10 REASONS TO VISIT QUITO
Why visit Quito? There is no single reason, there are several reasons why Quito is considered one of the Leading Destinations of South America and one of the Best Destinations to Discover, according to the prestigious Traveler magazine of National Geographic and the popular web TripAdvisor.
Here we give you 10 reasons:
Quito in the middle of the world
This is the capital closest to the sun at 2,850 meters above sea level and is also the only place where you can set foot in the Northern Hemisphere and another in the Southern Hemisphere. You will be able to experience the pure energy of the “Middle of the World” as you walk along the equatorial line drawn, imaginatively, by the Geodetic Mission when it determined the point of Latitude 0°0’0 ”. This privileged geographical location gives Quito a riot of virtues that are evident in its spring-like climate, all year round, and its amazing natural wealth.
A Historical Center without equal in the world
Discover the awesomeness of one of the largest and best preserved colonial helmets in America and the urban jewel that motivated the declaration of the First Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In this place, you will find the history of the city in its many “unmissable”: La Compañía de Jesús, masterpiece of the baroque in America; the Plaza Grande, a nucleus of important historical achievements that tell the story of Quito, the country and the continent; tour the religious complex of San Francisco; also walk through La Ronda, a street that keeps its charm with old workshops and traditional jobs that are still alive.
The Historical Center is not a great museum. It is dynamic and beautiful, a lively place where the daily life of its inhabitants, merchants, religious devotees, tourists, public officials and many more converge.
The flavors of Quito cuisine is one of the best kept secrets in the city. They deserve to be tasted by all good travelers, traditional mestizo dishes that mix the pre-Columbian and colonial having a strong influence both Andean and Iberian: the locro, fritada, empanadas, wrapped, the chili sauces, the fruit juices Paila ice cream are just some of the classic dishes of this city. Your visit will not be complete without tasting the offer of chocolates made with fine aroma cacao, the best in the world, of course high altitude coffee that is produced in Ecuador.
And do not forget to enjoy fresh fruits throughout the year: some you will only find in our markets, do not miss the tomate de árbol, naranjilla, cherimoya, granadilla, taxo, babaco and much more.
With the arrival of the Franciscan Order, five centuries ago, it also arrived the ear of barley to the middle of the world. Currently this drink of malts and different textures has its space in several establishments that brew craft beer.
Crafts and art
Quito in colonial times was a very important cultural and artistic center. We have preserved that virtue throughout the ages. Now, in the middle of the republican era, it is common to find artisans who keep centennial trades: traditional hairdressers, chandlers, drawer units, hatters, tailors, and hobbies that still keep their knowledge exposing them in their workshops, mostly located in the Center Historical.
Quito, during colonial times, was one of the cities that most fostered the religious arts, and its well-known School Quiteña produced some of the most important colonial artists of America, including the sculptors Bernardo de Legarda and Manuel Chili “Caspicara” and the painter Miguel de Santiago, art work that can be find out in the many museums and churches of Quito.
Our museums, theaters and cultural centers
Quito has a large number of places that tell stories and realities of other times, and where culture is promoted through permanent and temporary exhibitions, theater, music or film. The Museum of the City, House Museum of El Alabado (with an extraordinary sample of pre-Columbian art), Wax Museum (Alberto Mena Caamaño), Sucre Theater, Center of Contemporary Art, and the House of Music are some of the the most important.
Discover the archeology of Quito in site museums in Tulipe, Rumipamba or La Florida, which tell the fabulous story that preceded the arrival of the Spaniards.
Children also have their spaces in the Yaku Park Museum, the Interactive Science Museum and the Train Museum.
There are several options in restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs in the neighborhoods of La Mariscal, La Floresta, Guápulo and La Carolina. There you will find music, local and international cuisine, party and above all, the singular joy of Quito!
Get on the rail
From the popular district of Chimbacalle, in Quito, begin on a journey in “the most difficult railway in the world”, which has now become a heritage tourist train, joining the coast with the Andes, by an impressive engineering work from the beginning of the early twentieth century. Today you can travel on the train the Andean and coastal sites.
One of the leisure activities is shopping and in Quito you will find a variety of options for all tastes and budgets. From modern shopping centers such as Quicentro Shopping or Mall El Jardín with local and international brands, or stores of Ecuadorian contemporary designs in the neighborhood of La Floresta or La Mariscal; likewise in the Historical Center you can take a look at specialized craft stores such as El Quinde, which offers Andean articles, from fine instruments to fine alpaca fabrics, clothing, gold, silver and filigree jewelry, leather goods and more.
The products and the fabulous Ecuadorian raw material, which include the best chocolate in the world, excellent coffee harvested in shadow, the only vegetable ivory (the tagua) and the famous straw hats that the whole world knows as Panama Hats, are some of the products that you can take as a souvenir.
Quito is also the ideal destination to buy art: in El Ejido you will find paintings, sculptures, oil paintings, etc. And in La Mariscal it is the proper place of galleries and antique shops.
The moor and the Cloud Forest, being in two parallel worlds at the same time
One hour away, in the surroundings of Quito, you can enjoy activities in haciendas located in the Andean moors: thermal waters, horseback riding, hiking, climbing, agrotourism and more. In the Northwest, you can discover the beauty and richness of the subtropical cloud forest, a paradise for bird watching, with a diversity that breaks world records with more than 500 species, one of the best places to see dozens of species of hummingbirds. They are two completely opposite worlds, a warm and a cold, less than an hour away from each other. Absolute magic!
Look at Quito from all angles, visit the cable railway early in the morning and admire the city with the volcanoes all around. Go up to the Panecillo, a strategic place to observe Quito from south to north. In the afternoon, just before nightfall, the Itchimbia hill becomes a magical space that allows you to see the sunset behind the mountains, while the historic center lights up at your feet.
Quito as a gateway to Ecuador is strategically located to get near the Pacific Coast with its beaches, fishing villages and rich gastronomy; the Andes with the route of the Volcanoes that dazzled the German expeditionary Humboldt; the Amazon with all its green magic and extraordinary natural diversity; the Galapagos Islands, unique in the world, that narrate, live the evolution of the species, a theory created by the renowned naturalist Charles Darwin. Quito is your starting point.