Best things to do in Quito
Find out more about those top places in Quito
Quito is the official capital of Ecuador and it is the nation’s crown jewel and the number one city for all the major happenings in Ecuador. The city is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, it is also the closest city to the equator. Also known as “Carita de Dios”, Quito is the second tallest capital in the world and it is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes (both active and inactive).
The La Mitad del Mundo, Sangay National Park and El Panecillo are some places to visit in the capital.
On the outskirt of the city located on the hill between southern and central Quito is El Panecillo, it is a 45 meters tall stone monument of Madonna (Mary the mother of Jesus). Often called “Virgin of Panecillo” it was designed by Spanish artist Agustin de la Herrán Mattoras and commissioned by the religious order of the oblates. According to the bronze placard on the monument, the statue represents the “Woman of the Apocalypse” described in the book of revelations.
Set up on a hill this magnificent church can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The basilica which was consecrated in 1988 was designed by Architect Emilio Tarlier and it is one of the largest churches in the Americas measuring at 140 meters long and 35 meters wide. The church design is neo-gothic. La Basilica of the National Vow is technically unfinished and popular legend says that the world would end when it is completed.
This is one thing you won’t find on your travels to most parts of the world. La Mitad del Mundo which translates to The Middle of the World is a monument that commemorates the earth’s equatorial line as calculated by 18th century French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine. The monument was built between 1979 and 1982 to replace a smaller monument initially built by the Government of Ecuador. With current advancement of technology, it has been discovered that the actual middle of the world is located 300 meters north of the La Mitad del Mundo.
Established in 1979 the Sangay National Park is located in the Andes Mountains and is very unlike other national parks in the Americas. It contains three volcanoes, El Altar, Sangay and Tungurahua, the last two are still active. The Sangay National Park which gets its name from the Sangay Volcanoes which means “to frighten” covers a stunning 5,177 square kilometers and features 324 lakes. It is also a good place to see wild animals such as pumas, giant otters and ocelots.
One of the popular places visited by tourists is the neighborhood of La Ronda, it is one of the city’s oldest streets and a good place to soak up the wonderful culture and hospitality of the Ecuadorian people. La Ronda is famous for its food, arts and outdoor entertainment. In the evenings there are performances by musicians singing traditional songs and playing various instruments.