soon found out was that the Selena Hotel was in the middle of Quito’s nightlife and where all the fun was on this fine Friday night; an excellent surprise!

Even thought Uber and Cabify are incredibly cheap, I worked my way toward the secret garden hostel on foot which was a forty minutes walk; not something you mind when there’s a constant stimulations of all your senses and a surprise in every corner. The first thing I did was look for a nice local resturant. I found a food stand, with a tent setup – a makeshift resturant you can say. This is something that’s really popular with the locals here’s and incredibly inexpensive. For $3 I was served rice with chicken broth and potatoes and a nice warm tea.

My night ended at the secret garden hostel which I needed to get to for two main reasons: book a one night stay at their new secret garden Cotopaxi hostel (an unbelievable beautiful hostel in the most picture perfect of all places) and I wanted to grab a drink at their rooftop bar overlooking the city of Quito. Once there, Christian at the reception set me up with my reservation and Olivia handed me the drink. It was now time to meet my fellow travelers, see where they came from and ask where they were going, hear their experiences and add things on my to-do list and lastly and most importantly, see if they feel the same energy in Quito as I do.

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