Quito Travel Guide

Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Quito. How to get in, maps, activities to do,...
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Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the highest official capital city in the world. It is located in South America Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha Volcano, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha Province and the seat of the Quito Canton|Metropolitan District of Quito. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR. Quito as capital of Ecuador, is a great starting point in visiting the rest of Ecuador, as well as being a beautiful city in itself, with great cultural activity throughout its districts.

The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, and is indoubtley one of the cities main tourist attractions. Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 km south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as “Mitad del Mundo” (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word “ecuador” is spanish language for “equator”.

Quito lies between two mountain ranges and its altitude is 2,800 metres or about 9,200 feet. It may take you a couple of days to get accustomed to the altitude. Quito is said to have “all four seasons in a day”. Because of its elevation and its proximity to the equator, Quito has a fairly constant cool climate. The average temperature at noon is 18.7 °C (65.7 °F) with a normal night-time low of 9.3 °C (48.7 °F).[14] The annual average temperature is 14 °C (57 °F). Throughout the year, the city is considered to have two seasons: winter and summer. Winter is usually very rainy, specially during the month of April. Summer becomes very dry and windy. Once the sun goes down it can get downright cold, so dressing in layers just in case is a good idea. A common first time visitor’s mistake is assuming since the city is near the equator, the climate is going to be really hot, and don’t bring along warmer clothes. Don’t be that person.

Be prepared to speak some basic Spanish in order to get along. Quito is an excellent city in which to learn Spanish before heading off to other places in South America. The Spanish spoken in Quito is very clear and it is spoken slowly in comparison to coastal areas. Dozens of spanish-learning institutions have locations all around town. Very few locals speak English except in the touristy areas of North Quito which includes “La Mariscal” quarter, where most tourist businesses are located. This quarter also happens to be city’s favorite local night life destination, so be prepared to mingle. Bars, nightclubs, restaurants, hostels and internet cafes abound. Young people from many countries tend to congregate there.

Ecuador, especially the Sierra region that includes Quito, is culturally a conservative society. This is reflected in manner of dress. People of all socio-economic backgrounds tend to dress up in Ecuador. For men, this means a pair of trousers and a button down shirt. For women, slacks or dresses are acceptable. Men and women seldom wear short pants in Quito, although in recent years casual clothes have become somewhat more accepted especially among the young. Some popular nightclubs and restaurants enforce a dress code, so please keep that in mind if you are planning on making a reservation.

The Quito Visitors Bureau has several information centres around the city. These include at the International Arrivals terminal at the airport; the small Parque Gabriela Mistral, on Reina Victoria in the Mariscal quarter; the Banco Central Museum in the Mariscal District; and finally, in the Old Town, on the ground floor of the Palacio Municipal on one side of Plaza Grande – their main location. This includes helpful staff, lockers for leaving bags, maps, leaflets and books for sale, a store of Ecuadorian crafts. This offices offers subsidised guided tours, with various routes available. The contacts for the main office are: +593 2 2570-786 / 2586 – 591, info@quito-turismo.com The Visitors’ Bureau publishes a useful A3-size map with most of the city’s attractions. You can pick it up at their information offices.

They also publish a number of pocket guides on various themes, including walking guides, a guide to the city’s Viewpoints, a guide to the Mariscal, routes north, south and northwest. Their website has an interactive map; listings of hotels, restaurants, videos and more useful information for your visit.

The South American Explorers Club is a non profit organization dedicating to helping independent travelers in Ecuador and South America. Their office, at Jorge Washington 311 y Leonidas Plaza (in the Mariscal district of Quito right off of 6 de Diciembre) is a great place to stop by, meet people, and get the latest information on where to go, what to avoid, and on adventure travel. You can find out more about the services they offer on their website. There is an annual membership fee for this non profit organization.

If you are planning to travel to the rest of the country, a good place to visit is Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism office, which is located on El Telégrafo E7-58 entre El Tiempo y Av. De los Shyris, south of La Carolina Park.


Quito is roughly divided into three parts: the Old City (Centro Histórico) in the middle, with South (Sur) and North (Norte) districts to either side.

  • The South part is mainly industrial and residential, a working class area. It is the most inhabited district. Everything here tends to be cheaper in cost than the other districts. The past two decades have seen a lot of development regarding infrastructure in this area. The city’s main inter-province bus terminal is located here in the Quitumbe district, as well as the main train station.
  • The North part is the modern Quito, with high-rise buildings, shopping centers, the financial district (locally known as the “micro-centro”, and upper-class residential areas and some working-class housing areas. This area of Quito is also home to several museums, art galleries and the cities most renown education institutions, as well as home to a variety of restaurants and nightlife options. The North Part of Quito is also home to the city’s largest concentration of parks, with the most new one being Parque Bicentenario.
  • The Old City continues to be Quito’s main attaction: it boasts no fewer than 40 churches, 17 plazas and 16 convents and monasteries (many of these with guided tours). It’s been called the ‘Reliquary of the Americas’ for the richness of its colonial- and independence-era architecture and heritage. It’s a great district to wander, with several excellent museums, theatres, and plenty of restaurants and terrace cafes for a rest while sightseeing.
  • Quito’s surrounding valleys (Valle de Tumbaco & Valle de los Chillos) also are great weekend get aways, with excellent local ecuadorian cuisine, as well as some great outdoor eco-tourism opportunities (bicycle routes, mountain biking, etc).
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    GET IN

    By Plane

    Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre(IATA: UIO) (ICAO: SEQU). is the busiest airport in Ecuador and one of the busiest airports in South America. It is located in the Tababela parish, about 18 kilometres (11 mi) east of Quito and serves as the largest hub of TAME, the flag carrier of Ecuador, with an average of over 220 daily flights. It is well outside the city–between the towns of Tababela and Puembo. It features one of the longest runways in Latin America: 4,100 m long by 45 m wide, that allow an average of 44 take-offs and landings per hour. It opened in February 2013 and replaced the old Mariscal Sucre International Airport, which is now a park called Parque Bicentenario.

    You no longer have to pay an airport fee when leaving Quito by air (2/2011). As of February 2011 international fares should already include the tax in the price of the ticket.

    The travel time from the new airport to Quito can range from 45 min to 60 minutes (depending on where in Quito you want to go, and which transportation option you choose).

    There are several ways of doing this:

    • Public Bus – A public bus travels between the airport and the city. Coming from the international arrivals, look for the sign ‘transporte colectivo’. You will find the local bus (green, modern bus) right next to the taxi line. Buses depart every 15 min to Rio Coca terminal (service from 6.20 am to 9.30 pm for Airport –> Rio Coca terminal and from 5.45 am to 9.30 pm Rio Coca –> Airport) and will cost you $2. After about 1 h you will arrive in Rio Coca terminal where you can switch to a Metrobus Rojo that can bring you to Mariscal Sucre or the Old town within 30 min and for $ 0.25. If you are going to the airport, Rio Coca is the last stop on the red line.
    • Airport Express Bus – The express bus departs from the old Quito airport and goes directly to the new airport without stops. The buses have free WiFi. Journey Time: up to 1 hr. Departs: every 20-30 min / 24 hours per day. Cost: $8. Tickets can be purchased on-line and also at both of both airports. You are permitted 1 piece of luggage up to 23 kg, and one piece of hand luggage. For additional luggage, there is a surcharge of US$2 and for over sized luggage the surcharge is US$2.50.
    • Taxis – The estimated cost of a taxi between the city and airport is US$22-46. Taxis have a fixed fare towards and from the airport, which varies depending on which part of Quito you are traveling to. Towards the airport the fare is generally around 2$ less expensive than from the airport. The fare for the most probable tourist destinations (La Mariscal area) is 24$. If your destination is in the Tumbaco Valley (where Cumbaya is located), the fare is 13,5$, from the airport.

    By Bus

    Coach buses from over 100 companies connect Quito with the surrounding area and the rest of the country. For complete schedules and more bus info, see Getting Around section of Ecuador page.
    The single, old “Terminal Terrestre,” which was located in Cumandá (Old City)has been replaced by two new terminals:

    • Terminal Quitumbe (located in the south of Quito), services all the buses that go to any destination south of Quito: Basically all of the coastal provinces, all of the amazonian provinces, and all of the mountain region (Sierra) provinces except two: Carchi and Imbabura. This terminal can be reached by local buses (which often leave La Marin in Old Town) or by the Trolebus and Ecovia bus systems. It takes about an hour to get from Centro Historico to Quitumbe using Trolebus or Ecovia.
    • Terminal Norte Carcelén (located in the far north of Quito), services buses that go towards Carchi and Imbabura provinces (where Otavalo and other tourist attractions are located) . This terminal can be reached by local buses (which you can catch at La Marin in Old Town or El Ejido in New Town) or by Ecovia, Trole and Metrobus. By Trole, take it northbound to the “La Y” station, but get off at the stop AFTER “La Y” called “Terminal Norte de Trolebus”. It is a big bus station. There is a connecting bus from “Terminal Norte de Trolebus” station to “Terminal Norte Carcelén”. (Reverse to get back.)
    • Some bus companies have their own terminals near La Mariscal. These include Panamericana (right on Colon Av.), TransEsmeraldas (one block north of Colon Av.), Flota Imbabura (above El Ejido), Reina del Camino (also above El Ejido), Transportes Ecuador (right on Juan Leon Mera Avenue, parallel to Amazons Ave.)

    Inter-city bus fares are fixed according to the route and cost approximately US$1 per hour, but generally the price is already established. So if for some reason, your bus trip takes double the time to get to your destination, for whatever reason (damaged road, too much traffic, etc.) you don’t have to pay extra hours. The fare to Guayaquil for an aproximate 9 hour ride is US$10. It is recommended for longer rides to usually make arrangements at night, as usually you’ll arrive in the morning and more transport options will be available to you in your destination.

