Want to explore the top 10 things to do in Quito Ecuador, the city who divides the world in two? It is the capital of Ecuador in South America, it is the jewel of the Andes. Find out what to do, where to stay, what to see and where to eat during your winter escape to Quito Ecuador
Must-see places in Quito’s city for 2019
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, located in South America between Colombia and Peru, was declared as world heritage site by UNESCO in 1978, because it´s Old town, keeps a great architectural heritage of religious art and the cultural mixture between Spain and native America, that make it particularly attractive and interesting, its streets merge lots of historical and cultural sites with the development of its modernity, it also has museums, monasteries, squares, viewpoints, galleries and other attractions to enjoy in the city.
Here are key facts, you didn’t know about Quito:
- Quito was the northern capital of Inca empire, in fact the last emperor, Atahualpa was born in Quito, the Incas searched for this location because they worship the Sun God, so they move all of their empire to be in the exact location where the sun doesn’t have shadow.
- Quito becomes from the tsa’fiki and cha’fiki, meaning “Qui” -from quitsa-, who speaks like “middle” and “To” or “Tu”, meaning earth. So, Quito translates as: “Land in the Middle of the World”, so the ancient cultures living here known that, thousand years after the arrival of European conquerors. Quito is just few degrees away from Equator line. It generates special sun light and weather for its location and height.
- Quito is the second highest capital in the world!! So, the altitude sickness is one of your travel needs to be check. But ENJOY IT the sun is brilliant and stronger than any other place in the world.
Today we will give you all the keys insights, so you can have a tour of things to do in Quito during the next winter season 2019.
Let’s start with your journey:
Places to visit in Quito:
1. La Mitad del Mundo:
Let’s begin for one of my favourite places to go, the middle of the world or La mitad del Mundo, is located in the latitude 0-0-0 in San Antonio’s village, here we look in the central part the first attraction of the place a monument of 30 meters high with a panoramic 360 ° view terrace, and an ethnographic museum inside, where we can discover the country history, through interactive activities the history behind the Equator line measurement and definition.
In addition, you can visit shops located inside the complex, where you can buy typical handicrafts, souvenirs, eat in restaurants of Ecuadorian typical food, among other activities to carry out, jumping from the northern to the south hemisphere. It is an ideal place to not miss! is important to mention that the monument is not exactly at latitude 0, in fact is around 300 hundred feet away, but the location has it´s sense, so don´t forget to visit it.
Schedule: Monday-Sunday (09h00 – 18h00)
Price: $5 – $15
Figure 1. The middle of the world, is a small town crossed by the equator line between the northern hemisphere with the southern hemisphere.
Located in Quito’s old city, this hill is also known as Shungoloma, or Panecillo by its curious resemblance to a “muffin”, is the best natural viewpoint of Quito. In that place you can find the Virgin of the Panecillo or Legarda, cast entirely of aluminium, with almost 41 meters high, a statue that oversight, the North and South of the city because of its strategic location.
Also, we can find a diversity of handicrafts and souvenirs, and you could taste the “canelazo”, which is a hot drink traditional of Quito, in some restaurants at the viewpoint or in the traditional neighborhood of “La Ronda” in the evenings.
Schedule: Monday-Wednesday (09h00-17h00) Thursday-Sunday (09h00 – 21h00)
Figure 2. Figure 2. The virgin of The Panecillo is one of the highest statues in the world even surpassing the Christ the Redeemer in Rio of Janeiro, is the only virgin with wings in the world. http://quitotravel.ec/el-panecillo-y-la-virgen-alada/
3. Carondelet’s Palace:
The next destination we will discover, is located in Quito’s old town, in front of the independence square. Carondelet’s palace is built on the ancient palace of the Inca’s empire, then was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors, and in its place, the current palace was erected.
In this place you can take the tour inside this magnificent building, get to know the main halls of the palace, as well as visit the museum where you can find gifts, both national and international, that were delivered to Ecuador´s presidents in the past and which are currently part of the Palace’s heritage.
Schedule: Monday-Sunday (09h00 – 18h00). Call previously to schedule the tour
Figure 3. Figure 3. Presidencia de la República del Ecuador was built over the ruins of the Inca’s Empire, the museum that works inside is open for tourist where you can appreciate the gifts given to the ex-president Rafael Correa.
4. Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús:
Let’s visit this church, located in Quito’s downtown, is the most important barroque jewel in Quito´s old town, showing the mixture of styles representing the Colonial America baroque art, it was built by hundreds of artists, painters, artisans, creating with expert hands trained by La Escuela Quiteña, inside it’s completely symmetrical, because it has the same number of elements on the right and the left side, the columns, pillars and altars are mostly covered in gold leaf, we can also appreciate paintings, sculptures and altarpieces that belong to the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city and an invaluable artistic heritage.
