La Ronda Street

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Quito, Ecuador
La Ronda Street - Canelazo
La Ronda Street - Canelazo cauldron
La Ronda Street - On La Ronda
La Ronda Street - La Ronda on a Friday evening

La Ronda Street Quito Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
566 reviews
La Ronda Oct 25, 2012
La Ronda (also known as Calle Morales) is a narrow street on the south side of the old town, and has become known for its relatively lively nightlife when compared with the rest of that area at least. We found though that this varied very much according to when we visited. On both a Friday and a Saturday night the street was packed with both locals and tourists, and the atmosphere was great. But two evenings later, on a wet Monday, it was almost deserted and we found ourselves the only diners in our chosen restaurant for most of the evening. On our third visit, a Sunday, it was somewhat between the two but really not that busy. So if you want a party atmosphere, come on a Friday or Saturday.

The street is really little more than a pedestrianised lane, lined with old colonial buildings from 16th century onwards. On some of these there are informative illustrated boards, describing the history of the area and some of the artists and writers who once lived there. Today the old buildings have been turned into restaurants (some smart and upmarket, others cheap and cheerful), bars and shops. On a busy evening there are street traders selling gimmicky items such as light sabres and whirling helicopter toys, which seemed to be aimed more at the local market than tourists, but some of the shops have some nice craft items and paintings if you’re looking for something more special. But really this is a place to come and wander, soak up the atmosphere, eat and drink ...

The street is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to pre-colonial times, when the indigenous inhabitants used it as a path to the Pichincha River, where they went to fish, bathe and wash clothing. Later it developed as the route to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, then the home to all types of artists, and later still became a street notorious for crime – theft, muggings and worse. Today however, like much of the colonial quarter, it has cleaned up its act and is regularly patrolled by tourist police who ensure that you need have no fears about visiting here.

We also saw the smartly uniformed soldiers in my second photo here, who were happy to pose for my photo (and for many others!) But I have no idea, and no one could tell me, whether they were here on duty or for pleasure.

This is also a good place to try a local favourite, canelazo. This is a warming traditional drink for the chilly Quito evenings. The traditional recipe is made by boiling water with cinnamon and sugar, which is then mixed with a local sugar cane alcohol called punta or aguardiente. Often fruit juice (typically naranjilla) and cloves are added. We went into one of the small local bars here on a cool night, after dinner, so I could try it. It’s not something I would like to drink a lot of, being a little sweet for my taste, but it is perfect for that climate and I really enjoyed the glass I had. If you like English mulled wine or German Glühwein you will probably like canelazo.

My large glass in this little local bar cost just $1. You will probably pay more if you buy it in a more upmarket tourist-focused place, but really this was the perfect spot in which to try it. Be warned though – it may be sweet but it is alcoholic, and too much can make you very tipsy indeed!
La Ronda on a Friday evening
On La Ronda
Canelazo cauldron
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