Fellas, I’m talking to you for a minute. We’ve all had to make up for one thing or another. Maybe you forget an important anniversary, then got some special flowers sent to your girlfriend’s office. Possibly, you brought up your space-musical screen play the first time you met her parents….I’m sure they were very impressed. There’s even a chance you randomly moved to Quito for six months. Luckily for you, I have just the guide to plan the dates around that situation. When Lindsay visited for a week in December, I wanted to make up for having left for the other side of the world (Well, middle of the world). So I knew that I needed to put together something special. If you ever end up in the same admittedly rare but possible situation as me, you’ll know the details of planning a visit Papallacta Springs for relaxing and Urko for fine dining. It’s not how you get in the doghouse, it’s how you get out.
When Lindsay arrived, it was a week before the Galapagos trip. We wanted this first weekend to be more laid back and relaxing. I knew just the place: Termas de Papallacta springs. The location is a hot springs with a hotel and spa built around it. Thanks to a nearby volcano, the hot water in the pools is all natural. The springs are about 90 minutes outside the city by car. The drive isn’t bad either, you’ll be going through the Ecuadorian hillsides with scenic views.
We arrived around noon and were excited to relax in the pools. The scenery is extremely tranquil, and the location far outside the city had fresh air and clean smells. As soon as I dipped into the water, I felt as though any tension left me. The water was a perfect temperature to relax, and they even have the pool areas set up so patrons can easily relax and enjoy the hillside views around them. The time flew by, and soon we were hungry for lunch.
Before arriving, I checked to see what packages were available. With some digging, I found a great deal that included unlimited food, a room with a hot tub….and massages. So once lunch was finished, we headed to the spa for massages. It was my first ever full massage; I’m not sure if they are different in the US than in Ecuador, but if you haven’t had one before then go for it. The rest of the time was either spent in a hot spring, in a hot tub or eating.
After the weekend at Termas de Papallacta, we had around a week until our Galapagos trip. We were both working during the week, but I had some dinners planned. One of those dinners stood out in particular. Since I am not an expert chef don’t have a great kitchen, I looked around for recommendations for a great restaurant. Modern restaurant Urko came in as the top recommendation. It did not disappoint. Eating here was more of an experience than a dinner, as they guide you through their 13-course chef’s specialty meal.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be guided to their rooftop where you view the city and tour their garden. Almost all of the their vegetables used in their meals were grown in that garden, and they pride themselves on being as sustainably sourced as possible. Then the meals begin.
The first couple of courses were light seafood and vegetable courses included an edible flower, the largest oyster I’ve ever eaten and fresh roasted strawberries. Then the big courses began. I can let the pictures to the talking for a lot of these. I really want to highlight the roasted lamb chops, simply heavenly.
That’s how it is done. If you ever need to plan a nice date weekend and then dinner in Quito for your visiting girlfriend while you’ve been gone for a few months, you’ve got the guide right here. Even if that’s not your situation, I’d still highly recommend both Papallacta and Urko. I’m sure you can find some reason to go. #VidaLaVic