Carolina Park – a park of five worlds
The beautiful metropolitan capital city of Ecuador holds a little place in order to escape the busy office and finance life of the Quiteños: the Carolina Park. Today I would like to explain what makes this place and its surroundings one of the most important squares in the city. Located on the main commercial and financial part of Quito, it is surrounded by 5 main avenues: Naciones Unidas; De los Shyris; Eloy Alfaro; La Republica; and Amazonas.
Naciones Unidades Avenue
Let’s start with the main commercial avenue of Quito in order to understand the contrast between nature and contemporary social places. The Naciones Unidades Avenue also known as Bulevar Naciones Unidas is the widest avenue in the north of the city. It holds the highest concentration of local visitors and tons of street artists every day. It represents the strong culture of Quito and thanks to the Carolina Park many runners and couples having a walk can be seen. Other important buildings can be found here such as the Germany embassy. Lately in 2017 many Venezuelan immigrants are seen here, due to big economic and political problems the country is having. This just makes the whole social set up more interesting and cosmopolitan. The Venezuelans being more charismatic and social than Quiteños due to their Caribbean genes creates a wonderful social mix that adds up to the already highly cultural diversity. The two most important shopping centers (Quicentro and Iñaquito) are also located on this avenue, they are exactly on the edges of the park. These are not only good for shopping but also hold many services like banking, the best food courts and gaming places for those like me that just need to play every day.
De los Shyris Avenue
Going forward south around the Carolina Park we find De los Shyris Avenue, a really long street but its most known and transited part is where the park is. On this part we find tons of restaurants from cheap fast food to really fancy ones. Some of the most famous ones are the “Shawarma” Arabic restaurants, they are normally full since this dish has been one of the Quiteños favorites for many years. The avenue is also well decorated, after each block a fancy sculpture can be found. Yet the place I want to tell you about the most around here is “La Tribuna de los Shyris”, a rostrum in the middle edge of the park. This rostrum serves as a meeting point for all types of trips or sport activities, its peak attendance is on “Fiestas de Quito” in December, which I really love as a Quiteño myself. On these dates all the party buses “Chivas” start off here and “Canelazo” (the typical Quiteño cocktail) stands are all over the place.
Eloy Alfaro Avenue
Next up comes the Eloy Alfaro Avenue, this avenue is one of the largest going really far up in the north. The portion of the park it covers it not much but it’s really valuable and with valuable I mean expensive. Some of the biggest and tall residential buildings are here, and the rents start at little lofts with 1 room for around USD $1200 per month. The high real state value is directly connected with the park and commercial places I already mentioned. We all know the most important thing to have near home is a place with fresh air to do sports and a shopping mall with a bank to buy our food. Not only the rich go around here but also everyone else since over here one of the most important bus routes connection is located. Most of the blue bus lines can be taken in this connection stop.
La Republica Avenue
Now we bend over to return north still around the Carolina Park but on the other side, the Republica Avenue. Also a very famous avenue due their 45 degree angle it makes with Quito`s east and west limits. It also covers just a small portion of the park and is mainly occupied by another very important shopping mall “El Jardin”. This mall is mostly visited by office workers since on this part the biggest concentration of corporative administration departments can be found. It has a really big food court with lunch and sometimes also dinner for the neighborhood.
Finally we have the Amazonas Avenue, probably the most famous avenue of Quito. It connects the touristic and commercial center “La Mariscal” and the business development center “La Concepcion”. Along this avenue we find the “Cruz del Papa” monument made in commemoration of the visit of the deceased pope now Saint John Paul II. This monument is also a meeting point for sport groups that train in Carolina Park. My coworkers in SOLEQ usually take part in these trainings. Further north we find the “Centro de Exposiciones Quito” literally Fair Center of Quito. It was the first fairground and the most important one. I remember once my mother organized a fair of Chile Independence Day in here. It was a ton of work and we actually lost money instead of winning but it was enjoyable somehow. The social interaction and gastronomy on the fairs done on this place are always the best part of them.
I think the thing I like most about the surroundings of Carolina Park is how different and close each avenue is to each other. It’s like having the whole city reachable by walking no more than 15 minutes. It is also essence of my whole country Ecuador, different worlds on a little area. So next time you come to Quito and you have free time don’t miss the opportunity to visit this very diverse cultural square.
Esteban Almeida D.