Quito Ecuador, is it worth the trip?

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Quito Ecuador, is it worth the trip?
Mon 4 Sep, 2006 11:00 am

Trip reports please. Not only about the gay scene. I do know it is a conservative culture.
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I came back from Ecuador a few weeks ago, touring Quito, Banos, Cuenca and Guayaquil. I'll talk about Quito for now.

Most gay places seemed to be located in Mariscal Sucre, where many foreign travelers stay. It's about 10 minutes drive away from Historic Center, where there aren't any gay businesses, but full of beautiful colonial buildings and lots of cheap places to stay and eat. You can still find cheap eats in Mariscal Sucre if you look hard, but the majority of places are catering international fares like pizza, pasta, sandwiches, Middle Eastern, and other ethnic eats.

The cab driver from the airport told me Mariscal Sucre is safe at all time, but most other locals told me otherwise after dark, with an exception of Fri. and Sat., when there are a lot of people walking on streets till late. On other nights, after 8 or 9, many streets in Mariscal Sucre, or most part of city gets empty, locals recommend to take taxi even if you travel for a few blocks.

I think this website is the best when it comes to gay info in town, although it's in Spanish only. You can try translating with Google Translate, etc. http://www.quitogay.net/

I failed to find any gay bars where we can chit chat with other guys. The equivalent to that would be bars inside of gay saunas, there are at least half a dozen. I went to a club called Budda or something for a gay night event, but it was super packed, and full of smoke, I stayed there for less than 5 minutes. Nightlife in Quito is very early compare to other countries. Budda was packed when I dropped by at 8pm, and many saunas gets peak hours around 6pm, then start closing around 9 or 10 even on weekends. I've heard that's due to bylaws.

I was looking for some MBs at saunas, but I didn't see any. I went to 3 of them: Bambu Spa, Sauna Azul, and Jinetes. Not all of places I saw English speaking staff. Surprisingly, I didn't see any other 'falang' type tourists. Bambu Spa had mixed clientele, but most guys there know each other, they chit chat rather than having sex. However, I thought Bambu Spa had best looking guys of 3 I've visited, and was the cleanest. Sauna Azul was near empty despite going there around 6 on a Saturday. Cubicles seemed to be closed down for some reasons, so there wasn't any private space to have fun. Right after Sauna Azul, I took a cab to Jinetes. It was 7 when I got there, but people already started leaving. I had some chat with bartender, but the place was closing at 9, so I had to leave. All of them don't have any signs on street, so you need to have exact address with you. They buzz you in.

I've met some guys thru manhunt.net, and got some info from them. Besides gayromeo, mundoanuncio.ec (Spanish only)was another place to browse ads for hook ups and MB. Ongoing rates seemed US$30-40, nobody really tried to overcharge me, so I didn't haggle. Hooking up through mundoanuncio was pain in the butt, for somebody who doesn't have a phone and doesn't speak much Spanish. Almost nobody there speak/write/read English. I tried to hook up with more than 10 guys there, in different part of Ecuador, but I've managed to meet only 1. It took me a lot of emails going back and forth, I've got an impression that Ecuadorian boys aren't that desperate for money. I really wish there was an easy system like Thailand's gogo boy bars or Brazilian saunas. It just takes a lot of effort to hook up even with a MB in Ecuador.

In Quito, I was staying mom&pop run guesthouse, I was told 'no chicas (girls)' when I checked in. I could still bring boys, but I wasn't that bold, I didn't want them hear our noise on bed :happy7: Knowing many countries like Argentina, Mexico etc. have siesta hotels or at least charge by hours, but boys I met told me there's no such custom in Quito, they have sex at each others' houses?? I was still skeptical on that, but 2 cheap hotels we stayed for fun in Mariscal Sucre didn't have any siesta rate. The staff at 2 hotels we went, didn't really 'get it' that we wanted to stay only for a few hours, but they didn't give us any hard time, either. I paid US$15-20 for 2 persons, we could stay till next morning if we wanted to. Historic Center seems to charge half that.

For general travel info, I liked my Lonely Planet Ecuador and Galapagos, but it had no gay info. I'm Japanese, but I felt I blended in the crowd everywhere I went. Nobody called me 'chino', or gawked at me unlike reports from Dominican Rep., etc. Street vendors aren't insistent at all, when I say 'no, gracias' they go away.

