Three Ecuadorian women (and a stray dog) chat and braid hair
Ecuador

Quito

Our first stop in South America was Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city sits at 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level but, unlike the High Sierras, Quito has a subtropical highland climate as it rests almost directly on the equator. The humidity and altitude collude to make running doubly difficult. And despite having relatively cool temperatures year round, Quito receives some of the greatest solar radiation in the world, sometimes reaching a UV Index of 24. Grab your sunscreen!

The trails above Quito are superb and atmospheric.
The trails above Quito are superb and atmospheric.
Sean Pont
Sean struggles with the altitude on his first day in the Andes.
Sean struggles with the altitude on his first day in the Andes.
YiOu Wang
YiOu observes the local fauna at the Church and Monastery of St. Francis, better known as el San Francisco.
YiOu observes the local fauna at the Church and Monastery of St. Francis, better known as el San Francisco.
Sean Pont
Calle Guayaquil winds gently through the the Historic Centre of Quito, which has been carefully preserved since it was built in the 1700's. All new constructions has occurred outside of the colonial centre. Trapped between two volcanic mountains, the city slithers 45 kilometers north while remaining only 8 km wide.
Calle Guayaquil winds gently through the the Historic Centre of Quito, which has been carefully preserved since it was built in the 1700's. All new constructions has occurred outside of the colonial centre. Trapped between two volcanic mountains, the city slithers 45 kilometers north while remaining only 8 km wide.
Sean Pont
The Virgin of El Panecillo, a 41 metres–tall aluminum monument of a madonna, gazes over the city. It was built in 1976 and is made of seven thousand pieces of aluminium. The hill upon which The virgin stands was once the site of an Incan temple, but it was destroyed by Spanish conquistadores.
The Virgin of El Panecillo, a 41 metres–tall aluminum monument of a madonna, gazes over the city. It was built in 1976 and is made of seven thousand pieces of aluminium. The hill upon which The virgin stands was once the site of an Incan temple, but it was destroyed by Spanish conquistadores.
Sean Pont
We visited INEPE, an innovative elementary school serving one of the poorest districts in Quito. Jan Isler, Founder and Director of the nonprofit OneAction and shown here losing the ball to an eight-year-old, has helped the school develop financially and ecologically sustainable solutions.
We visited INEPE, an innovative elementary school serving one of the poorest districts in Quito. Jan Isler, Founder and Director of the nonprofit OneAction and shown here losing the ball to an eight-year-old, has helped the school develop financially and ecologically sustainable solutions.
Sean Pont
INEPE provides more than an academic education. Through physical education, music lessons, and gardening, the school aims to mold ethical, hard-working, curious human beings.
INEPE provides more than an academic education. Through physical education, music lessons, and gardening, the school aims to mold ethical, hard-working, curious human beings.
Sean Pont
Gonzalo, the resident agronomist at INEPE, surveys the greenhouse that OneAction helped him build. He has spent much of the past year working on different composting solutions to boost the productivity of his tomatoes. Compost can also be sold to neighboring farms, further supporting the school. Students come up to the gardens once a week to help weed, pick vegetables, plant trees, and learn about sustainable agricultural techniques.
Gonzalo, the resident agronomist at INEPE, surveys the greenhouse that OneAction helped him build. He has spent much of the past year working on different composting solutions to boost the productivity of his tomatoes. Compost can also be sold to neighboring farms, further supporting the school. Students come up to the gardens once a week to help weed, pick vegetables, plant trees, and learn about sustainable agricultural techniques.
Sean Pont
The Church of San Francisco was founded by Franciscan missionary Jodoco Ricke. Construction began around 1550, just sixteen years after Quito was founded by Spanish conquistadors. This plot was where the palace of the Incan ruler Atahualpa (1497-1533) once stood.
The Church of San Francisco was founded by Franciscan missionary Jodoco Ricke. Construction began around 1550, just sixteen years after Quito was founded by Spanish conquistadors. This plot was where the palace of the Incan ruler Atahualpa (1497-1533) once stood.
YiOu Wang | Pixel 2
A small child discovers that one of the cobblestones is missing from the Plaza de San Francisco.
A small child discovers that one of the cobblestones is missing from the Plaza de San Francisco.
Sean Pont
There are a lot of stray dogs in Quito. It can make running in the city rather exciting.
There are a lot of stray dogs in Quito. It can make running in the city rather exciting.
Sean Pont
Most dogs, however, are friendly and/or uninterested.
Most dogs, however, are friendly and/or uninterested.
Sean Pont
We went on a run with the P.E. teacher at INEPE, Darwin, to explore the surrounding countryside. At 3200m elevation, this field of potatoes looks to be thriving. Darwin's parents have a small plot just over the ridge.
We went on a run with the P.E. teacher at INEPE, Darwin, to explore the surrounding countryside. At 3200m elevation, this field of potatoes looks to be thriving. Darwin's parents have a small plot just over the ridge.
Sean Pont
YiOu strides out through the historic district of Quito on the morning of our departure.
YiOu strides out through the historic district of Quito on the morning of our departure.
Sean Pont

Learn more about about INEPE and OneAction.