WALK THE HISTORIC CENTER – ROUTE 4
For our fourth walk, we head straight to the largest construction in Quito. You see it from many angles of the city, a glorious neo-Gothic structure that has taken over a century to complete, and is still awaiting finishing touches: the Basílica del Voto Nacional. .
The Basilica del Voto Nacional is one of the best places to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Among its charms are the colorful stained glass windows and gargoyles that represent emblematic species of the Ecuadorian fauna. Once you leave the Basilica, walk to Vargas street, descending the hill of the small park, you pass the Plaza Arenas, a strange commercial shed, and continue to the Guaragua, a beautiful arch encysted between republican buildings, from where you can download the romantic ones tiers that in their time were the most picturesque corner of the city. Below is Guayaquil Street and you can turn left then, on the way to Plaza del Teatro; or continue along the Vargas, without going down the stairs, to the interesting Museo Camilo Egas (Esmeraldas and Venezuela). Returning through the Esmeraldas and then south on Guayaquil Street, you arrive at the iconic Sucre Theater. The square where it is located has a corner cafe and a second theater, the Variedades, smaller but very active on the agenda. In the square there are also concerts and street performances. If you continue through the Guayaquil, you will arrive at the San Agustín Ice Cream shop as you go up to Chile Street, an excellent place to try classic snacks in the city, especially in the Romanesque tables on the second floor.
To the south, take the left on Chile Street and you will reach the beautiful gates of San Agustín, with its characteristic pattern of silver hearts. Shades of mint green, light blue and rosewood cover the interior walls. When leaving the church, you can walk the brand new square in the corner of Flores and Mejía and if you go back to the south, you will find another Quito landmark: the Bolívar Theater.
Nearby is the restaurant La Purisima offers a delicious menu and also, on the ground floor of the theater, is Café Galleti for a bite or coffee on the way.
One block down, on Flores and Espejo streets, is the striking Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena. Another victim of earthquakes where the Catalina Sisters prepare and sell radish and eucalyptus syrups for cough and water for the nerves.
From here, you could turn west on Espejo Street and go through the picturesque Plaza Chica to the Plaza Grande, where you can draw with the first road.