South America is a common travel destination and one small but yet stunning country there is Ecuador. Its capital city Quito is a unique destination for many and here we’ve listed 9 reasons why you should plan your next South America Trip towards Quito, Ecuador.
1. Travel to the middle of the world
Quito has a unique location, it is located on the foothills of the Andes at an altitude of 2,850m. It is the second highest capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia. All of this makes Quito a special place to visit for its climate, surroundings, and history. It is one of the unique places where you can stand on both, the northern and the southern hemisphere at the same time.
2. Centro Historico
The old part of town was constructed on an ancient Incan city, but nowadays, Old Quito is famous for its churches from the Spanish colonial times. The most churches are still well preserved from the 16th and 17th century when the Spanish architects came to blend together the European, Moorish and indigenous styles. Perfect examples for this are the cathedral, in the Plaza Grande square, and ultra-ornate Compañia de Jesús Jesuit church. Fun fact, Quito was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, According to UNESCO the historical center of Quito is the best preserved and least altered in Latin America.
3. Get lost in the small streets
La Ronda is the perfect place to get lost while wandering around the city. The small art galleries and coffee shops have a magical charm that will soon inspire you as well. It’s easy to find and people are since Ecuadoreans are always helpful,you won’t have a hard time around here.
4. El Panecillo – The angel that overlooks the city
El Panecillo is to Quito what the Christ the Redeemer is to Rio de Janeiro. It is the city’s icon and is visible from most places in the old town. From up here, you can appreciate the size of the city and it is incredible how 1.7 million people fit in this mountainous region. While it can be reached by foot from the old town, it is not recommended to do this climb alone as the staircases are a common place for thefts, so watch out and be saved.
5. Nightlife – from reggaeton to techno
When thinking of South America, many people think of ladies shaking their hips to the music, this can only be confirmed in Quito. The countries capital certainly holds up to the standards. One area where many people go out is called Mariscal, but for more info check out our more detailed post here.
6. Touch the Middle of the world
For a few dollars, you can take a bus ride to ‘la mitad del Mundo’. As the name suggests this is where the Equator runs and a museum was built here to show you some science and history to it. Though we would recommend you not to do the research about the real science behind it, you might be disappointed to find out that the real Equator due to discrepancies actually lies 240m north of the marked line.
7. Day trip possibilities in all directions
Nono is a small town that can be reached by bus, not yet too touristy it is the perfect spot to go for a little hike around the town or the farmers market to by some local cheese. A little drive further in the same direction Mindo’s Cloud Forest can be found. Rare birds and plants can easily be seen from here which makes it a very special travel destination.
Turning around driving south of Quito Cotopaxi National Park offers the stunning views of the gigantic active volcano with its peak at 5,897m. This alone should convince you for your day trip to this national park.
8. The cuisine – Menu del dia a la Ecuadoriana
Ecuadorian food might not be the most well-known food around the globe but is well worth mentioning. Most menus served come with soup as a starter, a main dish, and a desert. The main dish or Fuerte in Spanish consists of rice, grilled bananas or plantain, a salad and a choice of Pollo (Chicken), Carne (Meat) or Pescado (Fish). Vegetarian options are not very frequently available, sorry. The desert is either a mix of fruit or other sweet products.
Y para tomar, que desean? (And to drink, what would you like?) The choice here should definitely go for the Jugo natural (a freshly made juice) that is offered with any meal in Ecuador. You will be able to taste some fruits you never heard of, one of our favorites is the tomatillo or tomate de arbol.
9. . The easy gateway
Perfect with a big international airport, Quito can serve as a gateway to anywhere else in Ecuador or South America. Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport is actually one of South Americas busiest with 6,000,000 people travel through this airport each year. You can also take buses or trains to the mountains to go hiking or fly further to other places. All possibilities are available in this modern city.