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La Ronda is an enchanting addition to Quito‘s historical district, and the long curving street has quickly become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Read more about its history and learn the 11 best ways to enjoy this magical street.
Located south of the historical district, La Ronda is found between Venezuela and Pedro Vincente Maldonado. Its origins date back to the time of the Incas. After the Spanish conquest centuries later, residential and commercial construction began, largely in the Andalusian style common in Spain during the 18th and 19th century; Spanish tourists may notice La Ronda resembles neighborhoods back home.
In the late 19th century, La Ronda began to develop its reputation as a bohemian barrio. Over the next several decades, the area became home to painters, poets, political activists, prostitutes, and even priests (most notably, Federico González Suárez, a major figure in Ecuador’s history).
As Quito grew and La Ronda gradually depopulated, it was later settled by drug dealers, criminals, and the homeless. Yet, ironically, it benefited from neglect; its historical buildings were never razed to make way for shopping malls, condos, and fast-food franchises. In the late 20th century, a movement began to restore La Ronda.
Today, from the outside, the lantern-lit streets and floral balconies enhance the romantic ambiance, making La Ronda one of the crown jewels of Quiteño culture. A series of doorways open up to a courtyard and multiple art galleries, museums, craft shops, and elegant restaurants where visitors can partake in the following:
Casa de Arte features exhibits of new Quiteño art, as well as a nostalgic recreation of domestic life in the city from decades past.
Canelazo is made from a combination of local citrus fruit naranjilla, cinnamon, and the strong cane liquor aguardiente. It is served hot. Thirsty visitors can buy a cup of canelazo for as little as one dollar.
Take photos with any number of people in film character hanging out on La Ronda, including Jack Sparrow, Freddy Kruger, Jason, the Riddler, and more.
La Ronda has several gourmet options in elegant restaurants serving haute cuisine, with menus that offer a variety of international selections.
For a few dollars, help yourself to local eateries. Purchase inexpensive but tasty treats like pizza, roasted chorizo (pork sausage) served on a stick, or empanadas de morocho made from corn and generally filled with cooked ground beef.
Many of La Ronda’s eateries and taverns feature live music from folk artists ready to serenade their audiences with ballads about broken hearts and lost loves.
Dance clubs in La Ronda also feature live artists specializing in Latin music, where dance enthusiasts can jam to salsa, cumbia, and merengue.
Street performers like dance troupes, magicians, jugglers, and fire-eaters have a long history in Quito, and they are popular with crowds on La Ronda.
The galleries and shops on La Ronda specialize in arts, crafts, and clothing not found anywhere else in the city.
The city of Quito provides interpretive boards in both Spanish and English that educate locals and foreigners about La Ronda’s colorful history.
La Ronda also has a place of worship: a small Roman Catholic chapel called “Reina de la Paz” (Queen of Peace). It is open on Friday and Saturday nights.