The bottom line: if you speak Spanish, then Ecuador is great. If you don't speak Spanish but want to have a lot of sex with young men, then Ecuador isn't the best place, at least for now.
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I think in these places you really need a phone - if they are anything like Thailand, a lot of the guys do not have a computer at home, and check emails only occasionally.

They all are big texters though!
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RonanTheBarbarian wrote:I think in these places you really need a phone - if they are anything like Thailand, a lot of the guys do not have a computer at home, and check emails only occasionally.

They all are big texters though!


After knowing most boys don't speak anything more than basic English, I won't be comfortable more than setting up appointments on the phone in Spanish. When I have a language barrier, I prefer systems like Brazilian saunas or Thai gogo bars, what you see is what you get.

Ecuador, like most part of Latin America, many of them probably don't have computers at home, but net cafes are everywhere. That's why they're able to post their ads on mundoanuncio.ec the first place. Even after I ask them in Spanish questions like; what you're into, if you do this and that, and prices, only a few managed to reply with complete response. I didn't really feel that they wanted my business. Or maybe that I'm too used to with N. American or Japanese style of business efficiency, I don't know.
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QueueDeCastor wrote:I came back from Ecuador a few weeks ago...

Wow... Thanks for the great overview on Ecuador, QueueDeCastor. Do you think it'd be easy for a younger guy to hook up (not moneyboys) there or would it be just as difficult?

I think Brazil and Peru are easier countries to visit.
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Beachlover wrote:
QueueDeCastor wrote:I came back from Ecuador a few weeks ago...

Wow... Thanks for the great overview on Ecuador, QueueDeCastor. Do you think it'd be easy for a younger guy to hook up (not moneyboys) there or would it be just as difficult?

I think Brazil and Peru are easier countries to visit.


If you're young and hot, it should be easy to hook up anywhere you go. You may have to cruise packed and smoky clubs, though.

Ecuador is quite accessible, there are daily direct flights from US to Quito and Guayaquil.

I don't know about Peru, but I've heard prices are as high as Mexico (i.e. double of that in Ecuador and Thailand).

MB are still reasonably priced (US$30-50) in Brazil, but it's 'another' :rolling: pain in the ass that Canadians (C$90) and Americans (maybe around US$150) need to pay a lot to get a tourist visa in advance. Americans be ready to get photographed and finger prints :hello1: Another turn off is that due to their robust economy and poor exchange rate (for us), things in cities cost same as in rural USA (more than triple of that in Ecuador and Thailand). Yet Sao Paulo and Rio are still as unsafe as Quito. Brazil is still not completely out of my radar yet, I find Brazilians a lot more friendly than Ecuadorians.
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Thanks, QueueDeCastor...

I'm actually coming from Australia so anywhere in South America is a very long way for me, 15hrs+ of flying (compared to only 7-9hrs for Asia).

I'm young so not really interested in the money scene. I found some great general info on Brazil at the maleescortreview.com forum but it is mainly focused on the moneyboy scene (not surprising since it's a site about "escorts"!).

I'll be looking for some info on what the general gay scene... nightclubs and bars etc... is like for gay visitors before I go. Brazil really fascinates me.
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Beachlover wrote:Thanks, QueueDeCastor...

I'm actually coming from Australia so anywhere in South America is a very long way for me, 15hrs+ of flying (compared to only 7-9hrs for Asia).

I'm young so not really interested in the money scene. I found some great general info on Brazil at the maleescortreview.com forum but it is mainly focused on the moneyboy scene (not surprising since it's a site about "escorts"!).

I'll be looking for some info on what the general gay scene... nightclubs and bars etc... is like for gay visitors before I go. Brazil really fascinates me.


If I lived in Australia, I'd go southeast Asia all the time, but I'm guessing you're looking for something different.

I know only Rio and Sao Paulo, but I can tell you they have large gay scene. Saunas in both cities are separated with ones with MBs and ones without. Brazilians are one of the most friendliest I've seen, they love talking to you whether you speak Portuguese or not. Very few speak English, so learn some Portuguese before leaving or at minimum take a phrasebook.

It's interesting to note that citizens like Thais are exempt from tourist visa, but you Aussies need to obtain a visa in advance, and can be quite costly.

