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21 Best Things to Do in Quito, Ecuador In 2024


Most people fly into Quito, Ecuador, when traveling to the Galapagos and barely give it a second glance. It wasn’t long ago that people booking a Galapagos cruise skipped the city completely and only explored the tiny archipelago off the coast of South America, but luckily, things have changed.

Quito is a wonderful city to explore. There are so many things to do in Quito that it’s no wonder that it was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1978 (along with the Galapagos Islands). Thanks to its untouched cultural and historic center, it is the best-preserved old city in Latin America. If you are planning a visit to Ecuador, make sure to spend a few days in the capital city to enjoy its beautiful scenery, fascinating history, and welcoming culture.

About Quito, Ecuador

Top things to do in Quito Ecuador

Quito has many unique qualities besides being the capital of Ecuador. It is the second-highest capital city in the world, sitting at an altitude of 2850 meters and the closest capital city to the equator. Surrounded by 14 volcanoes, one of which is the only snowcapped location on the entire Equator, Quito’s stunning natural beauty will take your breath away. In our humble opinion, Quito is also one of the most beautiful cities on earth.

We visited Quito before and after our HX Hurtigruten Cruise to the Galapagos. Right now they are offering huge discounts up to 50% off for Galapagos Cruises and other destinations worldwide. See more details here.

Quito may be close to the Equator, but with its high altitude in the Andes mountains, it feels cool and comfortable year-round. Known as the city of Eternal Spring, Quito offers travelers a chance to immerse in the history and culture of South America while offering plenty of adventures in the mountains and jungle.

With its strategic location, Quito is the gateway to the Amazon rainforest, the cloud forests, and the Galápagos Islands, making it a hub for nature lovers and eco-tourists. So, are you ready to enjoy Quito, Ecuador?

We toured Quito with Metropolitan Tours, which has 7 decades of experience leading tours in Ecuador. Led by local guides, we experienced first hand knowledge about local life, culture, and cuisine.

Best Things to do in Quito, Ecuador

Fun things to do in Quito Ecuador

We have had the good fortune to visit Quito three times, and each time, we enjoy the city more than the last. In this guide, we will help you decide whether you should stop in for a day or two before or after your Latin America adventure or if you should stay in the city for a few days and make it a base to explore the surrounding area.

1. Tour the Historic Centre

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Historic Center

During our last trip to Quito, we stayed right in the heart of the city center overlooking Plaza de San Francisco. Being in the heart of all the action helped us to truly immerse in the city’s heartbeat. We started with a walking tour of Quito’s Old Town with our local guide from Metropolitan Tours, who took us through the historic center where we tasted local food and enjoyed the Old Town with its stunning colonial buildings, highlighting Plaza de la Independencia, La Compañía de Jesús (with its stunning gold-leaf interior), and the gothic Basílica del Voto Nacional.

2. Take a Free Walking Tour

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Walking Tour

If you want a guided tour but don’t want to splurge on a private guide, free walking tours are offered in the Old Town. You can choose from a Spanish or English local guide to take you through the historical center of Quito’s colorful streets and Colonial district.

The free walking tour is put on by GuruWalk, and you can visit the Presidential Palace, Plaza Grande, Plaza de San Francisco, and other top attractions in the city center. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and get acquainted with the city before exploring independently. Even though the tour is free, we recommend giving your guide a few dollars each for their time.

3. Plaza de San Francisco

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Plaza de San Francisco

The iconic Plaza de San Francisco is a pivotal site nestled in the heart of Ecuador’s capital. It is also where we had the privilege to stay at the opulent Casa Gangotena.

This sprawling square, framed by the majestic San Francisco Church and Convent, offers a deep dive into the architectural and cultural legacy of the city. It is at this square that you will also find the oldest market in Quito, Ecuador. We saw people lining up first thing in the morning to grab their fresh produce at the Saturday Market.

As one of the largest and oldest historical plazas in Quito, Plaza de San Francisco serves as a lively gathering spot where the past and present converge. Visitors can explore the impressive complex, marvel at the intricate art and religious artifacts inside, or simply soak up the bustling atmosphere, where locals and travelers alike mingle.

4. Convento Maria de Santiago

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Convento Maria de Santiago

Located at the same square, we had the chance to step into the serene and sacred grounds of Convento Maria de Santiago. This is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. This historic convent provides a unique glimpse into the spiritual and architectural heritage of Quito.