    In all bus stations, wether private or public, the same safeguards apply: as long as you hold on to your belongings and don’t hang around there at odd hours, it is safe. People walk around the bus terminal, and will probably shout at you asking where you are going. They either work for a bus company and want to get you to buy a ticket with that company or want to help you find the bus you are looking for in exchange for a tip. If you arrive with a lot of luggage it’s best to avoid the public transportation system in Quito and take a taxi to your hotel. Ecuadorian long-distance buses will generally let passengers off anywhere along their route.

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    Orientation is not a big problem in Quito. The city is elongated. The Panecillo separates the South from the Old City, and the areas between Parque La Alameda and Parque el Ejido is generally regarded as the start of the North. To the west, is the imposing Rucu/Guagua Pichincha volcano, that overlooks the entire city, no matter where you are. To the east of the city, is the Valle de Tumbaco, which is also the location of Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport.

    Public Transportation

    There are 3 independent public, ‘enclosed stations’ systems of buses. They are very inexpensive ($0.25 for a single ride). These lines follow north-south-lines down through the heart of Quito, and they have stations close to La Mariscal where most tourist hotspots are located. Take note that there is no tradition of waiting for people to disembark before people board, so this may take some getting used to.

    • El Trole or The Trolley: Green stations, buses of different colors, run from station La Y in the north (near The Plaza de Toros), to Quitumbe in the south, which could take one and a half hour from start to finish. This is the main and most used system by the locals, and also has the most stops. You can get to the bus terminal in the South (Quitumbe), but Ecovia is recommended as it has an express lane.
    • Metrobus: Blue stations marked with a Q, buses of different colors, run from Universidad Central in America Avenue, next to Prensa Ave, and then to Diego de Vasquez Ave. until Carcelen in the far north of the city. This is the best bus system you have to use for visitors who want to visit the Mitad del Mundo Monument. In the Ofelia bus station there are public buses which go to Mitad del Mundo, which costs an extra $0.35 fare.
    • Ecovia: Red buses and stations marked with an e run from Rio Coca Station (north) to La Marin Station inside the Quito historic Downtown. Serves stations close to Casa de la Cultura and Estadio Olímpico, as well as the popular La Mariscal area. Has an express lane towards the “Quitumbe” bus station.
    • A subway system is currently being built. It is expected to start operation in 2017. The entirety of the city’s public and private transportation is also being redesigned around this main backbone, so expect several changes in the following years.

    Private Transportation

    • Private bus companies also have hundreds of lines that go all around the city. You can identify them by their blue color. The fare is $0.25 for a one way trip. The routes are too many to list. If there is an avenue, you can be sure there is a bus line that goes through it. These buses usually have placards with a list of destinations on its front windows. It is recommended to ask knowledgeable locals for tips on getting around the city using these buses.
    • To travel towards the Tumbaco Valley, and for cheap buses to the airport, Ecovia’s Rio Coca Station is also right beside the Interprovincial Private (Green Bus) Station. The buses are painted green, and the fare depends on which part of the Valley you are travelling towards. The fare to the main part of Cumbaya is $0.25, and the fare towards the airport is $2.00. The fare is usually paid when you get off the bus in your destination.
    • Taxis are everywhere and are relatively inexpensive compared to other cities in the world. A taxi ride costs a minimum of US$1 during the day and a minimum of US$2 at night. Most rides are short, and local hotspots are close to each other, so it’s rare for a ride to exceed 5$ in price. A general guideline is to only use official taxis (yellow with a number painted on the door). Make sure the driver turns on the taxi meter if you don’t want to get ripped off and find another taxi if they claim the taximeter device is broken. At night or if they refuse to use the taximeter, negotiate the price before getting in, or wait for the next cab. Carry small denominations of money and have exact change for your taxi fare. If you do not have exact change, taxi drivers conveniently won’t be able to make change for you and will try to convince you to make the change a tip instead (tipping is not done in Ecuador). When taking a taxi be sure you are aware of the fastest route; if a driver is using the meter he may take the scenic route. Most major hotels have taxis that they have approved as safe and legitimate. If unsure about a taxi, call your hotel and they can generally have a safe taxi dispatched to your location.
      • Bikes

        A bike renaissance is happening in Quito, despite its hilly topgraphy. More and more locals and tourists are starting to use bikes as their main form of transportation. The past several years have seen the birth of new permanent bike lanes and activities, such as nightly bike tours in the Old City. If you rent a bike to travel around Quito we recommend you are careful and use a helmet, it is a nice adventure and a cheap way to get around.

        • Since 2012 Quito has a public bike sharing system, called BiciQuito. The cost is currently 25$ a year, and the system currently has most of its stations in the North part of the city, with several in the Old City as well. Might be a good option to consider if you are planning on staying for more than just a couple of days.
        • A great way to get to know A LOT of Quito is to participate in the weekly Ciclopaseo, that is done every Sunday. The Ciclopaseo is a project organized by the local organization Ciclopolis to promote urban cycling, sustainable transportation, and community building in Quito. A route of 30 km running from the North to South of the city is closed to traffic every Sunday from 8 am until 2 pm to give preference to bicyclers and pedestrians. The project is run in cooperation with the Municipality and features diverse locations of the city from Carolina Park, Ejido Park the The Historic Center of Quito, Avenue Rio Amazonas, and the The Panecillo.


        • You can rent a car in Quito, but it’s not recommended for getting around the city. It’s not worth the effort with taxis so cheap. Renting a car is a possibility for exploring further afield, to the Cotopaxi or Otavalo or Papallacta areas, for instance, but is only recommended for those who speak a bit of Spanish and can handle the tension of Ecuador’s ‘lax’ driving rules.
        • The railway station is at the south end of the old city, close to the El Trole route, in the beautiful Chimbacalle neighborhood. The trains rides mostly service tourist destinations south of the city, like El Boliche National Park, and last year saw the inauguration of the “Tren Crucero” a luxury train ride that goes to Guayaquil and takes about 3-4 days to complete. More information can be found in the Tren Ecuador website.
        • City Tours: A variety of tour operators offer half-a-day to full-day city tours to get you orientated, see the main museums, plazas, churches and palaces. Among them is Cuyabeno Lodge, operating out of its Quito office; ☎ (++593) (2) 521212 and cell (++593)(0)9980 3395; email: info@cuyabenolodge.com
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    • Museo del Banco Central. Located across from the Casa de la Cultura and adjacent to the Parque El Ejido, you’ll find perhaps Ecuador’s most renowned museum with different rooms, devoted to pre-Columbian, Colonial and gold works of art, among other topics. Some of the famous pieces include whistle bottles shaped like animals, elaborate gold headdresses and re-created miniature scenes of life along the Amazon. The museum is well-organized, and it takes about 3-4 hours to see everything. Entrance $2. Guides who speak several different languages including English, French and Spanish are available for a small fee. NOTE: The Banco Central also has a small exhibit downtown, across from La Compañía church. This exhibit usually shows currency or stamps. $1. Casa de la Cultura station in Ecovía bus.
    • Casa de la Cultura has galleries featuring local ecuadorian art, as well as hosting theatre, cinema, and dance performances. The building also is home to a big auditorium where concerts from a variety of local and international artists are performed. Depending on what you do, the entrance can range from free access towards several dollars. The price for the concerts depend on the artist, and can range from 25$ to 100$. The easiest way to access is in Casa de la Cultura station in Ecovía bus.
    • Museo de la Ciudad. The Museo de la Ciudad is in the Old Town, on Garcia Moreno street, directly opposite the Carmen Alto monastery. A lovely museum with two floors encircling two quiet courtyards, the “Museo de la Ciudad” provides more of a social history of Ecuador than other museums in Quito. Re-enacted scenes from daily life of Ecuador’s citizens through the years include a hearth scene from a 16th-century home, a battle scene against the Spanish, and illustrations of the building of Iglesia de San Francisco church.
    • Centro Cultural Metropolitano. Located right by the Presidential Palace (Palacio de Carondelet), this museum regulary holds exhibits by leading contemporary ecuadorian and international artists. A must see if you go to the Old City.
    • Centro de Arte Contemporaneo. The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC), located in the Old Town in Montevideo y Luis Avila streets., in an old refurbished building which used to be the old military hospital. It is a big museum with multiple shows and cultural events going on at once in its galleries, including concerts and performances. It is one of Quito’s main contemporary cultural hotspots. The building also has a beautiful view of the city and surrounding valleys.
    • Arte Actual FLACSO. Contemporary Art space in the north of the city, which is managed by FLACSO (a social sciences university). Features regular curated exhibitions of local and latinamerican contemporary art. La Pradera E7-174 y Av. Diego de Almagro. FLACSO.
    • Alianza Francesa. More than a French language education center, this cultural institute also houses a library, and also has spaces featuring curated exhibitions of local and international contemporary artists, as well as having a dedicated theatre and alternative film screenings. Also hosts an annual big music festival called “Fete de la Musique.” Check their website for more info. Avenida Eloy Alfaro N32-468 & Rusia. Phone: 593(02)224-6589
    • Museo de Arte Colonial. This museum features a permanent exhibit of Spanish colonial furniture and a vast collection of sculptures and paintings from the School of Quito from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Calle Cuenca & Mejía (Old City) Phone: 593(2)228-2297
    • Museo Guayasamin. This museum houses the collection of one of Ecuador’s most renowned contemporary artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin. It has a fine collection of pre-Colombian, colonial and independence art, as well as housing many of the titular artist’s works. You can also visit the nearby Capilla del Hombre, which is an incredible building/monument built posthumously to house some of Guayasamin’s vast canvasses on the condition of Latin American Man. A must place to visit.
    • Museo Camilo Egas. This museum houses the collection of another of Ecuador’s famous artists: Camilo Egas, who had a body of work ranging from “indigenismo” towards abstract expresionism. Also features galleries with more contemporary artists. Venezuela N9-02 & Esmeraldas (Old City).
    • Casa del Alabado, Calle Cuenca N1-41 (Between the Plazas of San Francisco and Santa Clara), ☎ +593(2)228-0772. The Museum of Precolombian Art, Casa del Alabado, is a nonprofit cultural institution supported by individuals and private companies. The museum’s sole purpose is the preservation Pre-Colombian works of art. It is located in down town Quito, a city that was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. The museum is hosted in a Spanish residence built in 1671 as an inscription states in its doorway: “praised be the holy soul, the façade of this house was finished in the year of the Lord 1671.” “Praised be” in Spanish language is written as “alabado,” hence the name of the museum, Casa [house] del Alabado. Open 9:30-5:30 Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-4:00 on Sundays and Holidays. $4 for Adults, $2 for audio guide, $1 for children 6-12 and Seniors. www.alabado.org
    • Museo Mindalae. An extremely original project in the north part of the Mariscal District, this museum provides an ‘ethno-historical’ view of Ecuador’s amazingly rich cultural diversity. You can find out about the country’s different peoples, from the coast to the Andes to the Amazon, and their crafts in a specially-built and designed structure. The museum has a restaurant for lunch, a cafe and a fair-trade shop.
    • Conjunto Monumental San Francisco. The church dates back from the 1570s and was devoted to San Francis, since the Franciscan order was the first to settle in the area. Hence the city’s official name: San Francisco de Quito. The church contains masterpieces of syncretic art, including the famous “Virgin of Quito” by Legarda. The sculpture represents a winged virgin stepping on the devil’s head (in the form of a serpent) and is displayed in the main altar. The virgin would later be inaccurately replicated on top of Panecillo hill. The museum next door to the church is arranged through the monastic compound and includes access to the choir.
    • Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesus. In the Old City, this church is regarded by many as the most beautiful in the Americas. Partially destroyed by fire, it was restored with assistance from the Getty Foundation and other benefactors. Simply stunning.
    • Quito Botanical Gardens. The Jardin Botanico is located on the southwest side of Parque La Carolina. All of Ecuador’s ecosystems is represented with a wide variety of flora. You can take a guided tour or just wander. The highlight for many people are the two glassed-in orchidariums.
    • Yaku: Parque Museo del Agua. Yaku is a children’s friendly science/cultural/park museum that is focused on the importance of water and water resources. Be prepared to get a little wet! It has a wonderful view as well. Calle El Placer Oe11-271, or Calles Bolívar & Rocafuerte.
    • Museo Interactivo de Ciencias (MIC). MIC is an interactive science museum, specially suited for kids and young adults who want to learn a little more about physics, math, nature and the flora and fauna of Quito. Sincholagua y Av. Pedro Vicente Maldonado Chimbacalle neighborhood.


