Traditional Games during Fiestas de Quito

Fiestas de Quito is a big deal, but the traditional games during Fiestas de Quito are often times seen as an even bigger deal. Quiteños absolutely love to imbue this historical time of year (which actually happens to be the capital’s favourite celebration) with tons of fun and even a dash of competition. There’s no better time than now to start honing your skills to partake in the numerous traditional games during Fiestas de Quito.

Cuarenta: The #1 activity when it comes to traditional games during Fiestas de Quito

What better way to celebrate this historical, week-long celebration that with the national card game of Ecuador? Cuarenta (or “forty” in English) is a game that one might describe as being a peculiar game of “Go Fish,” with certain caveats. It is played using a 52 card deck of normal playing cards, but with all 10’s, 9’s and 8’s taken out.

traditional games during fiestas de quito

Often even played in parks. Photo by: holland.christine

The game can either be played by two players, one-on-one; or by four players split into two teams. For a full description of the games’ rules and procedures, please visit the cuarenta Wikipedia page.

Juego del Sapo

Juego del sapo (“game of the frog”) consists of a small yet tall wooden box that has multiple holes on the top; the most notable of which is the large, metallic frog that has sits with its mouth open. Players must toss metallic coins or pieces and try and get them into each of the holes for points. The frog’s mouth awards the players with the most points. Sometimes, you’ll see other obstacles placed over the surrounding holes, such as bridges or windmills.

traditional games during fiestas de quito frog

Photo by: Jack Zalium

Trompo

Trompo (top) is another national game of Ecuador which, during Fiestas de Quito, will often see boys and girls and even women and men out on the sidewalks throwing around their wooden top. Pedestrians wont hesitate to stop and become mesmerized by the trompo – a teardrop-shaped piece of wood with a sharp need at the bottom – as players vie for each other’s space. The goal? To see which of the opponents can knock the other trompo furthest away in the least number of tosses.

traditional games ecuador top

Photo: Micaela Ayala V./Andes

Coches de Madera

Coches de madera (Ecuadorian-style “boxcars”) sees boys, both big and small, coming together to build their cars and then the track itself. This tradition has been going on for over 40 years.

coches de madera traditional games during fiestas de quito

Photo by: Gustavo Guaman

Juego de Cocos

This popular game is not unlike the games marbles, whereby each player aims to shoot the marbles of their opponents out of the ring that’s drawn on the ground or on the sidewalk.

La Pelota Nacional

This game consists of two teams made of up 7 players each – five players on each side of the court and two substitutes. Each player is equipped with a large, tablet-looking paddle (some of which can be up to a meter/3.feet long and 2.5 kilos/5.5 pounds in weight) that have 15 centimeter/6 inch wide bumps on one side. 3 different types of balls are used. The game is played in a somewhat similar fashion to tennis.

La Rayuela

Just your classic game of hop-scotch. On the streets of Quito. Surrounding by people having a great time.

So what are you waiting for? Soaking in the fun and plethora of exciting activities that will be at your disposal here in Quito today! Make Casa Gangotena your superbly comfortable home base for heading out and partaking in the festivities and games throughout this wonderful city, and book your trip with Metropolitan Touring!

With parents that worked for the U.S. Foreign Service up until he graduated from high school, Chris was raised to have the heart of a nomad throughout his life. He has resided in Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador throughout his years, and just recently spent the past four up in Canada finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy & English at the University of British Columbia.

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