Visitors to Convento Maria de Santiago are greeted by an atmosphere of peace and reverence, with its beautifully preserved cloisters, stunning religious art, and intricately carved woodwork. A man played the pipe organ as we took in the beautiful architecture.

Visiting this convent promises a profound and introspective experience for those looking to explore Quito’s less-trodden paths. It’s a perfect spot for history buffs, art lovers, and spiritual seekers alike.

5. Casa Gangotena

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Casa Gangotina

Speaking of our accommodation, we overlooked the plaza from our luxurious room at Casa Gangotena. With two terraces overlooking the square, we had a bird’s eye view of all the hustle and bustle below.

It was amazing to be in the heart of Ecuador. Many tours stop at Casa Gantotena for lunch, but if you can spend a night or two, we highly recommend it.

The plaza is surrounded by quaint cafes and shops, offering the perfect opportunity to sample traditional Ecuadorian cuisine or pick up unique souvenirs.

Sunset at Casa Gangotena

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Sunset at Casa Gangotina

This may be a hotel, but it is also an attraction unto itself. Set in the former home of one of Quito’s richest families, this casa is like stepping back in time. Inside, there is a beautifully decorated courtyard that takes you back in time.

There is a rooftop bar at Casa Gangotena and this was the perfect place to go for sunset overlooking the Old City. Quito is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and to see it from above is spectacular.

If you can’t access the rooftop bar, consider visiting the chocolate factory next door. It, too, has a terrace overlooking the square.

Dinner at Casa Gangotina – Perfect Bite

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Dinner at Casa Gangotina

One of the best dinners we had in Ecuador was at Casa Gangotena. Each dish is a work of art, and the chef prepares the perfect bite. Serving staff bring out dishes and add sauces before your eyes. They then describe how best to eat them and mix the infusion of tastes together to create the perfect bite.

If you do go to Casa Gangotena for lunch or dinner, make sure to order one of their Fiesta Cocktails. These, too, are a work of art with cocktails inspired by the great festivals of Ecuador.

6. Relax at Plaza Grande – Independence Square

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Plaza Grande

When stepping into Plaza Grande, you will feel the heart of Quito, Ecuador. Also known as Plaza de la Independencia (or Independence Plaza), Plaza Grande is the bustling epicenter of Quito.

As the main square in the city’s historic center, this UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by iconic landmarks, including the Presidential Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Archbishop’s Palace.

The plaza is a living museum where centuries of Ecuadorian history come to life. Visitors can bask in the lively atmosphere, where political, social, and cultural events frequently unfold, or relax in one of the many nearby cafes to people-watch and soak up the local ambiance.

7. Changing of the Guards at Presidential Palace

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Presidential palace

When we last visited Quito, the Presidential Palace was closed to tourists due to the State of Emergency. That has now passed, and things should be back to normal. One of the top things to do in Quito is to experience a vibrant display of Ecuadorian tradition and patriotism with the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Presidential Palace.

This spectacular event takes place every Monday at 11:00 am in the historic Plaza Grande, drawing both locals and tourists to witness the precision and pomp of the guards as they perform their duties.

The ceremony is a unique opportunity to see Ecuador’s rich military traditions up close, complete with marching bands, horse-mounted cavalry, and perhaps even the chance to catch a glimpse of the President of Ecuador, who often appears on the palace balcony.

This free event is a must-see for anyone visiting Quito. Visitors are advised to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot, as the plaza fills quickly with spectators eager to partake in this weekly spectacle.

8. San Francisco Church

Best things to do in Quito EcuadorSan Francisco Church

San Francisco Church is one of the earliest religious structures established in the New World and lies just a short walk from the Plaza de la Independencia.

Visitors can enter the church free of charge, though donations are appreciated. Inside, you’ll be greeted by a rich display of Baroque art, including lavish gold altars, captivating religious paintings, and detailed wood carvings that reflect a harmonious blend of Spanish and indigenous influences.

The complex also houses a museum showcasing religious artifacts, a peaceful convent, and serene courtyards that provide a quiet retreat from the bustling city streets.

Other notable attractions are nearby, such as La Compañía de Jesús Church, known for its gold-laden interior, and the bustling La Ronda Street, where visitors can enjoy traditional Ecuadorian cuisine and crafts.

9. Church of the Order of Jesus – Jesuit Church

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Church of the order of Jesus

One of the most ornate churches in Quito is the Jesuit Church. Located in the old city, this church is decorated with gold. No photographs were allowed inside, but it is worth witnessing its beautiful Baroque architecture.

