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Living in Quito
A comprehensive guide about living well in Quito
Nestled between the mountains of the Andes, the capital of Ecuador is a charming city with a rich history. Life in Quito is becoming increasingly popular with expats, because of its low cost of living and mild climate. Find out more about local healthcare, transportation, etc. in this article.
Life in Quito
Healthcare in Quito
It is strongly recommended for expatriates to take out medical insurance before moving to Quito. All hospitals in Quito are required to provide emergency treatment to any patient, whether local or from another country, including those without medical insurance. In public hospitals emergency treatment is free of charge, but private hospitals will charge for their services. Note that in public hospitals you may have to pay for additional medicines. Private hospitals will usually expect a credit card guarantee or proof of medical insurance cover before accepting a patient for admission. The quality of medical treatment in Quito is generally high.
Good quality dental treatment is widely available in Quito at reasonable cost. This low cost dental treatment is one of the top reasons why Quito has become a popular medical tourism destination. Quito is situated at high altitude, so if you have any health condition, such as severe asthma, which could be impacted by living in Quito, you should seek medical advice before moving.
Transportation in Quito
The public transport network (Metrobus Q-Red Integrada de Transporte Público) in Quito consists of El Trole trolley cars and buses. The trolley cars and eco buses have priority routes which enable them to move quickly and efficiently through the city.
Taxis are plentiful and charges are low. It is advisable to agree the fare before your journey begins as many taxi drivers do not use a meter, although by law they should use a meter during the daytime. At night time you may feel safer to make a taxi reservation by phone, so that you are given the vehicle details and its license plate to check before you get in.
Driving in Quito can be challenging and roads in the city can get congested, particularly at rush hour. In Quito the condition of the roads is largely adequate, although if you drive outside the city you may reach areas where roads are poor quality.
Traffic police are authorized to issue instant fines so it is essential to follow their instructions when you are driving. Keep your vehicle registration document and driving license (or color copies) with you whenever you go out as you may need to show these to police at checkpoints.
Safety and Security in Quito
You should take care of your personal belongings when out and about in Quito as pickpockets operate in the city, in particular in areas such as La Floresta, La Marin and La Mariscal. Pick pockets are not uncommon in some of the city’s parks such as El Ejido and La Carolina. Even in restaurants be aware of where your valuables are. Keep your wallet or handbag close to you and make sure you are not distracted by strangers who could be attempting to relieve you of your valuables.
When traveling after dark you need to be extra vigilant, whether you are driving or a passenger on public transport. Ideally you would avoid travelling on buses at night time. You should always be careful when withdrawing cash at an ATM or in a bank, and it is advisable to avoid carrying large quantities of cash. Levels of violence in Quito are lower than in many parts of South America, nonetheless you should ensure that your property has adequate security for you to feel safe in your own home.
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