Quito is the capital of Ecuador, located in the Guaillabamba river basin, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, at an altitude of 2850 m above sea level. The city is the second highest capital in the world and is surrounded on all sides by volcanoes.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Ecuador is 17.89 million (2021).
Walking around the city will already bring a lot of pleasure. So, let’s get acquainted: the north of Quito is occupied by modern residential areas, the business center is world-class, there are hotels for every taste and color, the historical center requires special attention, because it will take a lot of time to inspect the preserved ancient colonial monuments and buildings, but also At the same time, many impressions will be experienced, but it is dangerous to get out to the southern part, where there are old residential areas, without a local escort.
In addition to historical beauties, for those who like to spend money, Quito provides this opportunity in numerous shopping centers: in Caracol, CCI (Inaquito) there are branded departments, in addition to this ice rink, bowling and 9 cinema halls, world clothing brands are collected in Quicentro. A special place for hangouts of local glamorous youth is Plaza Las Americas (the square of all the Americas), here you can eat “harmful” but mouth-watering food in the world’s famous fast-foods.
A 5-minute walk from CCI there is a charming indoor market Iñaquito, on the shelves of which exude all sorts of flavors of fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, seafood. Particularly daring gourmets can try the assortment of the local “canteen”, where there are no dishes more expensive than 1 USD.
And the best seafood is delivered every Thursday and Sunday by 6 a.m. to Mercado America, a colorful market where you don’t have to buy anything, but just stare at outlandish creatures is already entertainment.
Supermarket Santa Maria helps out, where there is everything you need.
For picky foreigners, the Mariscal (gringolandia) area is most suitable, where the atmosphere of resort pathos reigns on the streets. A luxurious Hilton has been built in Quito, sparkling with the cleanliness and gloss of a Marriott.
Cuisine and restaurants
The variety of cuisines presented in numerous establishments is amazing, as well as the sophistication and originality of their furnishings. For example, the Italian restaurant Capuletto with a fireplace and an open pizza oven will satisfy anyone’s hunger, the price is 6-12 USD per dish, expensive wines are 100 USD and more.
You will not find more appetizing ribs of the American restaurant Adams Ribs, the atmosphere is appropriate: car numbers from all over the world, leather sofas, aromas coming from the kitchen. Dinner at the Greek restaurant Mozaica with meat, cheese, salads and hot wine will cost 20-25 USD per person.
An unusual gastronomic journey is guaranteed by a Brazilian restaurant, where the churascaria style of service implies different program options at different prices, a list of which can be found at the entrance.
You can have a quick and inexpensive meal at the Spanish fast-food El Español, whose branches are scattered throughout Quito. Of course, visiting Quito and not tasting Ecuadorian cuisine is a sin, so the Hornado cafe (translated as “baked”), located on the highway, is very loved by both tourists and locals. A huge selection of dishes from all sorts of varieties of corn, pork, soups. And all this to the unobtrusive accompaniment of a musical national band.
Excellent coffee and desserts are served at Corfu Coffee Shop.
Lookouts in Quito
The main observation deck of Loma El Panecillo is a gigantic stone woman who spread her huge wings over the city, protecting it from mythical dangers. Another nice place to spy on the city anthill is the open veranda of the Greek restaurant “Mosaic”: you sip mulled wine and admire Quito swarming at your feet for hours. The hall of the Bosque shopping center on the second floor offers a great view of the airport runway.
Entertainment and attractions in Quito
Tourists are most interested in the historical center, boastfully displaying the residence of the president. Indeed, there is something to admire, because the building is decorated with elaborate decorative balconies and artful wall paintings. The main square of the city – Independence Square is always crowded. By the way, there are more than 50 churches in Quito, and 7 of them are the largest and most famous (Basilica del Voto Nacional, San Francisco, Santo Domingo, Catedral) are located nearby. All cathedrals are open to the public, are active, and in many you can take a tour.
In addition, old houses with an intricately woven system of courtyards and terraces are curious. Among the narrow cobblestone pavements, where freshly washed sheets hung on ropes flutter overhead with snow-white wings, you feel the color and mood of the local city especially brightly. There is also a bullfighting arena in Quito – Plaza de Toro’s, where the best matadors of the world come to bloody fights with bulls.
An exotic spectacle is not for the faint of heart, but it’s still worth seeing at least once in your life, especially since bullfighting does not take place in Ecuador often, only on holidays.
Museums in Quito
There are enough museums in the Ecuadorian capital, and one of them conceals a huge number of entertaining exhibits in its blue-green walls. This is the Itchimbia Cultural Center, the expositions of which are frequently updated. Especially popular is the exhibition hall of the Peruvian Museum, where the history of the Incas is presented from ancient times to the present. The flickering of the unique exhibition “Gold of the Incas” also sinks into memory for a long time. The entrance fee is only 1 USD. The center is surrounded by luxurious greenery of the park of the same name.
9 things to do in Quito
- Take an evening ride through the historic district in a convertible carriage. The cost of the trip for 4 passengers is 12-14 USD.
- Buying a bunch of colorful souvenirs at the famous covered Indian market, which is open until late and where you can bargain for the lowest possible price, is the main entertainment for both the seller and the buyer. A poncho with an Indian ornament, for example, can cost from 10 to 30 USD, but it all depends on the pliability of the owner of the tray.
- Warm up in the mass free aerobics classes that take place on Saturdays at La Carolina Park.
- Be sure to cheer for your favorite team at the EL Estadio Olympico football stadium, where matches are played every Wednesday and Sunday. A dose of adrenaline is provided.
- Try to see the peaks of volcanoes in the sky-high distances – Cotopaxi (5897), Cayambe (5790), Antisana (5758), but this is in perfectly cloudless weather.
- Taste the monastery ice cream, which is actually prepared in the local monastery.
- Buy as souvenirs “fans” for fanning-kindling coals, woven from palm leaves. In the Suiza store, these charming crafts cost about 1-1.50 USD, and in the Santa Maria supermarket – 5 USD.
- Ride on chiva – “tourist rattletrap”. The system is as follows: you buy a ticket, sit down, you are given a hot, specific alcoholic drink, and then proceed according to the program you have chosen. Fun and noisy.
- On December 6, Quito City Day, participate in the cuarenta, a card tournament that captivates the gambling local population.
Parks of Quito
The sights of Quito include numerous parks: Metropolitano is the largest urban park in South America, most of which is occupied by a eucalyptus forest crossed by paths, and from the eastern regions of the park there are panoramas of the Cotopaxi volcano, Antisana and the Guaillabamba river valley.
In the shade of fragrant magnolias, it is pleasant to wander in the giant La Carolina park, where there are a lot of sports fields for football and basketball, facilities for skateboarders and cyclists. For “waterfowl” tourists, boats are rented on the lake, there is a dinosaur museum, a terrarium and an exhibition center.
El Ejido Park hosts a souvenir market every Saturday and Sunday, where you can buy copies of famous paintings made by local artists, as well as traditional sweaters, ponchos, carpets and jewelry brought from Otavalo. La Alameda Park is home to the oldest astronomical observatory in South America.
Just 27 km from Quito is a memorial complex where the equator line runs. Here are the “Monument to the Equator”, the Museum of Ethnography and Culture “Middle of the World” and the picturesque ruins of Rumicho. The monument erected on the equator line is one of the most visited places in Ecuador.
In Quito, brothels are quite developed, which are covered with harmless signs of Night Clubs. In general, everything looks like a dance night show, the entrance to which costs up to 20 USD, with three cocktails included. Further, if desired, numbers, for example, up to 100 USD, bargaining is appropriate.