5 best things to do in Quito, Ecuador
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and unlike most of the capital cities i’ve visited in the US, Quito actually has a lot to offer. So where do you stay and what should you do when you arrive. Here are the 5 best things to do in Quito.
1. A walking tour of the old town
Second only to Havana, Cuba, Quito has the largest colonial city in Latin America so a walking tour of the old town is a must. Most hostels and hotels are located in the Mariscal area of Quito and you will need to get a bus or taxi a short ride down to the old town. Many people will tell you the old town is sketchy at night but in my time I found no trouble, really it is just that the old town largely shuts down at night so there is nobody around. During the day the old town is really interesting and has been well preserved with a few nice plazas, gardens and many colourful old buildings. A good walking tour can be arranged through many hostels or you can directly contact our guide at Community Hostel Obi. Obi is a great guide with a lot of local knowledge and his tours also take you to a chocolate factory and some other street vendors for some local snacks in the old town. Contact Obi through his Facebook here
2. Head to the center of the earth
Mitad del Mundo (or ‘Center of the Earth’ in English) is the official place to go and stand on the Equator. There are however some discussions about the exact locations of both museums in the area thanks to modern GPS technology but nonetheless it is a good few hours spent just outside Quito. Of the two museums, the smaller one is the better and cheaper too. If you find yourself at the large round-about looking at a large obelisk you are at the wrong one and need to head a few hundred meters up the road to find the small one. Here you get to see a real shrunken head, a traditional hut, an anaconda skin and some other cool displays. Then you will also find a whole heap of tricks to partake in on the equator like balancing an egg on a nail, trying to walk in a straight line with your eyes closed and the old water trick where water flushes in different directions depending on which hemisphere you are in.
3. Check out the views from Basilíca del Voto Nacional
Situated in the old town this neo-Gothic basilica is a must. As impressive as the building is on the outside the real views come from the top. Heading up a series of steps, ladders and through part of the roof eventually you will be rewarded with great views over Quito.
4. Heading to the bars and clubs in the Mariscal area.
The Mariscal area in really modern and full of places to party from Wednesday night onwards. Enjoy a football game on the big screens in the afternoon and then dancing and drink the night away at bars like the Bungaloo or Finn McCools.
5. Take a cable car to the Teleferico for more great views.
Want to see Quito all at once? There is no better place than El Telferico. Take a taxi to the entrance and then jump in a cable car which will take you out of the valley that the city of Quito is built in.Be sure to head up early though as Quito has a tendency to cloud over and get quite hazy by 10 or 11am.
Of course Quito has so much more to offer than just this and is also one of those cities that is easy to get comfortable in and just unwind. If you’ve been to Quito and have any other suggestions leave them in the comment section below and help out our fellow travellers.