Quito, Ecuador (Change location)

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Quito City Info

Officially called San Francisco de Quito, this city is the capital city of Ecuador. Situated 2,850 metres (9,350 ft.) above sea level, it is the highest official capital city in the world and the one closest to the equator. According to the 2014 census, Quito has a population of 2,671,191 and is considered as the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquilin. 

Apart from being considered a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved historic centre, this city also houses the general location of the equator at zero latitude called “la mitad del mundo” (the middle of the world) which is marked by a monument and a museum.

Quito Red Light District

There is no official zona del toleranca or red light district in the city of Quito. However, La Mariscal and El Ejido are two of the most popular places where most sources of adult entertainment are found. These areas are considered the centre of trade thus, sex workers abound and can be seen handing out cards to advertise massage parlours and popular night spots.

History of the RLD

Until the year 2001, the RLD of Quito was set in the historic centre with its main drag situated at 24 de Mayo Avenue where around 16 brothels existed and around 1,000 women were employed in these bar-club-brothel locales. Quito’s sex industry was contained within this avenue. Also, municipal officers set directives for these brothels to function legitimately like the ban of minors, bimonthly health assessments of the workers, their possession of identification cards displaying exam results, operating hours from 11am-11pm Monday-Saturday, sales limited to beer, and other policies to ensure sanitary-hygienic conditions. 

However, due to political and industrial pressures, Mayor Paco Moncayo shut down all the brothels in 24 de Mayo. And since the city has always been known as Latin America’s largest and well-preserved colonial district and was declared as UNESCO’s first world heritage site in 1978, which led to more tourists, the city finally got the international funding it needed to clean the city centre including all the brothels. 

In 2008, as promised by Moncayo, a new red-light district in La Cantera which is an old quarry in the San Blas neighbourhood was established. From 2001-2008, street prostitution in the historic centre flourished. Since brothels were closed down, a lot of the sex workers bring their business to the streets. Another reason street prostitution was a hit is the cost of transportation to La Cantera since it is quite difficult to access, a $1.50 or $2 taxi ride is beyond the budget of either clients or sex workers. Even with La Cantera officially open for business, the centre is still the primary zone of Quito’s drug and sex industries. 

How to find the RLD 

  • La Mariscal – situated between the Colon and Patria Avenues
  • Parque El Ejido – a park located along Avenue Patria in the Old Centre part of Quito, Ecuador

Stay Safe in the RLD 

Be watchful when you enter cheap bars and drinking places as bartenders and waiters are in connivance with the person who takes advantage of you. So if you are not up to something that involves these types of activities, then stay away from these places. 

In la Mariscal, be cautious with the so-called scopolamine trick. The product to go with this trick is thought to be imported from Colombia, namely, the Scopolamine better recognised as the “date-rape” drug or the “Burundunga”. Colourless and odourless, this drug is made for consumption (e.g. drinks), inhalation (e.g. cigarettes) or as a powder that rubs off on the skin and is absorbed, making its way to our body system. Upon ingestion, the victim loses the ability to think clearly and may pass out, making the person susceptible to theft or rape. Most often, it is slipped into drinks which induce a state of “twilight sleep” and produce sedation and drowsiness, confusion and disorientation, incoordination, and amnesia for events experienced during intoxication.

Quito Adult Entertainment

Adult entertainment in Quito is very much alive as evidenced by prostitution being well tolerated and legal in the city. For as low as $6.00, one can have a 20-minute session. However, to those who prefer a more relaxed all-nighter in their own hotel rooms, $150 could be the budget. An hour session in a mid-range club will cost around $50-75. A popular place in Quito to avail sex services is the chongo. Chongos are a variation of sex clubs that are like a combined strip club and brothel.

Adult Cinemas

Who would have thought that this conservative city would house two adult cinemas:

  • The Hollywood and the America - they are located in central Quito and are even used to getting more than 1,000 clients a day.

Street Prostitution

Street prostitutes are thought to be not as honest as the ones working in chongos, a local term for the venues that have features of both a strip club and brothel. Below are the possible locations to spot street workers:

  • Between Amazonas and JL Mera in Gringoland
  • Around Plaza Santo Domingo
  • Avenida Ambato

Quito Nightlife

  • Bungalow 6 – a favourite amongst expats, this club in the heart of Mariscal features Latin music and international pop hits. Features include foosball, pool tables, a lounge area and some good bar food, including burgers and chicken wings. The venue has three floors hosting various types of music including funk, reggae, and electro. The ladies’ night is particularly popular. 
  • Kings Cross – although dark and cluttered, Kings Cross is amongst the most popular. Expats and backpackers can often be found propping up the bar, but Kings Cross’ great selection of beers, terrific burgers and quirky décor (with an eclectic mix of English-themed framed photographs and poster on the wall) attract a hip local crowd too.

Quito LGBT

Same-sex sexual activity for both male and female is legal in Ecuador; however, same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples do not have the same legal protection to those of opposite-sex married couples.

There are quite a few gay-friendly places in Quito, mostly centred around the Mariscal neighbourhood. 

  • El Hueco – located at Baquedano 188 y Reina Victoria, this club is the largest one in Quito with three different names: Discotheque Tercer Milenio, Evolution, and El Hueco all pertaining to the same bar. It attracts a mixed crowd which includes transsexuals. This club is only open on Saturdays from 11 pm onwards.
  • Capri – this recently opened discoteca is located at Avenue Joaquin Pinto E515 with Juan Leon Mera street. Offering free bar from 10 pm to 1:30 am, they are open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
  • Kika – like El Hueco but smaller, this club has an open bar with free entrance fee before midnight and then turns into a fun disco playing the best Latino pop music.
  • La Disco Bitch – the best place to go to on Fridays, this club has the teenagers and the early adult crowd dancing to Shakira, Ricky Martin, and other Latino pop classics.

General Attitude Towards Gays

In the same way as non-LGBTs are being protected by the Ecuadorian constitution, so are the members of the LGBT. Although they are being guaranteed protection and rights, the public’s attitude towards members of the LGBT community is not the same as that of North America and Europe. This is somehow related to Ecuador being a faithful Catholic county. With this, LGBT nightlife is not well publicized, however, there are still a few homosexual hot spots in the city.

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