I need to know what Brazil fascinates you, but if you're not into MBs, Ecuador is a better choice in terms of budget. I said earlier costs in Sao Paulo 2 years ago was same as rural USA (more or less US$80 a day excluding MBs for budget travels like mine). It was similar or slightly less when I visited Rio more than 5 years ago, but I read some posts on maleescortreview.com , telling even a budget lodging there now costs more than US$100 a night.

It's sad to see prices are going up at great gay destinations like Brazil and Czech, I'm in search of up and coming places.
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QueueDeCastor wrote:I know only Rio and Sao Paulo... Saunas in both cities are separated with ones with MBs and ones without.

Thanks! I didn't know this. All the forums I've seen only ever talk about the moneyboy saunas. Hopefully the non-money ones are thriving too.

Actually, I like picking up at bars and nightclubs best. I'm keen to know the best gay nightclubs/discos in Rio and Sao Paulo. Are they going busy every night or does it tend to only be Fri/Sat nights?

QueueDeCastor wrote:I need to know what Brazil fascinates you...

Hmmm... guess I find Brazilian boys very sexy. The exotic culture of the land fascinates me. I'm of Asian origin so I tend to blend in easily and feel right at home anywhere in Asia where I travel. South America will be a bit more out of the comfort zone for me.

The city of Rio fascinates me too... it looks like such a buzzing place to be and really beautiful too.

QueueDeCastor wrote:even a budget lodging there now costs more than US$100 a night.

Yeah I know! What is up with that? In Rio, places under USD$100/night look like complete dumps. USD$120-$200 only gets you budget places. You have to pay USD$250-$350 just get a mid-market hotel. The 5-star hotels all start at USD$400/night and they look old and tired compared to the ones you get in Asia!

Anyway, I think I found a place I like and have just accepted that I'm going to be paying $300/night while there. I want to stay on the beach front where you get that classic Rio Di Janeiro view... Thank goodness other South American countries are generally cheap like Asia.

QueueDeCastor wrote:It's sad to see prices are going up at great gay destinations like Brazil and Czech, I'm in search of up and coming places.

Not sure how much time you've spent in Asia but most countries in Asia are pretty cheap and affordable. Even Singapore is cheap compared to Brazil.
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Beachlover wrote:[q
Are they going busy every night or does it tend to only be Fri/Sat nights?

QueueDeCastor wrote:even a budget lodging there now costs more than US$100 a night.

Yeah I know! What is up with that? In Rio, places under USD$100/night look like complete dumps. USD$120-$200 only gets you budget places. You have to pay USD$250-$350 just get a mid-market hotel. The 5-star hotels all start at USD$400/night and they look old and tired compared to the ones you get in Asia!

Not sure how much time you've spent in Asia but most countries in Asia are pretty cheap and affordable. Even Singapore is cheap compared to Brazil.


Of course weekends are the busiest, but I saw both Sao Paulo and Rio fairy busy on weekday nights.

If you wanna save money in Rio, I'd stay at hostels for US$20-30 a night. I know, you could easily get a A/C private room in Thailand or Ecuador for that, it's crazy. Or, for $400 a night, you could easily stay at places like Park Hyatt in Tokyo. If you hook up with somebody, you guys could go have fun at saunas or one of those 'love hotels' where they charge by the hour. It's safer that way anyway. You'll see many advices that it's not a good idea to bring boys to your hotel room in Brazil. Completely different from Thailand.

That's right, prices are still good in Asia, so that's why I said only Brazil and Czech as examples. It's pretty far from where I live so I've been going going to Latin America last few years, in fact I'm leaving for Mexico City tomorrow. I feel like going to Thailand or Indonesia next year, though.

If you're willing to spend that much in Rio, airfare and visa, but not into MBs, why not going to places like Honolulu and Auckland? They're a lot closer, a lot cleaner, no language barriers, good mix of white, Pacific Islanders and Asians.
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Can I assume you're based in the US?
QueueDeCastor wrote:Of course weekends are the busiest, but I saw both Sao Paulo and Rio fairy busy on weekday nights.

Thanks! Good to know this.

QueueDeCastor wrote:If you wanna save money in Rio, I'd stay at hostels for US$20-30 a night.

Yeah, I know... But for a place like Rio where i might meet someone I'm keen to stay in some place decent. I also tend to need quiet place to work and do phone meetings etc. wherever I am (most of my work can be done online)... so I do spend a fair bit of time in my hotel room (i.e. not just used for sleeping).

