Cumbayá - the wealthy east of Quito
The typical Ecuador – in Quito you can experience this best in the historical old town. Because in the Centro Histórico street vendors do their business. Indigenous people perform their dances and you can have lunch in the colourful, crooked colonial-style houses for two dollars. But Quito also has modern neighborhoods. You can find an impressive collection of skyscrapers in La Carolina and La Floresta, for example, but also in the city of Cumbayá in Quito’s east.
Location and directions to Cumbayá
The best way to get to Cumbayá by public bus is from the Río Coca terminal. From here, there are connections every five minutes. There are also connections to the south, which are covered by the Quitumbe – Tumbaco line, and to La Floresta. Cumbayá location is only a few kilometres from Quito in the Tumbaco valley. So the journey doesn´t take long. Due to its location at an altitude of only 2,200 meters, the climate here is mild compared to Quito (2,800 meters).
The park of Cumbayá
The centre of Cumbayá is not large and consists of a small, pretty park and the surrounding streets. First of all I noticed the quietness here. No comparison to the street noise you are often exposed to in Quito itself! There is hardly any traffic and on Sundays there are only a few people on the streets. At one side of the park there is a white church. In front of it, artists often exhibit their paintings and offer them for sale.
Cumbayás city centre: a culinary paradise
Traditional, small houses surround the park. But appearances are deceptive! Inside they surprise with modernity, elegance and western, mostly even extravagant and pompous designs. They are home to numerous restaurants with international cuisine. This kind of food you would probably not find in Quito’s old town. They are as expensive as most of them look. The prices correspond to European standards or even exceed them by quite a bit. But therefore, guests can dine in elaborately designed patios and gardens in most restaurants.
Besides the international cuisine in the restaurants that Cumbayá has to offer, there are numerous delicatessen shops in the streets around the park. They offer wine, spirits, cheese, sausage and quality coffee. A few cafés mingle with them. But there is not only coffee and cake. You can enjoy expensive “postres artesanales”, handmade, artistically made and elaborately decorated sweet delicacies.
Galería Comercial La Birrería
A small but nice gallery is also adjacent to the park in the centre of Cumbayá. The “Galería Comercial La Birrería” is just as noble as the rest of Cumbayá. But at the same time it retains a lively and cosy character. The entrance area is adorned with a small fountain. Here you will also find the already mentioned delicatessen shops. But also small restaurants and cafés with a rather unusual offer have settled here. Furthermore, you can purchase exclusive furniture and decoration here. At the end of the gallery there is an inner courtyard with seating. Especially beautiful is the old, authentic and still hand-operated children’s carousel.
The atmosphere of Cumbayá
The international atmosphere is not only caused by the culinary offer. Besides Ecuadorians of higher income levels, many foreigners are also on the move here. They seem to enjoy the obvious and demonstratively upscale ambience. I did not meet homeless or beggars during my visit here. With all effort the cityscape of Cumbayá seems to want to express itself: Ecuador’s problems, often clearly visible in Quito itself, do not reach this point. But the further one moves away from the city centre, the more normal the conditions seem to become.
All in all, Cumbayá is definitely worth a half-day trip from Quito. Although you may not necessarily encounter the authenticity of Ecuador here. But a culinary experience of the highest quality awaits you here. And the elaborate designs of all the restaurants and cafés are also well worth seeing! You may be able to combine this with a visit to Tumbaco, east of Cumbayá and much larger.
If you are interested in more excursions from Quito, the blog about a trip to Patate or Cotopaxi might be of interest to you! If you prefer to go high up instead of into the warm valley, you should definitely combine your stay in Quito with the Teleferico. Because incredible views of the volcanic chain surrounding Quito and the city itself await you here! Other destinations after Quito that you should not miss are Otavalo and the cloud forest village of Mindo!
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