City Guide


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Quito is a unique city, equatorial and yet surrounded by ice-capped volcanoes. The setting, and the proximity of some of Ecuador's natural wonders, is a good part of the city's appeal for travellers. The best way to experience the beauty of Quito is to take a ride on the Teleferico, a cable car which carries people from the base of Volcan Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma, providing breathtaking views (and a breathtaking altitude). The view from Cerro Panecillo hill is also spectacular.

Quito dates back to Incan and even pre-Incan times, but little evidence of this ancient history remains. What is very evident is the Spanish heritage of the city. The best examples of colonial architecture include the 16th-century La Compania de Jesus church; the white homes of La Ronda, Quito's most picturesque colonial neighbourhood; the St Francis church and monastery, thought to be the oldest in South America; and the Plaza de la Independencia, lined with grand old buildings.

If you only visit one museum in Quito, make it the Museo del Banco Central, an impressively housed modern museum full to bursting with ancient cultural artefacts. Other worthwhile museums include the Museo Mannela Saenz, the Museo de la Ciudad, and the Guayasamin Museum.

Plaza de la Independencia, Quito

Plaza de la Independencia

The Plaza de la Independencia, also known as Plaza Grande, has always been the heart of the city of Quito, and as the hub of the old centre it is the best place to sit, enjoy a meal, and people-watch. Around the square...  see full details

The Monastery on Plaza San Francisco

Plaza San Francisco

The Plaza San Francisco is a large cobbled square with the western side completely dominated by the enormous façade of the Iglesia de San Francisco and its belltower, as well as the Monastery of the same name. It is a peaceful place, without the...  see full details

Banco Central, Quito, Ecuador

Museo del Banco Central

One of the few sights in Quito's New City is the round glass-plated building of the Casa de la Cultura. It houses a theatre, a cinema, and two museums, the most impressive being the Museo del Banco Central. Ecuador's premier museum, it contains an...  see full details

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