Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, sits at the base of the majestic Pichincha volcano and the picturesque Andes mountains. Explore the equatorial city’s Old Town to discover one of the best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, built over an ancient Incan city.
Visit Quito’s fascinating historic center to find a magnificent Old Town that became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978. Visit Independence Square, a historic plaza that holds the civic heart of the city and opens onto stunning colonial buildings. These include the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral, Carondelet Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace. Explore breathtaking religious buildings, such as La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, San Francisco Church, Santo Domingo Church and La Merced Church, which are all a short stroll from the central square.
Stop at a café in Quito’s historic center and relax with a local wine, such as a spiced vino caliente, as you admire the city’s ornate architecture. Try a bowl of ceviche, a popular regional seafood dish.
At an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,850 meters), Quito is the second-highest capital city in the world. Discover stunning mountain views around every corner in this Andean city. Enjoy picturesque vistas of the surrounding volcanoes from the El Panecillo hill in the city, or take a day trip out to Pichincha volcano or Cotopaxi National Park for a scenic hike. Straddle the middle of the world at the Mitad del Mundo Monument, a tribute to the location of the equator.
Quito has a year-round moderate climate, with a warmer period from June through September. Getting around the city is easy with frequent trolleybuses and inexpensive cabs. The city’s historic center is easily explored on foot. Keep an eye on your valuables, especially when exploring tourist destinations, as pickpocketing is common.
Quito is 22 miles (35.4 kilometers) from Mariscal Sucre International Airport. A scenic railroad also passes through southern Quito, stopping at the Estación de Chimbacalle.