Nestled in the heart of Quito’s bustling historic center, you will be blown away by its breathtaking interior, adorned with lavish gold leaf, intricate wood carvings, and vibrant paintings.

As one of Quito’s most impressive landmarks, the Jesuit Church offers visitors a unique glimpse into the religious and artistic traditions of Ecuador, making it an essential addition to any “best things to do in Quito” list. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply seeking to experience the beauty of Quito’s colonial past, the Church of the Order of Jesus promises an unforgettable experience that encapsulates the spirit and splendor of this UNESCO World Heritage city.

10. Calle de La Ronda

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Calle La Ronda

Take a stroll down Calle de La Ronda, a narrow street in the historic center lined with colonial buildings, art galleries, shops, and cafes.

This picturesque cobblestone lane offers visitors a taste of authentic Ecuadorian culture, with street performers and an array of artisanal shops offering handmade jewelry to colorful textiles, you’ll want to walk along this street.

The street is also home to some of Quito’s most delightful cafes and bars, where you can enjoy a cup of the country’s finest coffee or a refreshing canelazo, a traditional spiced fruit drink often shared amongst friends.

As the sun sets, Calle de La Ronda transforms into a vibrant hub of music and festivities. This is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the local nightlife and engage with friendly locals, making your visit truly unforgettable.

11. Chocolate Workshop

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Chocolate Workshop

Ecuador is known for its rich chocolate, and one of our best experiences in Quito was visiting Chez Tiff Artizinal, where we learned all about chocolate production and watched demonstrations about how these artisans make chocolate by hand.

The process was fascinating, but more importantly, we could sample dark chocolates, milk chocolates, and bonbons. Of course, we had to purchase some chocolate to take home, although it never made it on the plane. We dove into the rich and delicious treat that evening!

12. Quito El Panecillo

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Quito El Pancellio

One of the best views in Quito is at Quito el Panecillo. This is a beautiful lookout with the Winged Virgin Mary standing tall overhead. This is a great place to go for sunset or early in the morning.

Quito el Paneciloo means the Little Bread Roll. I didn’t understand what that meant until I was strolling in the city center and looked up to see the hill. It looks like a little bread roll rolling out over the city.

You can hike up to the top or take a tour. Either way, make sure to go to the top for a panoramic view of the beautiful city of Quito, Ecuador.

13. Cable Car to Pichincha Volcano

Things to do in Quito Cable Car to Pichincha Volcano

Take a Ride on the TelefériQo to experience one of South America’s highest aerial lifts. TelefériQo cable car to the slopes of Pichincha Volcano is one of the city’s most exhilarating attractions. Starting from the city’s edge, the cable car lifts you over stunning landscapes, providing a panoramic spectacle of Quito below and the Andean horizon beyond.

At the top, standing over 4,000 meters above sea level, visitors are treated to awe-inspiring views of the volcano and the opportunity to hike or simply soak in the natural beauty. The cost for this unforgettable experience is approximately $8.50 for adults, with reduced rates for children and seniors, making it an affordable must-do for tourists.

14. the Basilica del Voto Nacional

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Basilica Del Voto National

As the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas, this imposing structure is noteworthy for its stunning stained glass windows and detailed gargoyles representing Ecuadorian animals. Visitors can climb the towers for a panoramic view of the city, adding a unique adventure to the experience.

The basilica is not only an architectural marvel but also offers panoramic vistas of the city and the surrounding Andean landscape. The intricate gargoyles, inspired by Ecuadorian animals, add a unique touch to the building’s facade, making it a photographer’s delight.

15. Discover the Churches of Quito

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Churches

Dave and I always say that we become religious when traveling. It is because the churches of cities have so much history and beauty. Quito is famous for its beautiful and ornate churches.

We have already mentioned the gold-laden La Compañía de Jesús, one of the most stunning baroque churches in Latin America, and the Basilica del Voto Nacional, known for its gothic architecture. Let’s check out a few other churches that are worth visiting.

Catedral Metropolitana de Quito (Quito Cathedral): Located on the south side of Plaza de la Independencia, the Quito Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in South America.

Santo Domingo Church (Iglesia de Santo Domingo): This church stands out for its beautiful interior, highlighted by the ornate gold altarpiece and the ceiling’s Moorish design. It’s also home to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, showcasing exquisite wood carvings and paintings.

La Merced Church (Iglesia de La Merced): Known for its beautiful Baroque architecture and the iconic Virgin of Mercy painting, La Merced is steeped in history and religious tradition. The church also features an impressive bell tower and offers a tranquil respite from the bustling city.

