Quito Discovery Guide

Sightseeing: Visiting Quito

Located in northwestern South America, Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is found in the Guayllabamba river basin along an active volcano in the Andes Mountains, Pichincha. At 9,300 feet above sea level, Quito is the second highest capital city in the world, and the population in 2005 was around 1.8 million people. It is located only 15 miles south of the equator, but because it is so high in the mountains, it has a constant cool temperature of about 50-70 degrees every day. This is a very popular city for tourists to visit. It is located in the country's macro-touristic region of the Sierra Highlands.

Visitors to Quito, Ecuador will not run out of things to do in this city. If you’re traveling for business reasons, you will probably spend most of your time in the northern part of Quito, which is considered the business district. This is the wealthier part of the city, and the home of the international airport found in Quito. A number of recreational sites in Quito are also found around the airport.

If you enjoy being outdoors, Quito is home to a number of parks that you can enjoy. The Parque Metropolitano, which is over 1,300 acres, is the largest park in Quito as well as in the urban part of South America. There, you can take advantage of a number of trails through the eucalyptus forest. There are four sites where you can stop to picnic and a number of great places for walking, running, and biking. Next to this park is the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium. Other parks in Quito include La Carolina, where you can find artists performing on the weekends, a skate park, and a pond where you can rent paddleboats, and El Ejido, where handcrafted items are usually for sale.

If you love visiting ethnic museums, try checking out the Meseo del Banco Central, which is a cultural center for Ecador. On the first floor, you can find a collection of pre-colonial and pre-Incaic pottery, as well as sculpture, gold, and other artifacts. The second floor features colonial art and the third floor features purely Ecuadorian art. This museum also includes models of what Ecudor may have looking like through the ages. The most stunning part of the museum collection is the golden sun mask of La Tolita.

El Panecillo is also a stunning tourist destination. This hill is location in the mid-western part of the city and has a Virgin Mary atop it that can be seen from most parts of Quito. This monument was built in the 1970s and shows a Madonna with wings like an angel. The sculpture is made with seven thousand pieces of aluminum and is illuminated at night.

Visitors usually travel on the aerial tramways, also known as the Teleferiqo. This opened in 2005 and takes travelers from the center of the city to Cruz Loma, at an altitude of 12,000 feet. From there, you can look down into Quito and visit a number of restaurants and Ecuadorian shops. The visitor’s center found at the Cruz Loma aerial tramway includes an amusement park called Vulqano Park and a number of activist, like pain ball, go-karts, and fine dining attractions.

Less than 25 miles from Quito are a number of other great places to travel. La Mitad del Mundo, the middle of the world, is just north of the city and has a large statue monument to the equator. Pululahua is a volcano nearby that attracts many tourists every year, considering that it has the only inhabited crater in the world. You can also see native plants and animals of Ecuador in a number of nature reserves and the Quito Zoo. There’s something for everyone while visiting Quito.

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