QueueDeCastor wrote:You'll see many advices that it's not a good idea to bring boys to your hotel room in Brazil. Completely different from Thailand.

Yeah! I've seen that written a lot!

Does that apply to the normal non-money gay scene as much it does to the moneyboy scene or is it different?

Is there any particular reason, aside from the obvious, for it? I read there have been some gay people murdered in their rooms/apartments in past years but these were guys involved in the moneyboy scene.

I also heard in Brazil most hotels don't let you take guests back to your room. Does this mainly just apply to older/younger couples or does it apply to all couples... E.g. if it's two young guys returning from a nightclub, would there still be the same issue?

QueueDeCastor wrote:If you're willing to spend that much in Rio, airfare and visa, but not into MBs, why not going to places like Honolulu and Auckland? They're a lot closer, a lot cleaner, no language barriers, good mix of white, Pacific Islanders and Asians.

I've been to New Zealand (though Auckland only passing through) and it doesn't excite me. Hawaii is on my list to visit but South America excites me more.
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Beachlover wrote:Can I assume you're based in the US?

Does that apply to the normal non-money gay scene as much it does to the moneyboy scene or is it different?

Is there any particular reason, aside from the obvious, for it? I read there have been some gay people murdered in their rooms/apartments in past years but these were guys involved in the moneyboy scene.

I also heard in Brazil most hotels don't let you take guests back to your room. Does this mainly just apply to older/younger couples or does it apply to all couples... E.g. if it's two young guys returning from a nightclub, would there still be the same issue?

I've been to New Zealand (though Auckland only passing through) and it doesn't excite me. Hawaii is on my list to visit but South America excites me more.


I'm 50km from USA. I'm in Vancouver, I'm so glad that we have the best access in Canada to Asia :hello1:

I have only 1 friend (not MB) I made in Brazil almost 10 years ago, so I cannot say too much from experience. However, I followed the advices, I didn't have any issues. I eventually ended up bringing him to my room, because we met everyday while I was in Sao Paulo, after a few days, I thought I could trust him. The reception didn't give any hard time. If my friend kept his mouth shut, we could be on our way to the room, but he stupidly asked me my room number in front of her, so she realized that I'm bringing a visitor. No biggies, she just asked to see my friend's ID (good security measure), and let me pay for the extra person (now that's a bad part, but I didn't remember if it costed more than US$20). I was around 30, he was in his teen. It was Sao Paulo almost 10 years ago, things may have changed now. I didn't meet anybody interesting (he has to speak some English!) during my last trip to Sao Paulo, for around 4 days.

It's true that Brazil's economy is doing well, but like elsewhere in the world, most of the wealth end up going to corporations and bourgeois. I visited Sao Paulo 2 years ago, and my first time being almost 10 years ago, I didn't see too much improvements in safety and poverty. Again, I've been fine because I was cautious and lucky, but I heard a lot of horror stories of being mugged, etc. So I can only imagine friends that you bring to your room steal something or worse you get robbed, injured or killed. You must wonder why Sao Paulo has the largest number of helicopters in the world carrying all those execs.

When I took a short flight from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires, almost all the passengers and flight crews were white...a sad reality.

Auckland...you know just passing thru doesn't count, right? :rolling: I found their vibe pretty similar to Vancouver, only Auckland is smaller. You'll have fun, and so many Aussie, Asian and European travelers already do.

You're so determined to go to Brazil! Start taking Portuguese lessons NOW! I know quite a few straight guys bringing Brazilian wives they met during their vacation. I also strongly recommend exploring further Rio and Sao Paulo, that country has so much to offer. In general, more south you go, you'll see more white, more north you go, you'll see more black.
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Hey QueueDeCastor... sorry, haven't gotten to read anything here as have been a bit busy.

I'm so sorry for saying you might be American. I know Canadians can feel quite insulted when someone assumes they're American! :happy7:

Yeah, I've noticed Brazil has a similar phenomenon to Thailand where the very poor working class make up a massive proportion of the population and the wealthy minority are extremely wealthy. Hope the middle class grows.

Hmmm... thanks for the insight into Auckland. Never really considered it to be an attractive destination for its gay life before. Might check it out one weekend.

Many thanks for your advice on Brazil!
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