THE BEST WAY TO QUITO, ECUADOR

From LAX, connecting service (change of plane) to Quito is offered on TACA, United, Delta, COPA, United and LACSA. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $899, including taxes and fees.

TELEPHONES

To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 593 (the country code for Ecuador and 2 (the area code for Quito).

WHERE TO STAY

Casa Gangotena, Bolivar y Cuenca, Quito; 400-8000, http://www.casagangotena.com. The newest and most elegant hotel in Quito in the heart of the Centro Historico. Doubles from $375.

Casona de la Ronda, Calle Morales (La Ronda); http://www.lacasonadelaronda.com Not as elegant as the Gangotena, but this small boutique hotel is in a great location and quaintly done. Doubles from $170.

Portal de Cantuña, 228-2276, http://www.portaldecantuna.com For an inexpensive and warm family-run hotel that feels more like a homestay, try this cozy hotel just up the road from Plaza San Francisco. Doubles from $135.

WHERE TO EAT

Casa Gangotena Restaurant, 400-8000, http://www.casagantotena.com. My personal favorite in the city. The setting is not as romantic as some others, but the food is magnificent.

Theatrum, Plaza de Teatro, Teatro National Square; 257-1011, http://www.theatrum.com.ec. Set on the floor above the city's theater, this dramatic red and black space is modern, superb and expensive. Dress well.

Zazu, 331 Mariano Aguilera; 254-3559, http://www.zazuquito.com. An elegant eatery where you are likely to see government ministers or visiting rock stars.

Lobo Sapiens, Gangotena N26-38 e Isabel La Catolica; 252-0533, http://www.lobosapiens.ec. This place could be in SoHo. The haunt of Quito's beautiful people, with great food and a miraculous vertical garden.¿ Mains $8-$25.

Boca del Lobo, 284 Calama, Esquina, 252-7915, http://www.labocadellobo.com.ec. Mmore of a bar than a restaurant, and popular with the younger set. The music can be a little loud but they serve great mojitos.

Octava de Corpus, Calle Junin E2-167; 295-2989, http://www.octavadecorpus.com. A quirky, arty house in the San Marcos neighborhood filled with antiques and local paintings. The food is traditional and the wine list features mainly South American labels. Mains about $10-$20.

Mea Culpa, 295-1190, http://www.meaculpa.com.ec. Located in the former Archbishops Palace in the Plaza Grande, a semi-formal place serving Ecuadorian-Continental food. Nab a table near a window with an unbeatable view of the floodlit domes of the cathedral. Mains about $12-$25.

El Pobre Diablo, Isabel La Católica N24-274 y Galavis esq. La Floresta; 2235-194, http://www.elpobrediablo.com. Jazz and blues club serving light fare to a bohemian crowd. Mains about $11-$12

El Esmeraldas, 222-6616, http://www.facebook.com/elesmeraldas. Visitor-friendly cevicheria, with excellent, inexpensive seafood. Mains from about $9.

TO LEARN MORE

To hire a guide in Quito, Metropolitan Touring, (888) 572-0166, http://www.metropolitantouring.com