Schedule: Monday- Thursday (09h30 – 18h30). Friday (9h30 – 17h30) Saturday (9h30 – 16h00) – Sunday (12h30 – 16h00).
Price: National and foreigner students $3.50. Foreigner $5.00.
Figure 4. The construction of this church took around 160 years to finish, all the altar pieces inside are covered by gold leaf. Its architecture, is an icon of barroc style.
5. Museo de Guayasamín- Capilla del Hombre:
La Capilla del Hombre is a cultural centre, located in Bellavista’s Neighborhood, on Guanguiltagua Hill, this privileged place is one of kind, Why? Well this museum has built and create a show for art work with murals, sculptures and architecture made by Oswaldo Guayasamín, one of the most recognized artists in Ecuador, the visit also includes the tour of the artist’s house museum where we can visit every corner including his workplace that collects several pieces of pre-Columbian and colonial collection, a perfect place to appreciate the art of Quito.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (10h00 – 17h00).
Price: Adults $8.00. Students $4.00
Figure 5. This place was declared a priority of culture by UNESCO, also contains his most outstanding tribute works to the native Latin American people about their suffering, achievements and struggles.
6. El Templo de la Patria / Temple Museum of the Nation
Let’s meet history of Ecuador, we are going to visit the Temple de la Patria, this place is located in the skirts of Pichincha volcano, just 2 miles away from Quito´s old town, the place is known as Cima de la Libertad, (Summit of Liberty), on May 24 of 1822, here was the battle between the armies of Spain and the rebels from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and more than 10 countries, to liberate the current territory of Ecuador from Spain empire, this place offers and incredible location to have a panoramic view of all city.
We can enjoy the museum, where we found different rooms with objects that represent the battle, like weapons, cannons, uniforms, flags, documents and more bringing you to this very important moment in Ecuador´s history.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (09h00 – 17h30).
Figure 6. Figure 6. In this place we can see a mural of Eduardo Kingman known as synthesis of rebellion. It consists of various aspects country’s history.
Let’s continue with our adventure and let’s know what else we can do in Quito.
1. Teleférico de Quito/ Quito’s Cable car
To get away a little bit from the city, and get into a natural site, we will visit Quito’s cable car. Located in one of the hills of Pichincha volcano, at 4050 meters overseeing the city from north to south, and depending on visibility, you can watch 14 volcanoes (yes fourteen!) surrounding the city, in a range of 15 to 200 miles away.
Picking up the cable car in the base of the complex, we rise almost 3000 feet in just 20 minutes, catch up with the height, because you will feel the less oxygen in the air. At the top you can enjoy the sight, behind you the Rucu Pichincha volcano with 4530 meters (13500 feet), for visitors who likes hiking and wildlife watching, from this point we have several hiking trails that lead us to the top of the Rucu, we strongly recommend to do the hike with an official travel guide, because the weather changes in just minutes from sunny to fog and you cannot watch where you are.
Remember, for this place we must take warm and waterproof clothes, water, candies, shoes suitable for mountain, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you can carry a mobile phone with you with internet access.
Schedule: Monday- Thursday (09h00 – 19h00); Friday- Sunday (08h00 – 19h30)
Price: National $4.90. Foreigner $8.50
Figure 7. This place offers a spectacular view of the city and if the weather is favourable you can see some important elevations of the Andes highlands. http://quitotravel.ec/teleferico-de-quito/
2. La Basílica del voto Nacional:
If you love the heights!! Well in Quito everything is in the heights. In our itinerary we are going to visit one of the most iconic church by its architecture, in the top of a hill, it’s the largest neogothic Christian temple in South America for his classic infrastructure, this church had two towers of 115-meters-high, you can climb to the top towers, through several sets of stairs to the both towers and have a pretty nice, the construction started on 1883, and still in process.
Is one of the best places to see the city, the gargoyles on their sides are the main details of the church, tropicalized with animals from Galapagos Islands, Pacific Coast, Andes and Amazon rainforest.
Schedule: Monday- Friday (9h00 – 16h45) Saturday – Sunday and holidays (09h00 – 16h30).
Price: National $1.00. Foreigner $2.00
Figure 8. The Basilica is open to public every day, visitors can climb to tower of the condor, a place that is over 150 meters high where you can see the city of Quito.
To clear our minds, we find ourselves with two spaces where we can find alive culture of Quito.
