Parque la Carolina is a large green space in the center of Quito, roughly 1.5km long and 500m wide. It is a landmark, often used to describe locations (e.g., three blocks west of Carolina). Surrounded by tall buildings, and major roadways that are frequently congested with diesel-smoke-spewing buses, it provides a relatively fresh and peaceful respite from the bustle of a big city.
We are used to big parks, and seek them out everywhere we go. What makes this park unique to us is how functional it is. It appears to have been developed to encourage physical and social activity. Wide promenades cut through the park, offering pedestrian and cycle commuters pleasant pathways between work and home. The waterway (top image) includes several bridges, fountains, decks for lounging, and loads of pedal boats for those who want to spend time on the water.
In addition to the open play spaces, there is a botanical garden, a vivarium (reptiles), and a children’s activity/party center.
Police keep a presence here, riding through the park (on and off the roads and trails) on their motorcycles, horses, or Segways, providing a sense of safety. Families flood the park on weekends (as they do most parks here).
Parque la Carolina is a gem in this city, and seems truly to have something for everyone.