If you’re wondering if Quito is worth visiting, we must say yes. Quito, located in the heart of the Andes, is the capital of Ecuador. This destination has a vast history and extensive cultural wealth, offering multiple cultural activities. It has varied gastronomy and numerous tourist places in its surroundings, and it has a privileged climate since it is located in the middle of the world.
The city is an exceptional destination because, in 1978, it was the first city in Latin America to be declared the Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. This distinction was achieved due to the extraordinary value of its historic center, known for being the largest and best preserved in Latin America. The city, built at 2,850 meters above sea level and founded in the 16th century, is a top destination in Latin America. If you still need convincing to visit it, we want to tell you several reasons why it is worth it.
Cover photo: Panoramic view of the city of Quito. Photo by William Mendez in Pixabay.
1. Quito’s Historic Center
As we have mentioned, the historic center of Quito was declared a Heritage Site of Humanity by UNESCO. It is one of the best-preserved colonial centers in Latin America and the most extensive. When visiting the historic center of the city, you will find yourself surrounded by a large amount of colonial architecture, where you will see churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, chapter houses, squares, and narrow cobblestone streets that show the colonial past of the city. Carondelet Palace (Government Seat); Independence Square, also known as Plaza Grande; the Basilica of the National Vote; the church of the Company of Jesus; and the church and convent of San Francisco are some of the iconic sites of the historic center of Quito.
We recommend you read our note about what to see in the historic center of Quito. In it, you will learn about the highlights of this landmark paradise of the city and the countless treasures it houses. Likewise, we suggest you read about the churches of Quito and learn more about that great concentration of majestic temples in the historic center.
2. Mitad del Mundo
Quito is located near the equator line, the imaginary plane that divides the earth into two hemispheres, and there is a monument in the city in honor of this fact. The iconic Equatorial monument is located inside the Middle of the World City, in the parish of San Antonio de Pichincha in the Metropolitan District of Quito, north of the city. In the Middle of the World City, you can live the unique experience of stepping into the northern and southern hemispheres simultaneously and learn about all the phenomena that arise at the 0º 0′ 0″ latitude of planet Earth.
3. El Panecillo
The iconic El Panecillo hill is the most essential natural viewpoint of Quito, a place from which you can enjoy panoramic city views. This natural elevation of 3,000 meters (9,942 ft) above sea level was baptized with this name because it resembled a small bread. At its summit, there is a winged virgin, the Virgin of El Panecillo, also known as the Winged Virgin of Quito, the Virgin of Legarda, or the Virgin of the Apocalypse, a colossal aluminum statue composed of seven thousand different pieces, the most significant representation of aluminum in all over the world, which has become a symbol of the city.
4. Cultural attractions
Quito has numerous museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions that showcase Ecuador’s diverse heritage. The National Museum of Ecuador, the Casa del Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, the Guayasamín House Museum, and the Capilla del Hombre are just a few examples of what Quito offers.
Quito is distinguished not only by its incomparable historic center and its many cultural and natural attractions but also by its diverse and delicious culinary scene. Part of the typical dishes of the traditional cuisine of Quito are: empanadas de viento, espumilla, canelazo, locro de patatas, humitas, empanadas de morocho, guatita, among others.
For its part, Ecuadorian cuisine is also diverse and delicious, and in Quito, you can try traditional dishes from the entire nation, such as fritada, hornado, llapingachos, ceviche, among many others. The city has a wide variety of restaurants offering local and international cuisine. In addition, in the city, there are countless colorful markets where you must eat.
6. Mountains and volcanoes
Located 2,850 meters above sea level, Quito is a city surrounded by majestic mountains and volcanoes because it is crossed by the Andes mountain range, which provides opportunities for outdoor activities and exploring picturesque landscapes. The nearby Cotopaxi National Park, Rucu Pichincha, and the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve are must-see destinations for nature lovers.
7. Festivals and Events
Quito has a wide cultural offer. There are various festivals and events annually to witness its rich cultural heritage. Other reasons why it is worth visiting Quito is to attend the Jesús del Gran Poder procession during Holy Week, as well as the Quito festivities that take place at the beginning of December each year.
8. Tourist destinations in its surroundings
Another reason why it is worth visiting Quito is that it is very close to beautiful destinations in Ecuador. A few hours from the city, you will find critical national parks, ecological reserves, protective forests, and cities located near the Amazon, all places with abundant nature and unique landscapes.
We recommend you visit the Cotopaxi volcano, the second highest volcano in the country, only surpassed by Chimborazo; the Quilotoa lagoon, a lagoon of volcanic origin located in the middle of a crater; the town of Mindo, an ideal parish for observing birds, butterflies and orchids; Baños de Agua Santa, a city located on the external flanks of the eastern mountain range of the Andes, which has excellent hydrological wealth and magnificent waterfalls; and, Otavalo, a destination where you can visit the largest indigenous market in Latin America.
Quito is an excellent starting point to begin your trip around the country. From Quito, you can easily reach the Galapagos Islands, the Ecuadorian coast, and the Ecuadorian Amazon.
9. Local culture
The people of Quito are known for their warmth and friendliness. Living and interacting with the city’s inhabitants can provide a deeper understanding of the city’s culture and traditions.
Is Quito safe?
Quito is a safe destination; however, like any other city, it has areas that could be more unsafe than others. However, most security problems in Quito can be avoided by using common sense and taking precautions, so it is recommended to prevent lonely alleys or areas with few people. In addition, it is suggested to avoid walking late at night on its streets, and it is recommended to travel by vehicle.
How many days does it take to get to know Quito?
The Ecuadorian capital is one of the best Latin American destinations. Hence, it is recommended that your stay in this destination be at least three or four days since there are countless activities to do. To help you plan your schedule when you arrive in the city, in our note, we tell you what to do in Quito.
However, if you are visiting Quito for a very short time and cannot extend your stay, read our note regarding what to do in Quito in 2 days. In it, we will present you with some unmissable activities you can do during your stay in the capital of Ecuador.
Where is it recommended to stay in Quito?
If you are wondering where to stay in Quito, Quito offers a wide variety of accommodations; however, we recommend doing it in the historic center of the city. In this area, considered the cultural and heritage heart of the city, you can enjoy the unparalleled colonial architecture of churches, theaters, monasteries, and convents. However, if you prefer more modern areas, you can opt for areas such as La Mariscal, La Floresta, La Carolina, Bellavista, or the Mariscal Sucre International Airport sector.
What is the best time to travel to Quito?
The best time to travel to Quito is the dry season, which runs from June to September. At this time, the probability of rain is lower, and you can enjoy privileged views of the snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. However, the other months of the year, especially those between October and February, are also considered excellent for visiting the city since the proximity that Quito maintains with the Middle of the World allows you to enjoy the presence of the sun and pleasant temperatures, even if there is a little rain during the day. Therefore, Quito is a destination that can be visited quietly throughout the year.
We recommend you read our note about the best time to travel to Quito; there, you will find a lot of helpful information about this unmissable destination in Ecuador.
Quito is a destination that deserves to be visited. The city not only offers the largest and best preserved historic center in South America but also a series of natural wonders in its surroundings, cultural attractions, and fantastic gastronomy. Additionally, Quito is an excellent starting point to begin your trip around the country. That is, whether you are interested in history, culture, or nature or simply want to explore a unique and charming city, Quito has something to offer for every traveler.
With more than 13 years of experience in the tourism area, especially in tourist transportation, our company, Quito Tour Bus, has highly trained personnel specialized in offering tourist services in the city of Quito. We invite you to learn about our entire range of services in Quito Tour Bus, and we guarantee that in our company, you will get to know the city like a local.