Beautiful locations in & around Quito Reviews
Sep 21, 2007
Quito is located at 2820 m above sea level, so when you come make sure to take it easy on the first days. Depending on your age and/or physical condition it is recommendable not to do big efforts or excercise right after your arrival. The best is to stay relaxed in Quito for at least one day, doing some walking of course. In the city what you can not miss is: the Colonial Quito... you can take either the trolley bus or a taxi cab to Independence Square (Plaza de la Independencia) and from there you can start a nice walk to The Cathedral, La Compañía Church where you will find the barroco art at its maximum and lots of gold!, El Sagrario Church, San Francisco Square and its museum. After this you should pick a cab to go up to El Panecillo Hill, it´s very close, aprox. 10 min. drive. This hill offers a great view from North and South Quito, Pichincha Volcano and the sourrounding volcanoes such as Cotopaxi, Cayamabe and the valley.
At night it´s also very cool to see the Old downtown, it´s actually very recommended. The buildings are iluminated and there are policemen everywhere it´s pretty much safe however don´t go too late at night. You can have dinner at one of the old buildings there are these charming restaurants such as Mea Culpa or Hasta la Vuelta Señor, they have typical food and they often offer live folk music. If you want to party you should go for a drink at La Plaza Quinde also known as Plaza Foch, there are plenty of caffes over there and most of the discos are close by so you can dance some tropical rythms such as salsa, reagueton, vallenatos, cumbias, and of course also international music: pop, electronic, etc... there´s a little bit of everything.
Another nice visit is Itchimbia Hill, you´ll have a great view of our city. There are 2 caffes there: Café Mosaico and Pim´s.
The recently opened Teleferiqo is an Aerial Tram in Pichincha Volcano slopes, it reaches 4100 m high, it´s breathtaking :)! Once up there you can do some hiking and have a warm cup of chocolate or boiled wine mmm!.
The Equator Monument is very close to Quito, just 20 km. north, there you have the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, which is a miniature colonial city and you can have typical food there, buy handicrafts and most important: take a picture just in the Middle of the World, Paralel 0! so one foot at the north and one foot at the south.. that´s classic!
Just 10 min. from there you have Pululahua Crater, which is huge! better go there in the morning because at the afternoon it gets cloudy and you can hardly see.
Near Quito you can go to Cotopaxi National Park, is very beautiful, you need to hire a car to reach the parking lot at 4600 m. altitude. Once there you can walk up to the hut, it takes aprox. 35 minutes. You can overnight there, just need to bring your tent and your food to be prepared. I love being there! but it´s freezing cold! If you want you can also plan to do downhill biking.
Other attractions are the Pujili Market (wednesday), Saquisilí Market (thursday), Otavalo Market (saturday, well it actually runs every day but saturday is bigger. On saturday runs also the Animal market which is quite interesting). Near Otavalo you have Peguche Waterfalls, nice to do a hike there!. Cuicocha Lake, Cotacachi and San Antonio Villages where you can find good quality works made in leather and wood.
On the way to Otavalo you can observe lot´s or nice landscapes dry or so green, the change is drastical! There are a lot of flower plantations, specially roses, one of our most important products for export. Besides the beautiful lakes, volcanoes and snow capped mountains. Going up north to Otavalo you would pass by Cayambe, a small village where most of the people are farmers, so there is a great production of diary products, you should try that delicious pastry called "bizcochos" with "dulce de leche" (milk jam) and "queso de hoja" (a kind of young cheese)
2 Hours north-west from Quito you also have Mindo, which is a Cloudy Forest, home of many species of orchides and humming birds. There you can do trout fishing, i recommend you to overnight there for 1 or 2 nights.
If you like rafting level IV you can go to Rio Blanco or Toachi, aprox. 2 hours from Quito, in direction to Santo Domingo.
In the Andean region you can overnight in the old Haciendas, they are so charming and cozy, the price range is a bit high but it´s a good experience.
2 hours east from Quito in direction to Tena, you find Papallacta Hotsprings. And 2 hours drive south you find Baños village, great to do bungee jumping, rapelling, rafting, biking, horse back riding, visit the beautiful waterfalls. There is plenty of accommodation in this place and food is delicious!
We also have a zoo in Guayllabamba area, about 1 hour north from Quito, there you can get to know our spectacled bears, capibaras, tapires, spider monkeys, guinea pigs, and much more.
I recommend a site you can view is www.ecuadortravelsite.com
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!