    • Teleferico. This is the world’s second-highest cable car. It’s located on the eastern flanks of the Pichincha Volcano which overlooks the whole city. It hoists visitors up to an amazing 4,000 meters (12,000 feet). On clear days, one can spot half-a-dozen volcanoes and spy the entire city below. You can also hike up from here to the Guagua Pichincha Volcano, which is active. See Teleferiqo website for details. It is $4 for locals, but $8.50 (as of 3/15/2011) for foreigners. There is also an express lane option for more money. Get a taxi to take you to the teleferico.
    • Calle de la Ronda. This street in the Old Town was restored by Municipality and FONSAL in 2007. It was transformed with the help and cooperation of the local residents. It’s a romantic cobbled street just off the Plaza Santo Domingo (or it can be reached via Garcia Moreno by the City Museum). There are shops, patios, art galleries and modest cafe restaurants now, all run by residents. Cultural events are common at the weekends.
    • La Vírgen del Panecillo. Adjacent to the Old City, El Panecillo is a large hill on top of which is La Virgin del Panecillo, a large statue of the ‘winged’ Virgin Mary. She can be seen from most points in the city. Local legend has it that she is the only virgin in Quito. Never walk up the hill, always take a taxi or a bus as the walk up can be dangerous.
    • Mitad del Mundo. Just outside of Quito is where the measurements were first made that proved that the shape of the Earth is in fact an oblate spheroid. Commemorating this is a large monument that straddles the equator called Mitad del Mundo or middle of the world. Note, however, that the true equator is not at the Mitad del Mundo monument. Through the magic of GPS technology, we now know that it is only 240 meters away. The entrance for the park is $2 (included entrance to small museums). For some of the attractions you have to pay extra.
    • The Intiñan Solar Museum is right next to the Mitad del Mundo monument on the other side of the north fence. For $4 you can have a tour of this little museum. Note that they don’t demonstrate the Coriolis effect but rather deceive you (ask for repeating the experiment on your own and they will deny it). Other “experiments” showing effects that apparently only occur on the equator are also scams. The tour is completed by some untrue facts about indigenous cultures in Ecuador and is just straining after effect. The place looks like a total dump and is at the end of a dirt road, but for some people it is much more interesting and informative than the Mitad del Mundo. When you go to the middle of the world, you can just take a bus ($0.40) straight there, or go with a tour, or hire a taxi driver by the hour. The hourly rate should be in the $12 or less range. Buses leave from the Occidental or Av. America for $0.40 and have “Mitad del Mundo” clearly written large on the front. This is the most economical option and tours of the Intiñan Solar Museum are $4. Entry to the monument nearby is $2, but only worth it for a photo straddling the equator – which you can do at the ‘real’ equator nearby at Intiñan.


