We did a good amount of research into finding our first hostel for the first night in the first city of our (first, ha) 'Round the World trip. I mean, we're talking tabs upon tabs of TripAdvisor reviews that we were cross-referencing against Booking.com reviews and then a final pass of in-depth photo-analysis to sleuth out potentially deal-breaking secrets hiding in the pixels. Real life Hardy Boys here. After such an intense vetting process only a few Hostels remained in the running with a clear front-runner: Hostelito.
Booking.com said that Hostelito offers an airport pick up service, which, upon reading some sketchy things about the cabs in Ecuador, we thought would be a great feature to use. And Hostelito very well may offer such a service, but we did not end up finding a way to use it. We did try to call and confirm the service from the airport in Miami though. I am not sure if my soon to be expatriated cell phone was having issues or what, but I was not able to have any sort of coherent conversation with whoever was on the other end of the number I dialed. Matt and I laughed and shrugged it off.
Whatever concerns that strange interaction may have had were quickly assuaged when we got into a cab at the Quito airport--I know, I know, but the cabs in the airport and in Ecuador as a whole seem to be much safer than before. After several failed attempts at reading the Ecuadorian address, which is way harder than I thought it would be, Matt finally said, "Vamos al Hostelito." To which the cab driver smiled and said, "Oh, si, el Hostelito" and we were off. So it is clearly very well known.
The cab dropped us off in front and waited to make sure we got in safely. Here we were, it was finally happening, our trip was beginning. Matt and I, full of excitement, reached out and pulled on the handle of a beautiful, large wooden door. It wouldn't budge. We looked at each other, a little panicked, but then our cab driver yelled, "No, el otro puerto!" Once we moved to the correct door (directly in front of where the cab stopped) and were buzzed in, the cab driver left and we were greeted by a friendly volunteer. He showed us around the hostel, gave us towels, and showed us our room. We set up at night (11pm), which, due to the somewhat cramped nature of their locker setups was not the easiest thing to do with our roommates sleeping. But, with our bags secured in the lockers, we went downstairs to enjoy a local craft beer that they sell to celebrate the beginning of our trip before climbing into our pod bed.
The pod bed experience was mostly great. The beds are comfy and surprisingly spacious; however, ours at least, got very hot in the middle of the night. Eventually, the room adjusted by sleeping with the door open all night to let cool air in. I don't know if other people were actually as hot as we were or if it was just a bizarre, unspoken, agreement we made amongst ourselves one night, but it helped tremendously. I also wish that there were a few more shelves/outlets on the walls of the pods, especially for a double bed. Luckily, we brought a travel surge protector so we could charge more than one device at a time from the one outlet in the pod.
Full confession: this is not the pod we slept it. When I was taking these photos, our bed was a complete wreck, but look how well made this one is!
In the mornings, we'd wake up to the smell Dave or one of the volunteers making pancakes, french toast, fruit salad, and eggs and toast. For those of us who had included breakfast in our reservation, we simply gave an order and waited for our delicious food. Everyone else was able to order breakfast for an additional $1.75 or so.
The breakfast space just off of the kitchen and the living rooms.
As I've said, I think the Hostel really is beautiful, especially since it's so affordably priced, kept incredibly clean, and located just a block away from one of Quito's major avenues. My favorite part of the whole place though is for sure the rooftop terrace.
Just up these stairs to the rooftop!
Whether Matt and I were enjoying Americanos and pastries from a local pasteleria while planning out our day or enjoying a beer while the sun began to set behind the mountains, the rooftop terrace was a beautiful sanctuary.
Perfect place to enjoy pastries, coffee, and/or beer!
For our first full day's itinerary, we didn't really know much, just that we wanted to see Old Town. One of the volunteers took out a map and wrote out a path for us to follow that she illustrated with landmarks we'd see and encircled points of interest for us to visit! She sent us off with advice on best practices for staying safe in Quito like "It's safer to walk around with a big map in front of your face than it is to walk around with your smartphone out the whole time." The staff is full of helpful advice ranging from proper bus etiquette to the best times to cross the border into various other countries. And they are always happy to talk to you about whatever is on your mind. Genuinely. Hostelito is a really beautiful space, but the staff (and resident canine, Benji) help to transform it into a truly homey environment.
Resident dog, Benji, may be a little hell raiser, but he is an endearing accent to an already comfortable environment.
I would tell anyone to stay in Hostelito if they have the chance, especially if you are just starting your journey in Ecuador.