El Sagrario Church (Iglesia El Sagrario): Adjacent to the Cathedral, El Sagrario is renowned for its beautiful Baroque façade and interior that houses significant religious art. It originally served as the Cathedral’s baptistery and has its own historical charm.

16. Central Market – Mercado Central

Things to do in Quito Central Market

Dive into the heart of Quito’s culinary scene at the bustling Mercado Central, a vibrant hub with no entrance fee. Visitors can wander through aisles brimming with exotic fruits, vegetables, fresh seafood, meats, and a wide array of local specialties.

Beyond the produce, the market is famed for its affordable and authentic food stalls, where you can indulge in traditional Ecuadorian dishes such as ceviche, locro de papa (potato soup), and hornado (roasted pork) for just a few dollars.

17. Taste Ecuadorian Cuisine

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Cuisine Food

If you want to indulge further in Ecuadorian Cuisine, Quito is a great place to explore Ecuadorian gastronomy. At markets and restaurants throughout the city, you can try local specialties like locro de papa (potato soup), empanadas, and ceviche.

One of the best places to eat is in San Augustin. This restaurant was so popular that they locked the doors and didn’t let anyone in until a table left.

Quito offers its own versions of food, such as Ceviche. This beloved seafood dish, made with fresh fish marinated in lime juice, onions, and cilantro, has its own Quito flair, feeling far heavier than the usually light-tasting ceviche. Dishes to try in Quito are Ceviche.

Locor de Papa is a hearty potato soup served with avocado, cheese, and hot sauce. Ajiaco is a soup that contains chicken, corn, potatoes, and a herb called guascas, offering a comforting and aromatic experience. It’s a hearty meal perfect for Quito’s cooler evenings.

We already mentioned Canelazo: While not a food, this traditional hot alcoholic beverage made with aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol), cinnamon, and naranjilla (a local fruit) juice is a must-try, especially in the cooler Andean climate.

18. Casa Del Alabado

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Casa Del Alabado

We spent a good chunk of our morning in the Casa del Alabado museum, one of the newest and best museums in Quito. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich pre-Columbian history of Ecuador, located in the heart of Quito’s historic center.

Housed in a beautifully restored 17th-century colonial building, just steps away from the iconic Plaza San Francisco, Casa Del Alabado offers visitors a unique glimpse into the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region.

With an impressive collection of over 5,000 archaeological pieces, including ceramics, textiles, and gold artifacts, the museum skillfully narrates the stories and beliefs of Ecuador’s indigenous cultures through its thoughtfully curated exhibits. The tranquil atmosphere, combined with the depth of the collection, makes Casa Del Alabado a fascinating destination for history buffs, art lovers, and anyone interested in understanding the roots of Ecuadorian heritage.

19. Visit Other City Museums

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Museums

Like many other cities in Latin America, Quito’s museums are fascinating, and you could spend days enjoying them. Ecuador’s capital is brimming with cultural treasures, and its museums are gateways to exploring the city’s rich history, art, and indigenous cultures.

Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum): Located in the historic Old Town, the Museo de la Ciudad occupies a former hospital building that dates back to the 16th century tracing Quito’s history, from its pre-Hispanic origins to the present day, highlighting the social, cultural, and urban development of the city.

Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man): This art museum is dedicated to the work of Oswaldo Guayasamín, Ecuador’s most renowned contemporary artist.

Museo Nacional del Ecuador (National Museum of Ecuador): As the country’s largest museum, it offers an extensive overview of Ecuadorian art, culture, and history. The exhibitions showcase various artifacts, including pre-Columbian ceramics, colonial art, and contemporary works.

Museo Fundación Guayasamín: This museum showcases the private collection of Oswaldo Guayasamín, including his paintings, sculptures, and archaeological pieces.

Yaku Water Museum: An interactive museum dedicated to educating visitors about the importance of water in urban and rural environments. Located on a hillside overlooking Quito, Yaku offers engaging exhibits and stunning city views, making it both educational and visually captivating.

Museo Mindalae: This ethnographic museum offers a fascinating look at the diverse cultures of Ecuador through its extensive collection of handicrafts, textiles, and artifacts.

20. La Floresta

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador La Floresta Neighbourhood

La Floresta is an eclectic neighborhood known for its unique blend of traditional charm and contemporary culture. This area stands out as a hub for artists, filmmakers, and musicians, making it a lively spot that draws a creative and youthful crowd.