    • Parque La Carolina is one of Quito’s most frequented parks. On weekends, thousands of locals go to have picnics, play some sports, and overall just enjoy what the park has to offer. It has a lot of sport and recreation areas, a well as a running track, and several bike routes. Food carts with local eats abound. The southern portion of the park feature a beautiful artificial lake with several islands, as well a decently sized skate park. The center of the Park is home to the Botanical Garden, as well as a youth cultural and scientific institution called Mundo Juvenil.
    • Parque Metropolitano del Sur. Quito’s biggest park, at 750 hectares, located in the South of the city, right beside Avenida Simon Bolivar. Lots of recreational facilities, bike and ecological trekking routes. It is also home to a part of the ancient “Qapac Ñan” or “Camino del Inca (Inca Trail) route.
    • Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua Quito’s second biggest park at 557 hectares, located in the North of Quito. It is mostly native forest, but also includes lots of recreational facilities, bike and ecological trekking routes. Giant public art installations and sculptures can be found throughout the park. It has great views of the western part of Quito.
    • Parque Metropolitano Rumipamba This park located in the North of Quito, is important due to its archaelogical discoveries, which range from a period of Quito’s history from 1500 B.C to 500 A.C. Guided tours are offered.
    • Parque El Ejido This park is located in the North of the city, and right beside the Casa de la Cultura. During the weekends it hosts a massive art fair, where you can purchase works made by local artists.
    • Parque La Alameda This park is located nearby the Old City, and is one of the more traditional parks of the city. It has an artificial lake, and a variety of historical buildings and monuments, like Quito’s first Astronimcal Observatory.
    • Itchimbia Cultural Complex and Park. This hill lies to the east of the Old Town. It provides stunning views of central and northern Quito, as well as the distant peak of Cayambe to the northeast. The hillside was was made into a park and an impressive cultural centre established here in 2005. The centre holds temporary exhibitions. At the weekends, there are workshops and fun for children. A restaurant, Pim’s, opened at the complex in June 2007. Lots of great events are hosted in this complex, so it is wise to check out their website for more up to date information. The complex closes at 6 pm. Once it closes, you can head to the nearby Cafe Mosaico to watch the sunset until about 7 pm. It’s a great spot to watch the fading of the light on the mountainside with the floodlights of the Old Town’s churches.
    • Parque Bicentenario. Located on the site of the old airport, the park is a newest one in the city, as well as one of the biggest. While not yet boasting a lot of amenities, the runways provide for the perfect place to go by bike or inlines. The runway has a fantastic view of the south of the city, specially some spectacular views of Cotopaxi Volcano and the Quito skyline. Get to the park with the Corredor Norte to station Aeropuerto.
    • Ruta del Chaquiñan Also known as “El Murcielago”, it is located in the Valle de Cumbaya. The Chaquiñan is a scenic, 35km long, route that follow’s Quito’s old decommissioned railway routes built at the start of the last century. The route features three tunnels as well as gardens, natural forest and a couple of river crossings. Bikes are highly recommended!
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    • Explore the Old Town With its gorgeous mixture of colonial and republican/independence era architecture (Late 1500’s to 1800’s), relaxing plazas and a stunning number of churches. If you happen to be there during Christmas or Easter, you’ll be amazed at the number of events, masses, and processions that bring out the crowds. You’ll find craft shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels across its grid of streets.
    • Have lunch in traditional Mercado Quito’s population have a tradition of shopping for groceries in “Mercados”, which are all over the city. They are usually big buildings that occupy an entire city block. Check out Mercado Santa Clara and Mercado Iñaquito in the north. If you feel more adventurous, head out to the weekend only open air Mercado La Ofelia in Cotocollao in the north. Besides cheap groceries, most of these markets also offer cheap traditional eats as well, with fresh ingredients. If you aren’t that hungry, then have a big glass of freshly made juice. You won’t regret it!
    • A recommended walking tour that could enhance your vision of the Historic Center is as follows. Take the trolley (watch your belongings) south until “Cumanda” stop. Get down, you are on Maldonado street. There you will have an impressive view of what once was the “Jerusalem” ravine, which stands between Panecillo and the core. Walk north past the trolley stop and go down a narrow stairway that brings you to La Ronda street, of Pre-columbian origins. Walk up picturesque La Ronda until you reach Av. 24 de Mayo. This boulevard was built on top of this section of Jerusalem ravine to connect the two sides of town. On Garcia Moreno Street turn north and you will arrive to the Museo de la Ciudad, which provides an easy and interactive history of Quito. Then walk on Garcia Moreno street until Sucre, which is a pedestrian street.
    • La Compania is at the corner and if you go up Sucre street you will reach San Francisco. If you continue on Garcia Moreno you will reach the Main (independence) Square. If you go to San Francisco, then walk to La Merced and down to the Main Square. This itinerary follows a chronological and logical sequence of sites. Most people do it backwards, turning La Ronda and Museo de la Ciudad as distant points where you’re usually worn out by the time you get there. In any event, the Historic Center is so vast that you need more than one visit to see it all. The recommended walk provides you with a good overview if you’re short of time or want to see as much as possible on a first day. You could also join the [Free Walking Tour Ecuador] departing from Community Hostel in the old town from Monday to Saturday starting at 10:30 am. Everybody can join, even If you are not staying in their hostel, just show up and join.
    • Watch The old men play Ecuador’s version of bocce at Parque El Ejido. You can also see some serious games of Ecua-volley, the local version of volleyball, on a Saturday or Sunday.
    • The Middle of the World 45 mins from the capital Quito, you can go to see the Monument to the middle of the World. It’s a big monument with many events and things to do. For example, national indigenous music groups play different songs of their culture. There are museums with the history of the 0 latitude and history of Quito as well. There are many unique artworks and once you are there you can even weight your self and you will find out how you weigh less on the equator.
    • Bicycle Ride the Ciclopaseo takes place every Sunday. 30 kilometres (20 miles) of roads running north-south through the city are completely closed to traffic. People cycle, run and blade the route. Up to 30,000 people take part. Bikes for rent are available throughout the route.
    • Go Mountain Biking (BIKING Dutchman mountain biking tours), Foch E4-283 (corner of Amazonas, in La Mariscal), ☎ (02) 2568 323. 9H30-17H30. There are many outfits offering one- to multi-day mountain biking trips to the surrounding volcanos, lakes, and valleys. Biking Dutchman is one of the oldest and most well-regarded. It was recently chosen by the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Traveller among the 101 “Best of Travel from the Region”-South America 49.
    • Equinox Spanish School: Located on Calle Yánez Pinzón N25-106 y Colón, in the Mariscal district. Equinox is the 2nd oldest school in Quito and hosts study abroad programs from universities and a very large amount of foreign students who want to learn Spanish. The prices are affordable and extremely personable.
    • Imagine Ecuador, Travel Agency and Tour Operator, Quito, Ecuador. A tour operator with German- Ecuadorian management offering Galapagos Islands Cruises and Tours, Galapagos Last Minute Deals, Galapagos Island Hopping or Land Based Tours, Flights and Hotels reservations in Galapagos, Amazon Rainforest Tours, Whitewater Rafting, Kayaking School and Courses, Canyoning, Rock Climbing, Paragliding, Biking, Trekking Zip Lining, Bridge Jumping and Horse Back Riding. We are specialized to organize tailor made packages, honeymoon tours and family vacations.
    • Banana Spanish School, José Tamayo 935-A y Foch. Spanish classes for foreign students in Ecuador. Affordable classes as well, at a teachers co-op.
    • Green Horse Ranch, Quito, Ecuador, [14]. The Pululahua Crater is one of the most amazing places to ride, but chances are you will not find anything about it in your guide book. Astrid, the owner of the ranch who moved to Ecuador from Germany about 15 years ago, will pick you up in Quito and bring you to the ranch (about 45 minute drive). Rides of various lengths are available and she has a wide variety of horses ready for novices and experts. Her and her staff are incredibly friendly and everything is included in the price.

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    There are several fair-trade shops in Quito which promise to pay the craftspeople fairly for their products. The ones at the Tianguez (Plaza San Francisco), El Quinde (Plaza Grande), and Museo Mindalae are all very good.

    There are lots of artisans working on unique crafts in the capital. These include guitar-makers, candle makers, tanners and leather-workers, silversmiths, ceramicists and woodcarvers. You can find them at their workshops, published in a guide by the Visitors’ Bureau.

    There are many shopping malls (Centros Comerciales, or CC for short) in Quito such as Quicentro, Mall el Jardin, CCI, CC. El Bosque, Ventura Mall, Ciudad Comercial el Recreo, San Luis Shopping, CC. Cumbaya, etc. Ask around and people will let you know which is the nearest one. Most of these have some sort of supermarket. The main supermarket chain is Supermaxi, which includes their bigger Megamaxi variants as well. These generally have anything you might want, groceries related, but a little more expensive than the “Mercados” that traditionally have existed in teh city. Almost every street corner has several a “Mom and Pop” shop or stands where you could buy immediate small items you might want to consume, such as bread, milk, cheese, soda, etc, but don’t expect the same variety as a supermarket. You can also find bakeries in almost every neighborhood as well, where you can find fresh bread almost everytime of the day.

    Shopping malls are full of many casual wear stores like Adidas, Zara, MNG, Benetton, Lacoste, Guess, Fossil, Bohno, Diesel, and other major brands. Keep in mind the clothes are more expensive than what you would find in the USA.

    Ecuador’s indigenous peoples include many highly skilled weavers. Almost everyone who goes to Ecuador sooner or later purchases a sweater, scarf or tapestry. In Quito vendors are found along the sidewalks of more touristy neighborhoods. You should also consider travelling directly to some of the artisen markets, such as the famous one in Otavalo. If you haven’t got time for Otavalo, you can find virtually the same gear at the market on Jorge Washington and Juan Leon Mera in the Mariscal district. The Mariscal is replete with dozens of souvenir, craft and T-shirt stores which make shopping for a gift very easy.

    • Zapytal, Foch E4-298 v Av Amazonas, ☎ 528 757. Hand made shoes. A wide selection in stock plus made to measure if you have 8 days to spare. A selection of correspondant (spectator shoes), riding boots and womens shoes $80
    • Guitarras Guacan, Chimborazo y Bahia, Quito, ☎ (+593) 2-2583-475. Master Luthier Cesar Guacan’s quaint guitar workshop at the base of the Virgin del Panecillo – great guitars for both professionals and budget-conscious. www.guitarrasguacan.com
    • Tienda del Alabado, Calle Cuenca N1-41 (Between the Plazas of San Francisco and Santa Clara), ☎ +593(2)228-0772, [16]. After visiting the Casa del Alabado Pre-Columbian Art Museum you can explore the beauty of Ecuadorian handicrafts in the museum shop. The shop works to support the preservation of ancient knowledge of craft techniques from various parts of Ecuador. The museum is proud to provide a space in which Ecuadorian artisans can integrate ancient techniques into contemporary designs and show their wonderful handicrafts to the rest of the world. Open 9:30-5:30 Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-4:00 on Sundays and Holidays. $4 for Adults, $2 for audio guide, $1 for children 6-12 and Seniors. www.alabado.org.
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    You name it, and it’s available in Quito. Restaurants range from the basic places offering daily lunch specials (“almuerzos”) for $1.50 to chef prepared delicacies with very expensive prices. The country’s cuisine benefits from an interesting mix, with a variety of dishes inspired by both Coastal and Andean produce. Seafood and fish is fresh and delicious, while meats, particularly pork, are excellent. These are combined with typical ingredients such as potatoes, plantains and all sorts of tropical and Andean fruits. There are also lots of vegetarian restaurants all around town. Most malls (“centros comerciales”) have food courts and restaurants as well, so they are a top destination for locals wanting to grab a variety of food.

    A good area to head to for eating out is the Plaza El Quinde (or Foch) which is in the Mariscal district at Foch y Reina Victoria. There are dozens of restaurants and eateries all around this area. La Floresta, up the hill from the Mariscal around 12 de Octubre, also has many fine restaurants. The La Floresta traffic circle turns into an evening market after 5 pm and the most popular dish served is tripa mishqui (grilled beef or pork intestines).

    Churrasco is a a great Ecuadorian version of a Brazilian dish. Tallarin is a popular noodle dish mixed with chicken or beef.

    Chinese restaurants are known as “Chifas” and are very abundant. Chaulafan is the local term for fried-rice, a very popular dish. Cebiche (also spelled ceviche) is a very popular dish in which clams or shrimp are marinated in a broth. Worth trying, but look for a well known restaurant with many locals to be sure you are getting fresh seafood. There are also traditional vegetarian cebiches, the most popular, availble in all the city parks, is cebichocho, a mix of chochos(andean white beans), roasted corn, and fried plantain chips.

    When buying from lower-priced restaurants or shops, if you only have bills larger than a $5, it’s a good idea to get them changed at a bank first.

    Around Av. Amazonas & Calle Carrion (between La Mariscal & Parque El Ejido) there are several vegetarian restaurants. They offer daily lunch specials (drink, soup, main, desert) for around $3, as well as items off the menu. All very popular with the office workers around there.

