Physical survival first:
Living on the ground floor is cold, cold and colder in Quito.
Down comforter or thick wool blanket is a must in Quito.
When you coming to Quito - make sure you pack warm lounging clothing, flannel pajamas and slippers. Forget about shorts, short skirts and sandals. Layers, layers and more layers - it's what you need!
If you own your place - anti-noise windows in the bedroom is a must, Quito is a noisy city.
When you intend on crossing the road in Quito, imagine that you are in the enemy camp: cars, motobikes, buses can appear from the thin air and red light is not reason good enough to stop or slow down for some of them, in-spite of cameras everywhere at semaforos (street lights) in Quito! Considering that lots of streets don't have lights at all, even at intersections - staying alive and in one piece is your own responsibility, crossing the road not in a hurry, it might be fatal, take your time, look right, left, up and down - it won't hurt. On the contrary, if you are fast enough you can try to outrun cars, its what some locals do and good luck with that.
Hanging or hidden, no other way! Forget about fashion, your best trend is cross body purse or messenger bag or backpack on your front. Hanging on you (front) at all time, even when you are eating at nice restaurant - your possessions either by your side (so its not possible to grab it) or hanging on you.
If you are a tourist, get some travel money belt or clothing with built-in pockets for your credit cards, money and documents.
Stay in airbnbs as a tourist or newcomer! In Quito there are 300+ airbnb listings and most of them are incredibly cheap, while having good qualities. Why people are staying in hotels and hostals are beyond me. You can have place with washing machine, kitchen and balcony (in Quito) for under $30 per night!
If your plans are to live in Quito and you are not sure where is the best fit for you, just check out different areas living in airbnbs there.
This tip is about physical survival of your possessions and mental health while traveling in between Ecuadorian cities. When I travel on long distance buses I buy two tickets, one for me another for my belongings. So far it works for me pretty well. The trick is to memorize faces of bus driver and his helper and to tell "no gracias" to everyone else trying to say something to you.
Based on my observations, people who ask questions like "How serious is the crime? Any particularly safe places on / near ...?" or people expressing desire not to live in "gated community" won't make it in Ecuador, they will be gone sooner rather than later.. Ecuador is not a safe place and you are in charge of your own well-being here. It sounds simple enough, yet, most "first world" people act contrary to the common sense. Starting with sidewalks and stairs: sometimes they are uneven and you cannot sue "them" if you fall. Watch where you're going! Look around who is near you, let them pass by if you have uneasy feeling.
Again, based on my observations, I can say, although it might sounds strange - Quito choosing or rejecting you, not the other way around. I am talking about English and Russian speaking people. You might put your best intentions forward and all in vain, something is not right for you here: tiny bugs bite you to death (that's more Cotacachi or Vilcabamba problem), not enough oxygen, getting robbed, not enough personal space while in public, your new friends leaving Ecuador, etc..etc.. In the contrary, other people find lifestyle they being looking for, friendships, romantic relationships, business opportunities or jobs, everything just fall in place for them.
Patience, acceptance, relationships with Ecuadorians
2 bedroom, 1 bath, totally remodeled