La Mariscal: The place where gringos hang out

Ecuador travelogue: Chapter 16 | Read other chaptersSee photo gallery

Walking in Quito’s tourist district

La Mariscal (also known as “Gringolandia”) is a modern neighbourhood in the newer part of Quito and is quite popular among tourists. The Ejido Park separates old and new Quito and if you are walking from the old town towards the new town, the change in scenery is quite drastic.

Parque El Ejido

After walking out of Quito’s old city and walking few blocks, I entered the trapezoidal El Ejido park which is the third-largest park in the city. Narrow polluted streets of the old city transformed into wider avenues with this park located in between, allowing people to catch a breath of fresh air. The park is well kept and has tons of space to hangout. On the northern edge of the park, there are handicraft and trinket sellers (and beggars) who surprised me by speaking English.

If the beggars speak English, it must be the tourist central of Quito.

Plaza Foch

From the middle of the northern edge of this park emerges Avenue Amazonas, the showcase street of La Mariscal neighbourhood. This neighbourhood is popular with western tourists (called “gringos” in Latin America) and has therefore earned the nickname “Gringolandia” which is kinda funny. With north American style cafes, fast food, sports bars and stores, it is easy to confuse this place with another street in north America.

I bought a croissant at a French bakery and ate it sitting on a bench in the Plaza Foch watching fellow tourists. It cost me the same as my lunch…

↑ Bike lanes!

While lacking in major tourist attractions, Mariscal is home to a number of clubs, bars and restaurants that cater to visitors. There are also many travel agents that specialize in western travel.

↑ Being Latin America, there is always a church or two around. I find this particularly useful because there is always a place to stop and relax.


Besides the conventional nightlife hotspots, there are places that cater to smaller groups such as gay bars, sports bars, karaoke bars etc.

↑ The place gets quite busy at night, especially Friday and Saturday night. Quiteños like to party, and tourists flock the dives in drives.

↑ Pilsener, Ecuador’s national beer, I quite like it.

↑ Margaritas, the biggest I ever had!

I don’t usually party when I am travelling because it makes my next day inefficient. 😀 Nevertheless, it was nice to have a few dinners and drinks in this neighbourhood with my friends. I think it’s good to have such places, definitely attracts a particular genre of tourists.

Ecuador travelogue: Chapter 16 | Read other chaptersSee photo gallery