    • Sakti, Calle Carrion (1/2 a block east of Av. Amazonas). Vegetarian restaurant with $3 lunch specials.
    • Manantial, Carrion & 9 de Octubre. Vegetarian restaurant. $3 lunch.
    • Formosa, Carrion & Mera (Upstairs on the corner). Chinese vegetarian with $3 lunch special.
    • Sangu Green Food, Av. Amazonas N22-19 (a few doors north of Calle Carrion). 1/2 the menu is vegetarian. A great selection of pastas, salads, and wraps. Here you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
    • Pim’s. A Ecuadorian Franchise. They have 4 locals, Panecillo, Cumbaya, Itchimbia and Isabel La Catolica (next to the Swissotel).
    • Restaurant Techo del Mundo (Restaurante El Techo del Mundo), Av. González Suárez N27 142 (In the 7th floor of Hotel Quito), ☎ (593)2 254 4600. 8:00 AM – 12PM. Luxurious restaurant with an expectacular view located in the 5 stars hotel “Hotel Quito”, international and
      Ecuadorian cuisine.
    • El Capuleto -Italian. Av. Eloy Alfaro y 6 de Diciembre. You can enjoy a fine italian meal in a quiet space… but just in the middle of the city. The home made pizza and the capuccino are excelent.
    • Tibidabo – International cuisine. Moderate. Attentive service in a comfortable, unpretentious atmosphere. General Salazar 934 y 12 de Octubre. Tel. 593-2 223-7334. Hours: M – F 12:30 – 4 and 6:30 – 11; Sat 6:30 – 11; Sunday closed. Reservations recommended.
    • Restaurante Las Redes – Seafood. Moderate. Popular with the locals; well known for ceviche. Amazonas 845. Tel. 252 5697.
    • Ille de France – French. Expensive and excellent. Formal attire. Reina Victoria 1747. Tel. 255 3292. Hours: Daily 7 – 11.
    • El Nispero, Valladoli N24-438 y Cordero, tel. 222 6398. Fine Ecuadorian cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Moderate. Business casual. Hours: Tues – Sat 12 – 4 and 7 – 11; Sun – Mon 12 – 4. Reservations recommended.
    • Cebiches de la Rumiñahui Ceviches are its specialty. Reasonable prices for excellent cebiche. Popular with locals. Real Audiencia N59-121 La Mariscal. Also in the food courts of “Quicentro Shopping” Mall, “San Marino Shopping” Mall and “El Recreo” Mall.
    • Restaurante Vegetariano- Salinas, near the intersection with Riofrio. Vegetarian almuerzos for $2. Juice, soups, snacks, soya milk, vegy steaks etc. Good vegy food, in a very clean environment. They also sell powdered soya milk, and a few dietary supplements.
    • Restaurante Vegetariano- Av Mariania de Jesus, down the hill from the juction with Hungaria. Chinese type veggie food. Complete Almuerzos with brown rice $2.50, or get seperate elements: soup 70c, main $1.80, and Great Juices 50c or 70c. Pearl tea $1.20 or $1.50. Soy milk 80c. Chaumien, Chaulafan, Chop Suey all $2.50.
    • Pide Pizza – Reina Victoria, entre Wilson y Baquedano, a nice chill place to eat cheap and delicious pizza. Slices start at 1$. Also host nightly events.
    • Mongos, Mongolian Grill. Calama 469 y Juan Leon Mera, in the heart of trendy gringolandia new town. All your can eat buffets (vegetarian $3.99, with meats $5.99. Includes salad or soup entre, and one free drink. Great quality meat.
    • Mulligan’s, Calama E5-44 y Juan Leon Mera (La Mariscal), ☎ 223-6844. Need a break from all the new tastes, get a taste and comfort from home. This American style Sports Bar has great food and you can watch all your favorite sports on TV.
    • Mea Culpa (Restaurant), Chile y Venezuela (Palacio Arzobispal) (Plaza Grande. Second floor.), ☎ (593 2) 2951 190 2950 392. Among the best restaurants in town. Great service and food, taste the crepes de pangora (stone crab). Dishes are small, get an entry. Nice view of the plaza from some tables. Dress Code: Semi Formal. E-Mail: reservaciones@meaculpa.com.ec $$$.
    • Uncle Ho’s, E8-40 Jose Calama y Diego de Almagro (2 Blocks from Plaza Foch), ☎ 02 5114030. Mon – Sat, Midday til 11pm. Great fresh Asian food (Vietnamese & Thai) in funky surroundings with friendly service. Excellent Martinis & drink specials. Prices – Appetizers $3-4, Mains $7-10. Tofu & Veggie options, Local Ecuadorian Specialities. $7 – $10.
    • Achiote, Juan Rodriguez 282 y Reina Victoria (La Mariscal), ☎ 593022501743. Traditional Ecuadorian cuisine with a gourmet twist!
    • Cafe Mosaico, Manuel Samaniego 895. Great Ecuadoran food with live music in the center of town. Prices are around $15 per person for dinner, including a drink. $$. Techo del Mundo
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    There are several Ecuadorian brands of beer, but the most prevalent throughout the country is Pilsener. However if you are looking for a better quality beer the “Club” in the green bottle is recommended. There are also some alcoholic drinks which can only be found in Quito like Mistelas. Pitchers of “Vino caliente” and “Canelazo” are popular and recommended.

    On weekend evenings, La Ronda (Morales & Guayaquil) comes alive. Full of street food stands, buskers, bars, restaurants with live music, the street is packed with locals (and a few tourists) of all classes.

    • Sport Planet, Av. America y Naciones Unidas, ☎ 593 2 267 790. Located on the 3rd floor of “Plaza de las Americas”. Is the Ecuadorian version of Hollywood Planet. The night sky of northen Quito is incredible and the food is great.
    • Turtle’s Head, La Niña 626 y Amazonas, ☎ 593-2-256-5544. An english pub style bar that often has live music in the later hours. They have their own brews along with other popular beers. They also have pool tables, foosball, darts etc. As of June 2010 Turtle’s Head is also open in the nearby valley of Cumbaya, located in the main plaza across from the church. Best place for hamburgers and beer. Best close to Plaza Foch
    • Grima, Luis Cordero E12-141 y Av. Toledo, ☎ (02) 223-0846. A great place for good drinks at a very reasonable price. D.J. & the best electronic & rock music in Quito. In the lower level of Grima is a fantastic art gallery featuring local artists. Free Wi-Fi is available to patrons – Open Six Days a Week – Closed on Mondays
    • Cherusker, Joaquin Pinto y Diego de Almagro (vis-a-vis to Finn McCools), ☎ (593)02-6008895. 3 pm-late. New German-run Brew-Pub with excellent beer, from Hefeweizen (blond wheat beer) to Stout. Offers mostly german food, such as sausages, schnitzel, potato salad and tasty Hamburgers. Has live sports on a big screen (HD), a beautiful garden and foosball. Wednesday Reggae Night, Thursday Classic and modern Rock. Packed on Fridays.
    • Q bar+restaurant+lounge, Plaza Foch, La Mariscal, ☎ [+593 2] 255 7840. A very elegant lounge style bar. It’s located on Foch Plaza so you have access to an even wider options nearby.
    • Sutra, J Calama 380, Mariscal Sucre. A great place to have some drinks and have a chat, or just to pass the time. Is just above “no bar”
    • El pobre Diablo, Isabel La Católica E12-06 y Galavis esq. La Floresta, ☎ telef: (593) 02 2235194 / 2225397 / 099216290. Is one of the oldest cafe-bars in Quito. Almost every week there are some kind of cultural activity or a live concert. Not the cheapest place around, but well worth the extra cash.
    • The Magic Bean, Foch # 681 E5-08 y Juan Leon Mera, ☎ 03 593 2 2566 181. a good menu, excellent quality and big portions, a good “backpacker” vibe to the restaurant and english speaking staff, good juices, the only down sides are that it´s a bit pricey, and the service can be very slow.
    • Zazu, Mariano Aguilera 331 & La Pradera, ☎ [593 2] 254 3559. Upscale restarant well worth the visit. Urban chic meets Quito, and the result is a very comfortable setting with outstanding cuisine and top notch service. Great wine list too. Located near the JW Marriott. $$$.
    • Finn Mc Cool’s, Corner of Diego de Almagro y Joaquin Pinto. La Mariscal (1 block from Plaza Foch), ☎ +593 2 2521780. 11am – Late. Your local away from home. Cozy Irish pub with friendly atmosphere, loads of Live sports, free pool and foosball, draft beer and good pub food all day. Poker Monday, Table Quiz Tuesday and good craic every night of the week. Get in before 4 on Sundays!
    • República del Cacao, corner of Reina Victoria y J. Pinto. A nice place to have a cup of delicious hot chocolate. They also offer coffee, cookies and souvenirs (e.g. chocolate and cool t-shirts).

    Dance Clubs

    • La Mariscal offers tons of places for dancing or just drinks. There are too many to list here, but here is a handful to get you started.
    • Varadero – Reina Victoria 1751 and La Pinta; Small, local and super sweaty, this bar-restaurant packs in the crowds for high-energy live Cuban music. Small cover to get in and drinks are moderately expensive.
    • Blooms – Walking distance from Reina Victoria. It’s more of beer pub than anything else, a nice place to start the night.
    • Bungalow 6 – Located at Calama street – Place for “gringos” to mingle with the locals. It’s an overall fun place to go – Wednesdays Ladies Night are the best day to go, definitley.
    • No Bar – One of the oldest places in Quito. Located at Calama steet and Juan Leon Mera.
    • Outside of La Mariscal are other clubs that are more famous among locals.
    • Discoteca SEVEN Av.Republica – a popular late night electronica/rock club.
    • Strawberry Fields Forever Calama y Juan Leon Mera – a unique Beatle Bar in the heart of La Mariscal/rock and roll and more. This bar is located a very close walk to the Plaza Foch, where you can find many night spots, and places to eat.


