My expectations were pretty low when I thought about going to Quito. My Peruvian visa had expired and I needed to go to a nearby country for a few days and come back. I had never been to Ecuador so why not Quito? Well, it didn't take very long after landing before I was totally charmed.

The long taxi ride from the airport took me from some of the poor neighborhoods to Maggy's House, an old renovated hostel in the colonial center. Each day after finishing online work, I would go out for a couple of hours.

The old buildings are colorful and well-kept. The view of the green mountain sides from the narrow hilly alleys reminded me of San Francisco. Looking out in the taxi, I could see the impact of OPEC petrodollars on this country of just 18 million people. Lots of good looking modern buildings and apartments. And their first underground metro line is about to open soon.

I only spent three days, but I would put Quito firmly in my top five most attractive mega cities in South America, after Buenos Aires, Rio, Medellin and maybe one other I can't think of. I'm coming back for more of Ecuador for sure.

View Full-screen Gallery