1. La Ronda:
La Ronda is a traditional neighbourhood of Quito’s Downtown, where a lot of relevant politics, artists, musicians, painters, writers and quiteños in general lived, who made valuable works that now are considered as national heritage, it is considered as a space with great cultural and historical heritage, it hosts few restaurants that offer typical food, coffee shops, bars, show halls, souvenir shops and cultural centres.
We can find the traditional drink “canelazo”, an alcoholic hot beverage made from cinnamon, which is delicious to taste. Finally, in La Ronda traditional trades have been recovered, where we can find spaces that show the work of goldsmiths, manufacturers, craftsmen, etc.
Figure 9. A path full of art, culture and tradition, holds the secrets of artists, poets and musicians of the 1930’s who lived in this area.
2. La Mariscal:
La Mariscal neighbourhood, is one of the most tourist places of Quito, we will visit two spaces that we can enjoy here, at the afternoon we can walk on the streets that are full of history and architecture, where are a lot of palaces, castles, squares, parks and cultural spaces like craft markets and art galleries of exposition from appreciate a different art, at night also is a place of fun and entertainment, here converge countless bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Figure 10. This area is known for a mixture of entertainment and culture, by the locals is known as “La zona” by the influx of people to its bars and restaurants.
If you want to know about typical gastronomy, this are some recommended places for you:
One of the best places to delight our palate, this place also offers an extensive menu of innovative recipes and unique flavors in vegetarian dishes, seafood, typical food, among others; They give cooking classes in which you can learn to make traditional dishes of Quito, and taste your creation.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (12h00 – 21h45)
Figure 11. It is an Ecuadorian restaurant with new flavors, in a comfortable atmosphere and avant-garde. They offer excellent products and variety of dishes and drinks, with convenient prices.
2. Restaurante El Cráter:
A unique experience with a beautiful landscape of a panoramic 360 ° view. It is located in the Edge of the volcano pululahua crater, the only one the world which is inhabited!
We will be able to taste a variety of typical dishes, seafood, wines, cocktails and appetizers according to our taste. This restaurant also has 4 rooms each with a different environment and which varies according to the time. From this point we can observe the crater, and the population that lives inside it. A place that we certainly cannot miss.
Schedule: Monday – Sunday and holidays (12h00 16:30 / 18:00-21h30)
Figure 12. This restaurant is on the edge of Pululahua’s volcano, and is the unique inhabited crater in the world, is an excellent viewpoint, surrounded by natural life.
3. La Galería Gourmet
This is a unique place located in La Mariscal, this gallery has a fusion of crafts and products of Ecuadorian cuisine, where the best handmade brands of the country converge, the aroma of cocoa is one of the characteristics of the place, we can also find rooms with different products from coffee, chocolate and liquor to soaps, creams, crafts, books and others. Unlike other galleries, here we can touch, smell and even eat some of the products. A spectacular place to treat yourself!
Schedule: Monday- Saturday (09h00 – 21h00) Sunday (10h00 – 20h00)
Figure 13. This gallery is a space where you can find different types of products that are elaborated handmade Also, inside are a restaurant and a coffee.
4. Cruz Verde Snacks / Colaciones
A place with tradition, to sweeten our palates in a natural and artisanal style, in this place we can find, Luis Banda, a craftsman from Quito who keeps the legacy left by his grandmother and his parents to prepare the famous snacks, a sweet typical of Quito, round white candies with peanuts in the centre.
Schedule: Monday- Friday (07h00 – 17h00) Saturday (08h00 – 16h00)
Figure 14. Traditional candies from Quito are elaborated by Luis Banda, this is a traditional legacy.
If you travel to Quito, remember that you are at 2800 meters over the sea level, Quito’s climate is very changeable even in a single day, you must take your camera throughout your trip so you can capture the best places and moments of your visit.
- Pack sunblock screen over 50 FPS because by the height and location, the sunlight just not illuminate the day it burns like an infrared light.
- Water, always carry your personal water supply because the air is thin and dry, with the collaboration of sun you feel thirsty in just 15 minutes walk.
- In Quito´s winter it doesn’t have snow, but the city got incredible strong rainfalls, so you can leave in the morning where you stay, got a lot of sun between 10 to 12 and 30 minutes before you got an storm, so bring your light raincoat
- Weather, Quito´s has 4 different conditions in just one day, a lot of burning sun, cloudy, rain, sun and finally a rainy night, in some cases with fog, so bring dress in layers to keep you warm or fresh depending the day moment.
So leave away the cold winter full of storm and discover this magnificent city as your main doorway to get into Ecuador and discover Galapagos Islands, Pacific coast, Andes and Amazon rain-forest all of them in the Equator Line, no one you knows will discover this kind of country.