    Check out the Guapulo area of Quito, its a winding steep area with several great bars and cafés with a real bohemian feel. The view in Guapulo is very nice and there are many places with the view of Cumbaya.

    Theater/Cinema/Comedy Clubs

    There are a variety of great places for theatre aficionados. Most local colleges (Universidad Central, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Politécnica Nacional, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, etc) also have their own theater spaces, which host regular presentations and screenings.

    • Teatro Sucre One of the most reknowned theatre spaces in Quito. Regularly holds productions as well as concerts from leading international artists. Located in the Old City.
    • Teatro Variedades Ernesto Alban Located right next to Teatro Sucre (on the other side of the corner), it is of more intimate nature. Holds concerts, solo performances, dance events, comedy shows and much more.
    • Teatro Mexico Located really close to the main railway station in the Chimbacalle neighborhood in the Southern district of the city. It regularly holds concerts and plays, as well as weekly alternative cinema.
    • Ocho y Medio Quito’s premiere destination to see ecuador and international independent films, located in Valladolid N24-353 y Vizcaya, in La Floresta neighborhood in northern Quito. Has a nice coffeeshop called “La Cafetina”, which also hosts concerts and weekly events. One of the most frequented destinations for Quito’s cultural elite.
    • Casa Mala Yerba One of the best contemporary independent theatre companies in South America, with regular performances. Located in Sodiro 345 y Av. 6 de Diciembre, right beside Parque La Alameda, in the Plazoleta of Iglesia del Belen.
    • Patio de Comedias A popular classic theatre / comedy venue located in 18 de Septiembre E4-26 entre 9 de Octubre y Av. Amazonas, just one block north of Parque El Ejido. Holds shows Wednesday to Saturday.
    • Viva La Vida – A Comedy Club found behind Swissotel at Isabel La Catolica N24-561, between Luis Cordero & Francisco Salazar. It holds regular comedy shows Wednesday to Saturday, and Special shows for tourists Sunday to Tuesday.
    • El Teatro del CCI This theatre is unique in this list as it’s located inside the popular mall (Centro Comercial Iñaquito, located in Amazons & Naciones Unidas). None the less, it has frequent programming of comedians and theatrical plays and monologues by some of Ecuador’s most recognized actors.

    La Ronda

    The most popular area for drinking, food and nightlife in the Historic Center of Quito. It is a pedestrian street that goes for several blocks, right beside the newly renovated 24 de Mayo Plaza. Live music, restaurants and street performers, as well as local artesanal stores and galleries are present. The whole area is frequented by locals as much as tourists, and is a good place to enjoy a canelazo rather than partying – most places close at 1 or 2 am.

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    There are dozens of hostels and hotels in town to accommodate all the visitors. Most people stay in the new town, which is closer to the nightlife.


    • Hostal Marsella, Ríos N-12-139 (2035) y Espinoza (Alameda), (hostalmarsella@hotmail.com). Located between New and Old Quito, just up the hill from Parque Alameda. Plenty of clean rooms with sitting areas both inside and under a new glassed-in ceiling on the rooftop (with views of the Basilica and the Panacillo/Angel.) Hot water, free wi-fi internet in the common areas, laundry service, large breakfasts ($2-$3). Door is locked 24/7 for security and the very friendly owners and staff are happy to help with directions, calling cabs, etc. Great spot away from (but within walking distance of) the much more touristy Mariscal Sucre. $7 per person with shared bath, $10 private.
    • Backpackers Inn, Juan Rodriguez E7-48 y Reina Victoria, La Mariscal, (info@backpackersinn.net). checkout: noon. Centrally and very quietly located in the heart of La Mariscal District. The rooms and bathrooms are very clean. Good kitchen for joint use, Free Internet and WiFi. Check-in and entrance available 24 hours. Big, comfy common rooms filled with fun things and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Parking space available at no charge. $7.50/$8.50 per night in dorm, $23/$26 double, $28/$33 triple with shared/private bathroom (2014).
    • Casa Helbling, General Veintimilla 531 y 6 de Diciembre, La Mariscal, ☎ 02 222 6013 (casahelbling@yahoo.de). An old, but well preserved, large mansion where every room is different. All are very simple and some are nicer than the others. Most are shared bathrooms and sometimes it can take a little bit longer until a Bath is free (they have 3). Also, depends on people, it can get noisy, the doors and wall are old. Full kitchen available for use; nice courtyards, roof decks, and outdoor spaces. Breakfast and laundry available, but a little bit expensive. Laundry is 3.50 for one load. Anyway there are cheap Laundry Services around (1USD per 1Kilo). German and English spoken. Free wifi and a computer for use. Friendly, relaxed staff. Quiet and tranquil, perfect for those over 30 who want to be in La Mariscal. Nice hostel but unfortuntately no Discount for Longstay! Single $16, double $28, dorm $8, breakfast ~$3-7.
    • Aleida’s Hostal, 559 Andalucía St., ☎ 02 223 4570. Aleida’s Hostal is a laid back family run hotel just a block away from La Floresta’s big 5 star hotels. The building is a beautifully restored three story house built in the 1950s with friendly staff and a sunny courtyard in the front. Spanish and English are spoken and services include wireless internet, laundry, book exchange, and more. Rooms start at around $19 including breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. $19+.
    • La Casa Sol, Calama 127 (La Mariscal neighborhood. Near Av 6 de diciembre), ☎ 02 223 0798. checkin: Noon; checkout: Noon. A colorful, homey hostel in the best part of the neighborhood, close to shopping, nightlife and entertainment. Great amenities: cafe and international library, and a beautiful antique house. Nice breakfast in a sunny restaurant. Walking distance to s ‘Metro Bus’ station. $20.
    • El Cafecito, Cordero 1124, La Mariscal, ☎ 02 223 4862. Good price but not so clean location. Located in the Mariscal, short walk to bars, restaurants, it’s so close that you hear the noise. The hostel has 6 rooms. Restaurant with vegan options, food a bit too expensive and not worth the money. Breakfast with free refills on coffee. $7.84 for dorm, $16.80 double with shared bath, $25 double with private bath plus tax (2014).
    • La Casona de Mario, Andalucia 213 y Galicia, La Floresta, ☎ 02 254 4036. Single double and triple room. All rooms have shared bathrooms and there is a set price of $12.00 per person per night
    • El Centro Del Mundo, Lizardo García E7-26 Between Diego Almagro y Reina Victoria Quito, ☎ 02 222 9050. Has affordable rooms, a trilingual owner Pierre, and is a great spot for backpackers. Television room and free rum and coke nights three times a week. Food is also available. Showers aren’t very hot though. $5.60.
    • Hostal Belmont, ☎ 02 295 6235. Anteparra N-413, rooftop kitchen and terrace with great views over the city, TV room with DVDs and SNES, free use of washing machines, free internet, friendly family run place, 2 mins from Itchimbia park – more great views. $6 per person per night. Rooms with private bathrooms can feel a bit cramped, while the rooms with shared bathrooms have more space and air.
    • Magic Bean Hostal, Foch No 681 (E5-08) y Juan Leon Mera Small hostel over the restaurant, ☎ 02 256 6181. One large room sleeps 3 with private bath ($40 plus taxes) the other accommodation in a Dorm style room. Friendly staff and an excellent breakfast, but its a very noisy area.
    • Hostal Santiago, Calle Montufar N 1055 y Vergel. checkout: noon. Located in Old town close to the Plaza del Teatro, Central Market and a 10 minute walk from the Plaza Grande. Rooms are huge with very clean bathrooms, hot water and great WiFi. Check-in and entrance available 24 hours. Very friendly staff, and overall a great find for travellers on a budget. $5 per night in a shared room , $10 double private bathroom (2014).


    • Quito Airport Suites, 971 Alfonso Tobar y Tulio Garzon. $49 for a single or matrimonial room. 5 minutes from the new airport UIO in Tababela, WIFI, hot water, 24 reception and airport pick up and drop offs available.
    • Hotel Sierra Nevada, Joaquin Pinto 150-E4 y Cordero, la Mariscal, ☎ +593.2.2553658 (info@hotelsierranevada.com, fax: +593.2.2554936). checkin: 24h; checkout: 2:00 PM. The hotel (founded in 1997) is located in a charming old townhouse right off the famous Avenida Amazonas. It has 19 rooms and offers free breakfast. They offer airport pick-ups. Single $35.50; double $52.00; triple $68.00; quadruple $79.00.
    • Hostal la Rabida, La Rabida 227 y Santa Maria, Tel. (5932) 222-1720. Rates range from $46-$70 a day. There is also a very good restaurant on the premises. Friendly staff.
    • Hotel Sierra Madre, Av Veintemilia # 464 y Luis Tamayo, ☎ 2224 950. A good mid range place, comfortable beds, quiet rooms, close to La Mariscal (2 minutes) but much quieter. Breakfast expensive, just walk into town $60.78.
    • Travellers Inn (2800 meters), La Pinta E4-435 y Av. Amazonas, La Mariscal. (2 blocks south of the Marriott hotel), ☎ +59322546455 (info@TravellersEcuador.com). checkin: 24h; checkout: 12:00. This is an old mansion from the beginnings of the 20th century, nicely decorated. It has a mini-bar, guest kitchen, travel agency inside and extremely friendly and helpful English speaking staff. It has yards all around the house and wireless Internet to all the building (2 computers with Internet conection as well). Included breakfast here is awesome: coffee (real coffee), tea, milk, fresh juice, 3 types of fruits, bread, cheese, 2 eggs, butter, marmalade, etc. There is a laundry service, spanish lessons, book exchange, free maps, bike rental, lugagge storage, etc. A nice TV room with a huge collection of movies. There are rooms with shared bathroom from 11 dollars per person, and rooms with private bathroom from 15 dollars per person. $11-$25.