La Floresta is famous for its array of street art that adorns the walls of its buildings. The art showcases the work of local and international artists and adds a colorful and dynamic visual aspect to the neighborhood.

The neighborhood also boasts a number of independent movie theaters, cultural centers, and galleries, providing spaces for cultural expression and engagement with the arts. Events such as film festivals, art exhibitions, and live music performances are regularly held in La Floresta, contributing to its reputation as a cultural hotspot in Quito.

21. Parque Carolina 

If you are looking for a little outdoor action in Quito, Parque Carolina is a sprawling urban park located in the heart of the city.

Spanning over 67 hectares (approximately 165 acres), it features meticulously landscaped gardens, large open green spaces, and several ponds, making it a perfect spot for picnics, leisurely walks, and relaxation.

One of the park’s highlights is the Botanical Garden, which houses an impressive collection of Ecuador’s native flora, including orchids, cacti, and medicinal plants, arranged in thematic gardens. We always love walking through a park to get a glimpse of local life in its most relaxing form.

Day Trips from Quito

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Day Trips

Old town Quito is worth visiting in its own right, but it is what lies beyond the city limits that will really make your Ecuador itinerary pop.

La Mitad del Mundo Monument

Best things to do in Quito La Mitad del Mundo Monument

The most popular day trip from Quito is a visit to Mitad del Mundo. Visit the monument and museum marking the equatorial line, where you can stand with one foot in each in the northern and southern hemispheres. Located just a short drive from Quito, the Middle of the World City (Ciudad Mitad del Mundo) marks location of the equator.

It’s not surprising that Ecuador was named for its prime geographical feature—the equator and when you visit Quito, the Equator is a place that you simply can not miss.

Who doesn’t love straddling the midpoint of the world? But here’s a quirky twist: Mitad del Mundo is the “fake” equator. Yes, you heard that right. The towering 30-meter-tall Mitad del Mundo monument was erected in the late 1970s, which, thanks to the precision of modern GPS, turns out to be a little off the mark.

The site includes a monument, a museum, and several experiments demonstrating the peculiarities of being at the equator. It’s a fun and educational experience for all ages.

The Intiñan Solar Museum

Modern GPS has told us that the real Equator line is now just a stone’s throw away, the real equator lies at The Intiñan Solar Museum. Here, you get to do that iconic straddle across hemispheres, a bucket-list moment if there ever was one.

But it’s not just about geographical bragging rights; the museum is a heartfelt nod to the rich indigenous Ecuadorian culture and history. And for a bit of fun, they’ve got some mind-bending science experiments that really bring the magic of the equator to life. Only here can you see water drain straight down with no swirl, balance an egg on a nail, and witness firsthand the reduced gravitational pull.

Quitsato Sundial

Best Things to do in Quito Day Trip to Quitsato Sundial

We also visited the Quitsato Sundial, which is the most accurate place to stand on the Equator. If that is your bucket list, make sure to go here! Tours are offered where guides will give you insight and information about the Equator. For example, did you know that the equator is the only place you can see the entire Milky Way? And when straddling the equator, you can see the stars in both the north and south hemispheres. Imagine seeing the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper all at once!

The Quitsato Sundial itself has an impressive 52-meter diameter. On sunny days, the central pole, standing 10 meters high, projects a shadow that reveals the current time. Remarkably, at noon, with the sun at its zenith, the pole casts no shadow.

Cotopaxi National Park

Best things to do in Quito Ecuador Cotopaxi NAtional Park

Another popular day trip from Quito is Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi is home to one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. Just a short drive from Ecuador’s capital, this natural wonder offers adventure seekers and nature lovers alike the chance to explore its stunning landscapes, from vast plains dotted with wild horses to the snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi itself.

Ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, the park provides a variety of trails that cater to all levels of fitness and experience. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife, including Andean condors and foxes.

Whether you’re looking to summit the volcano (which is temporarily closed at the moment), enjoy a leisurely walk around Limpiopungo Lake, or simply soak in the awe-inspiring views, Cotopaxi National Park is a must-visit destination that promises an exhilarating escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Remember to pack layers, as the weather can change quickly, and always check the park’s conditions before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Explore the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve

Best things to do in Quito Day Trip To the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve

Venture into one of the only inhabited volcanic craters in the world, just a short trip from Quito. It’s a great spot for hiking, horseback riding, and enjoying stunning views of the Andean landscape.

Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve is just a short journey from Quito. This unique destination offers a serene and lush landscape brimming with diverse flora and fauna. It is an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers seeking a tranquil retreat from the city.

The Reserve’s rich volcanic soil supports a vibrant ecosystem, where you can explore walking trails that meander through verdant forests and past scenic viewpoints offering breathtaking vistas of the crater and its surrounding peaks. Pululahua also boasts a fascinating history and culture, with small communities living within its boundaries.

Visit the Cloud Forest

Best things to do in Quito Day Trip to the Cloud Forest

Located a few hours outside of Quito, the Cloud Forest is more than a day trip. We spent three days at Mashpi Lodge in the heart of the Mashpi Reserve. Located just three hours from Quito, the cloud forest can be visited on a day trip, but we highly recommend making it more.

This biodiversity hotspot is home to a stunning array of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and orchids. Hike through the lush cloud forest, soar above the canopy on a sky bike, and refresh yourself under cascading waterfalls. It’s a true immersion in Ecuador’s natural wonders.

Quito, with its rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural attractions, offers an endless array of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re wandering through its colonial streets, sampling its flavorful cuisine, or exploring its surrounding natural beauty, Quito invites you to discover its many layers.

Papallacta Hot Springs

We didn’t make it to the hot springs. Still, if you want to soak your muscles after trekking in the jungle or cruising through the Galapagos, the Papallacta Hot Springs are renowned for its thermal baths, fed by volcanic hot springs, which are rich in minerals and renowned for their healing properties.

Visitors to Papallacta can indulge in various experiences, from soaking in the soothing, naturally heated pools to exploring the surrounding cloud forests, home to an abundance of unique wildlife and lush vegetation. The area also boasts luxury spa treatments, traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, and comfortable accommodations, making it a must-visit for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the beauty of the Ecuadorian Andes.

Where to Stay in Quito

Best Places to Stay in Quito Ecuador

Casa Congatina – located in the heart of the old town, this is the best place to stay in Quito. Read reviews and check rates on Booking.com. This boutique Hotel blends luxury, history, and cultural heritage. Located in the historic Plaza San Francisco, it is a beautifully restored mansion that dates back to the early 20th century. Casa Gangotena’s prime location allows visitors easy access to Quito’s stunning array of historical landmarks, museums, and the famed cobblestone streets of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

JW Marriott Hotel Quito – We also stayed at the JW Marriott Hotel in Quito, which was spectacular. At a JW Marriott, you can always count on unparalleled luxury and comfort. This hotel is located in the financial and commercial district.

This premium hotel offers guests a lavish stay with its array of top-notch amenities, including a fully-equipped fitness center, a rejuvenating spa, and an outdoor pool that provides a serene oasis in the heart of the city. The hotel is not located in the old center. Still, its location offers easy access to the city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is near popular attractions such as Parque La Carolina and the TelefériQo cable car.

Tips for Quito

Safety – Safety is a number one concern for people visiting Ecuador. We visited during its state of emergency and felt very safe in Ecuador as much of the unrest is due to cartels and internal conflicts. We have an entire article talking about Safety in Ecuador to help you decide if visiting is right for you. Transportation – Quito now has a new subway system, making it easier to get around from the Financial District to the Old Town. For safety, we highly recommend booking private drivers and organized tours. Currency – Ecuador uses USD for currency. Bring cash and small bills for tipping and markets Altitude – Quito is located at a high altitude, so drink plenty of water and take it easy as you settle in. Coca Tea is used to help ease the effects of high altitude. Pack good walking shoes – Heels are not a good idea for Quito, as the streets are uneven and cobblestoned, so make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. Dress in Layers, as Quito’s weather can be quite variable since it is located at a high altitude. Bring a jacket or wrap for the evenings.

How to Get to Quito

Best way to get to Quito Ecuador

Quito is serviced by the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), located about 30 minutes from the city center. Major airlines offer direct and connecting flights from North America, Europe, and other parts of South America.

We suggest booking a private transfer in advance for safety and comfort. Your driver will be waiting at the airport with your name upon arrival and you can enjoy a smooth transition from the airport to the heart of Quito’s historic charm and natural beauty.

And there you have it. All the reasons to visit Quito when you plan your South America travels. Quito is a fascinating city that is one of the best preserved old cities in the world. It will take you back in time as you enjoy its history, culture and stunning scenery. So what are you waiting for? Make sure to add a few days in Quito to your Ecuador travels.

Plan your trip to Ecuador with these valuable resources.



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