    • JW Marriott Hotel Quito, Av. Orellana 1172 y Av. Amazonas, Phone: +593 2 2972000 Luxury hotel, offers spacious and luxurious rooms, along with first-class meeting facilities, a outdoor pool and garden, full-service SPA and outstanding restaurants.
    • Hotel Quito, Av. González Suárez N27 142, Phone: (593)2 254 4600 This hotel offers the following services: Restaurant, Room service, Wifi, Swimming pool, Garden spa and fitness, Business Center, Shops, Parking, Wet and dry cleaning, Nanny Service.
    Between the Old and New Town


    • L’Auberge Inn, Av. Gran Colombia 1138 y Yaguachi, ☎ (593) 2 2 552 912 (reservation@auberge-inn-hostal.com, fax: (593) 2 2 569 886). Nice place to make your base for your time in Quito. Clean but basic rooms, internet in-house and a big cheap breakfast. There is also a Swiss restaurant directly below.
    • Chicago Hostel Inn, Los Rios # 1730 y Briceño, ☎ (593)(2)2281695 (chicagohostel_ecuador@hotmail.com). checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 11 am. Our hostel is conveniently located near all major public transportation, inside a traditional neighborhood of Quito called San Blas. Our hostel is located to 8 minutes away to the Main Square in the Old Town and 20 minutes away to the night life (walking distances). We offer you private rooms with private and shared bathrooms and besides a mixed dorm room ensuite, internet, WIFI, housekeeping everyday, mailbox service, an amazing view point of Quito from our covered top terrace, luggage storage, security lockers, exchange books, bar, breakfast served at the top terrace, Spanish Classes, travel agency “TradeTouring S.A.” (http://www.tradetouring.webs.com/)
    Old Town


    • The Secret Garden, Calle Antepara E4-60 y Los Rios, San Blas, (593)2956 704 or (593)3160 949. Offers a roof terrace with a great view and herbs grown by the volunteer staff. Moreover there is a jaw dropping and wonderful view of the older section of Quito. Has a great in-house travel agency Carpedm Adventures ( http://www.carpedm.ca ) to help sort out Galapagos, Amazon & more. There are fires nightly and the staff cooks three course meals every night, the hostel also offers breakfast for $2,80.
    • Hotel Huasi Continental (Close to the crossing of Flores and Sucre.), Calle Flores 308 (email: info@hotelhuasi.com), ☎ +593 2 2957 327/+593 2 2956 535. Nice and clean hotel in the old town with helpful staff. Note that some of the rooms facing the street can be a bit noisy. Singles from $10.
    • Community Hostel (Four blocks from Plaza Grande.), N6-78 Pedro Fermin Cevallos and Olmedo (email: communityhostel@gmail.com), ☎ +011-593-59049658. A newly opened hostel in the historic district of Quito’s Old Town. With a friendly Staff and very clean environment. They offer an absolutely delicious breakfast for $2.50 and dinners for $5. There travel agency is called Community Adventures for any travel needs email them to communityadventures.ec@gmail.com. D/$10,S/30.


    • Hotel Real Audiencia, Bolivar Oe3-18 y Guayaquil, ☎ +593 2 2950590. checkin: 14h00; checkout: 12h00. A three story building located in the Old town, close to most of tourist attractions. Comfortable rooms with wonderful views of Plaza Santo Domingo and Panecillo. singles$58.00 doubles $80.00.
    • Hotel San Francisco de Quito, Sucre 217 y Guayaquil (Walk north-east from Santo Domingo Trole station to Sucre, turn left, hotel is on your left. If taking a cab, walk to a nearby street…cabs in front of the hotel will refuse to use their meter.), ☎ +593 2 2951 241/+593 2 2287 758. A lovely, comfortable, converted estate house offering excellent value. Price includes a basic breakfast, which can be upgraded for a price. Some rooms on the courtyard and street are a bit noisy. There are no windows in most rooms. The restaurant also serves excellent dinners, priced in line with other a-la-carte restaurants. singles/doubles $23/$42.


    • A number of boutique hotels have opened recently in the Old Town. These include the five-star Hotel Plaza Grande, Villa Colonna, El Relicario del Carmen and the longest-established: Patio Andaluz.
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    Stay safe


    As in every big city tourists should take special care in certain areas. Generally at night, it is not recommended to walk around alone.

    • Do not travel up El Panecillo on foot; use a taxi even during the day. Not only is the neighborhood bad, but the road leading up the hill has very narrow sidewalks, and sometimes no sidewalks at all. This presents a risk of being, at best, overwhelmed with diesel fumes as buses chub by, at worst, getting run over.
    • At night, much of the main plazas of the Old Town are patrolled by police and well-lit, so it is fine for a stroll in a group at night. During the day, it is perfectly fine, bustling with locals, shopkeepers, hawkers and tourists, and well patrolled by police, especially at the main tourist attractions. Nevertheless, pickpocketing and purse snatching can be a problem, so take normal precautions. The plaza and doors of the San Francisco church, and the main trolley station near Plaza Domingo are particularly notorious areas for this. Pickpocketing is done by highly skilled groups of 3 or 4 people. You’re best off not bringing a wallet at all–just some bills split between various pockets. Also, watch out for the buses and trollies while in old town. On many streets, sidewalks can be very narrow, so it is best to pay attention at all times so you can flatten against the wall and cover your face (diesel fumes!) if you need to let one pass, especially when the sidewalk is crowded.
    • Parks among other areas can be unsafe at night so taxis are advised for even short distances. You should always book these by phone from a reputable company – so called ‘express kidnappings’ from hailed taxis are on the increase and hailing a taxi at night puts you at risk. Keep your belongings as close and as secure as possible, and if you feel in danger, duck into a bar or shop, and then call a taxi. Beware of credit card fraud, which is an increasingly serious problem in Quito as tourists are being targeted in the Mariscal area.
    • The area near Hospital Militar is quite dangerous, even in the late morning. The road “Solano” where Casa Bambu Hostel is situated is especially dangerous. Armed robberies have become more common. Men have been known to jump out of cars to target and physically threaten foreigners in order to steal their belongings. Although its views are amazing, exercise caution when walking to and from your accommodation. Taxis travel up and down this road frequently so if you can spare $1.50 to get into Mariscal Sucre Avenue, do so. Parks nearby are also dangerous. Perhaps walk around the parks instead of going through them.

    Con artists

    The main bus station is an area known to target travelers (foreigners or locals alike). You need to watch your bags closely, before departure, during departure, even once on the bus. It is best not even to put your luggage in the overhead shelving or under your own seat, as you can be easily distracted and have all your key possessions stolen before realizing it. Unfortunately you need to watch your bags on top of, or under the bus, at every stop until you arrive at your destination. There are two important sorts of scams that you may encounter on buses:

    • One common one scam involves a thief impersonating bus staff (this can be easy because those of many companies have no uniforms) who will direct you to a seat and finding some excuse to ask you to put your bag in the overhead compartment or directly under your own seat where you cannot see it; an accomplice seated directly behind you will then slash open your bag and steal the belongings. Having the bag between your legs is not safe either as children are commonly used to climb down under the seat (from behind you), slash the bag, and remove belongings without you ever feeling a thing. Always have your bag on your lap.
    • Another scam will often have an accomplice who will provide a distraction such as pretending to sell sweets before spilling them all over you, giving their friend the chance to steal your belongings. This can’t be emphasised enough: never let your belongings out of sight. If something suspicious is happening like this on a bus, just refuse to co-operate and hold your belongings close to you. Robberies of this kind are common, particularly on buses leaving Quito. It is worth considering paying $3 or $4 more for a trip on a more high-class bus as these often have additional security measures, which can prevent robberies of tourists and locals alike. On city buses, it is best to not bring a backpack. If you absolutely have to bring one, wear it on your chest, not your back.
    • Another scam is someone spraying some mustard on your clothing. An accomplice will then say it’s bird droppings and try to help clean your clothing but they will ask you to remove your camera or set your bag down. At this point, another accomplice will swoop in and take your belongings.

    Finally, several neighborhoods located to the very north and south of the city are infamous among locals for having gang/delinquent trouble. “La Ferroviaria” to the south and “La Bota” to the north are specially notorious.

    Wearing “gringo” clothes (fishing vests, travelers pants, bright colored t-shirts, dirty sandals) will make you a target. Ecuadorians in Quito generally dress conservatively; a pair of nice black pants or dark jeans and a non-descript white/off-white t-shirt will make you look a business person who knows his way around and not just another tourist posing as a Haight-Ashbury hippie.

    Travelers in Quito are likely to be approached at some point or another by con artists, locals saying they are lost and need directions, or persons with “sob stories”. Ignore such persons and be wary of anyone asking for money under any pretext, including begging children. If you feel charitable, Ecuador has lots of legitimate charities you can support, like the Red Cross.

    If you have had something stolen from you, try taking a look in “Centro Commercial Montufar” (next to Terminal Marin on the Ecovia Red line), which is where many stolen items are sold on the blackmarket. Wise travellers will have their equipment serial numbers written down for safekeeping, which will help prove that the items are indeed yours. Quito police can assist in retrieving stolen items. Do not try to go alone, always have someone with you.


    Avoid associating at all with the drug trade in Ecuador. Ecuador has strict laws against possession, transportation and use of illegal drugs and foreigners caught transporting drugs at the airports have been sentenced to long prison terms. Unfortunately, any foreigner with a “alternative” or “hippie” appearance (such as men with long hair) may be assumed by some Ecuadorians to be looking for drugs. If you are approached about drugs in any context, it safe to assume the person approaching you is up to no good.

    One exception is use of entheogens by indigenous people. Interest in ayahuasca is prompting increasing numbers of Americans and Europeans to travel to South America in order to partake in traditional ceremonies, and Ecuador is one such place. It is advisable to plan such a trip with a reliable guide before you travel there.


    All Ecuadorian citizens and visitors are required to carry ID at all times. If your stay in Ecuador is for a few months or longer, sooner or later, you will encounter a roadside police check and be requested to show ID. You can show your passport; however, carrying your passport around all the time is not advised due to the risk of loss or theft. A better option is to have a copy of your passport certified by your embassy and carry that. Students and long-term residents will be issued an Ecuadorian “censo” card that can also be carried in place of a passport for ID purposes.

    If you are the victim of a crime it is suggested you report it to the Ecuadorian National Police (by law, you must report within 72 hours of the incident), as well as to your home country embassy and to the South American Explorers Club.

    In 2009, two Visitor Safety Service offices were opened or revamped. Their job is to help with filling out forms, embassies and passports, etc. They have two vehicles for further assistance. Some staff speak English or other languages:

    Corner of Roca y Reina Victoria, Edif. Relaciones Exteriores (Pasaportes) Opening Times: 24 hours, 7 days a week. Tel: (+593 2) 254-3983 ssturistica98@yahoo.com Be prepared to offer English lessons as a “bribe.”

    Historic Centre Plaza Grande (north side of the square on calle Chile, between Venezuela and García Moreno), Edif. Casa de los Alcaldes. Opening Times: 24 hours, 7 days a week. Tel: (+593 2) 295-5785 This office is known for its slow responses to crimes that are taking place; it is not uncommon to see locals yelling at these officers for not doing their jobs.

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    A good place to start is the Quito Visitors’ Bureau. It has several information centres around the city. These include at the International and Domestic Arrivals terminals at the airport; the Parque Gabriela Mistral in the Mariscal District (just north of Plaza Foch); the Banco Central Museum in the Masiscal District; and finally, in the Old Town, on the ground floor of the Palacio Municipal on one side of Plaza Grande – their main centre.

    The main centre includes helpful English-speaking staff, lockers for leaving bags, maps, leaflets and books for sale, a store of Ecuadorian crafts. This centre also offers free guided tours of the Old Town, where visitors only pay the admission fees to sights. The contacts for the main office are: (+593 2) 2570 – 786 / 2586 – 591, info@quito-turismo.com.

    The main iTur (national tourist information offices) is located in northern Quito, close to La Carolina park and El Jardin malls, to one side of the Ministry of Tourism, Av. Eloy Alfaro y Carlos Tobar.

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    • Argentina, Av. Amazonas y Roca, ☎ +593-2-2501-106.
    • Belgium, Republica y Nacioned Unidas, ☎ +593-2-2467-851.
    • Bolivia, Eloy Alfaro y Fernyo Ayarza, ☎ +593-2-2446-652.
    • Brazil, Av. Amazonas 1429 y Av. Col, ☎ +593-2-2563-142 +593-2-2563-141 +593-2-2563-086 (ebrasil@uio.satnet.net).
    • Canada, Av. Amazonas 4153 and Unión Nacional de Periodistas ((one block north of the Supreme Court Building, near Amazonas and United Nations)), ☎ +593-2-2506-162.
    • China, Ave Atahualpa 349 and Ave Amazonas, ☎ +593 2-2444362 (embchina@uio.telconet.net, fax: +593 2-2444364).
    • Chile, Juan Pablo Sanez y Ave Amazonas, ☎ +593-2-2249-403.
    • Colombia, Ave Colon Sanez y Ave Amazonas, ☎ +593-2-2222-486.
    • Costa Rica, Rumipamba y Ave Amazonas, ☎ +593-2-2456-946.
    • Cuba, El Murcerio y El Vengador, ☎ +593-2-2222-486.
    • Denmark, Republica y Portugal, ☎ +593-2-2437-163.
    • Egypt, Avenida Tarqui E 4-56 Y 6 de Diciembre , Quito, ☎ +593 22509501 (embassy.quito@mfa.gov.eg, fax: +593 22563521).
    • Greece, Urb. Chiriboga 10ma transversal No. 109, entre Av. San Luis y Av. Del Progresso San Rafael, ☎ +593 2-2865848 (consul@consulado-grecia.org, fax: +593 2-2868801).
    • Japan, Ave Amazonas N39-123 and Calle Arizaga, Edf. Amazonas Plaza, Piso 11, ☎ +593 02 2278-700 (fax: +593 02 2449-399).
    • Russia, Calle Reina Victoria 462 y Roca, ☎ +593 02 252-63-61 (embrusia_ecuador@mail.ru). mo-th 8.00-13.00 15.00-17.00 fr 8.00-15.45.
    • Spain, Calle Francisco Salazar E12-73 entre Isabel La Católica y Toledo, ☎ +593 2 3226296 (emb.quito@maec.es, fax: +593 23227805). Mon-Fri, 8:00-15:30.
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Citiplaza Building, Naciones Unidas Avenue and República de El Salvador, 14th Floor (Consular Section 12th floor), ☎ +593) 02 2970 800 / 801.
    • United States of America, Ave Avigiras E12-170 y Ave. Eloy Alfaro (next to SOLCA), ☎ +593 02 398-5000 (contacto.usembuio@state.gov).
    • Turkey, Avenida Portugal E12-33 y Francisco Casanova esquina, ☎ +593 2 333 17 42 +593 2 333 11 55 (embassy.quito@mfa.gov.tr, fax: +59322247677). Mon-Fri (09:00 -13:00 )(13:30 -17:00 ).
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    Get out

    Quito is surrounded by a variety of places that could interest all kinds of tourists. A couple of hours on a bus ride is all it takes to reach them:

    • To the North, all tourists should visit the province of Imbabura, which has beautiful lakes such as Yaguarcocha and San Pablo. Hikers and mountain climbers can also ask for adventures in Cayambe National Park, home of the 3rd largest volcano in Ecuador. It’s inactive. For tourists who want to shop a bit, they should take notice of the town of Otavalo; its indian market is famous worldwide for the quality and variety of products on sale. Don’t forget to haggle for your preferred price!
    • 80 km to the north of Quito can be found the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve and Ecolodge, the closet pristine rainforest to Quito. This 6000 hectare (15,000 acre) reserve is home to 400+ species of birds, 50+ of mammals (including the famous Spectacled Bear), and 2000+ of plants, a spectacular display of Ecuador’s biodiversity. Accommodation on site is possible.
    • To the North West of Quito lies the region of Mindo, a subtropical rainforest paradise, full of rivers, majestic waterfalls, unique wildlife and more. The region is home to a variety of animal wildlife sanctuaries, and is famous locally and internationally because of its beauty. At a slightly higher altitude to Mindo is the Cloudforest. The variety of plants, birds and butterflies is wonderful. The guides carry good quality binoculars to help you spot some of the many varieties of birds. After each guided walk you can return to the lodge for meals. Near the main buildings there are many hummingbird feeders which attract many of the energetic and luminous birds. Accommodation is simple but very clean and pleasant with balconies from which you get beautiful views into the forest. You can visit the butterfly and humming bird farm too for about $3. The staff will show you around and explain to you in Spanish the life cycle of the butterflies (very worthwhile!) Landslides are known to occur on the roads to and from Mindo. Traffic can be held up for hours if this occurs. Trout (trucha in Spanish) is a specialty of Mindo and a dish of this should cost around $6. To get to Mindo from Quito, catch a taxi to Ofelia bus station ($5-6) and at the North bus terminal buy a ticket to Mindo for $2.50. The frequency of these buses differs between weekdays and weekends and travel guide times may be out of date. The earliest bus on a weekday is at 8am (13th April 2010). The bus trip is around 2 hours in length.
    • To the east, lies Papallacta which is a thermal water resort town. If you’re into spas and relaxation, dipping into one of the natural hotwater pools for a couple of hours is a no brainer. The trucha (trout) dishes that are served here are also exquisite (~ $5.00). Take a taxi to Cumbaya bus station (from Mariscal Sucre it should cost c. $8) and from there you can catch a bus ($2.50) to Papallacta. Just ask the buses that stop if they are going there. The bus will drop you in the centre of the town or on the main highway just a few minutes walk from the town (be sure to remind the driver to let you out!). You can get on the back of a Ute by hailing it (with wooden seats) for about 50 c per person to get to the hot springs. Entry into the hot springs is about $7.00. Be careful with your belongings here. You can hire lockers (50 c per locker plus a $5 deposit) but staff advise that you leave your expensive valuables behind the counter. The choice is up to you.
    • To the south, you can visit Cotopaxi National Park, Baños de Aguasanta which is another popular thermal water resort town, right beside Tungurahua Volcano.
    • To the west, just several short hours away lie the coastal provinces and their magnificent beaches. Buses to the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabi, Guayas and the rest of the coast depart from Quitumbe terminal in the South of the city.
    • By Train – There are trains to Latacunga from Thursdays to Sundays leaving at 08:00. The train makes a stop for breakfast and at Cotopaxi National Park. It arrives in Latacunga at 12:00 and heads back to Quito at 14:00, arriving there at 18:00. The price is $10 for the return trip. You can use it as an excursion from Quito or get off at Latacunga and travel on from there by bus.

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    The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, and is clearly one of the cities main tourist attractions. Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.

    Travel and tourism in Quito. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Quito Travel Guide.

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    Michel Piccaya


    As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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