Quito, Ecuador » Entertainment » Attractions

Quito is known as one of the most scenic cities of South America. The capital city of Ecuador is blessed with pleasant weather all year round and is a wonderful mix of old and new. The historic centre of Quito has one of the best-preserved historic centres in the Americas.

Its iconic Old Town showcases an array of monuments and architecture. The hiking, biking spots are a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. Quito is a great starting point before exploring the cloud forest of Ecuador.

Top 10 Attractions in Quito

Top 10 Attractions in Quito

La Compañía de Jesús

La Compañía de Jesús church is considered to be one of the best masterpieces in South America. The church’s construction itself took nearly 160 years to build from 1605 to 1765. The 7-tonne gold leaf covering the ceiling, which has always been the highlight of the church, is something to watch out for. This beautiful church is among the important religious architectures left back by the Spanish.

Address: García Moreno N10-43, Quito 170401, Ecuador

San Francisco Church

The Church and Convent of St. Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco) is situated at the corner of Plaza San Francisco. This Quito’s oldest church and monastery has been in existence since the time Quito’s foundation was laid. The church houses more than 3000 works of colonial art, the sculpture of the Virgin of Quito (an icon of the city) and the Franciscan library.

Address: Cuenca 477, Quito 170401, Ecuador

Itchimbía Park

On the Itchimbía hill there is a park called Itchimbía park (Parque Itchimbía), run by Consorcio Ciudad-Ecogestión, a private company. The park includes an exhibition centre called a Centro Cultural Itchimbía, a glass and metal building that offers the most stunning and panoramic view of the Pichincha Volcano, the peak of Cayambe, and the historical centre of Quito. Spread across an area of 133 acres (54 hectares), the park is rich in natural vegetation and boasts 400 different assortments of flowers, 40 species of birds, and a wetland.

Address: Jose Maria Aguirre, Quito 170136, Ecuador

El Panecillo

Located between southern and central Quito is El Panecillo, a hill. This popular landmark is home to the Virgen de Quito, a statue stepping on a snake that is made up of aluminium. The Panecillo hill has held the value of a fortress and a lookout for defence purposes. The views of the city and volcanoes are fantastic if you are there on a clear day.

The Mirador El Panecillo is a statue that stands atop the Panecillo which held immense religious significance during the pre-Inca, Inca and Spanish rule. The statue known as ‘Virgin of Quito’ is viewed as a protector of the city with the symbolic crushed serpent below her feet. The Panecillo hill has held the value of a fortress and a lookout for defence purposes. The Panecillo hill has also taken part and made its presence felt in the Independence battle of Quito.

Address: Calle Sucre 103, Quito 170401, Ecuador

Plaza de la Independencia

Also called La Plaza Grande (Independence Square), is a public square of Quito, Ecuador. Its important feature is the monument to the independence heroes of 1809. The square is surrounded by the Archbishop's Palace, City Hall, Carondelet Palace, ad the Municipal Palace. It has become a buzzing entertainment and social centre for locals.

Address: Chile St Venezuela, García Moreno, Quito 170401, Ecuador

Teleferico

Teleferico has turned out to be Quito’s major attraction since it opened in 2005. The ‘Teleferico’ cable car is an excellent option to experience a panoramic view of the Pichincha Volcano and the Quito landscape. The cable car ride of 10 mins takes you up the side of Pichincha and comes to rest on top of Cruz Loma. At the base station, you can cycle, hike or take rides at the amusement park. There are restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops from where you can buy gifts for your loved ones.

Address: Fulgencio Araujo, Quito 170527, Ecuador

Pichincha Volcanoes

The cluster of Pichincha Volcanoes which lie to the west of Quito consists of two volcanoes namely ‘Rucu Pichincha’ and ‘Guagua’. A distance of 10km separates both volcanoes. While the ‘Rucu Pichincha’ towers around 4,776m, ‘Guagua’ is at 4,627m. In Quechua, Guagua means ‘child’, while Rucu means “old person”. Whilst Rucu is an inactive volcano, Guagua is still active. The Pichincha mountains are famous due to the “Battle of Pichincha” fought on these ranges in 1822. A variety of animal and bird species thrive on the natural vegetation that exists in abundance over here.

Address: Av. República del Salvador 3582 y Portugal, Quito, Ecuador

La Carolina Park

Parque de la Carolina or La Carolina Park is one of the most visited hangouts in Quito, with many facilities available in its vicinity. This 165 acres park with soccer fields, tennis courts, horse riding, jogging and walking tracks attract many sports lovers. There is a small pond where you can enjoy water activities such as canoeing and paddle boats.

Address: Pasaje # 34 Interior Parque de Rumipamba E6-264 y, Quito 170135, Ecuador

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo

North of Quito, within a half-hour drive, is the place where the first measurements were made to discover that the shape of the Earth is an oblate spheroid. Mitad del Mundo, which means Middle of the World City is a tract of land where the ‘Monument to the Equator’ is built to mark the location of the equator that passes through the country (the country is named so after this intersecting line). Actually, the equator line passes a few hundred feet away from the monument which can be traced using a GPS positioning system. The monument houses a three-storied museum that explains the culture and tradition of Ecuador's indigenous tribes. Also Intiñan Solar Museum, an astronomy museum is worth a visit, if you are interested in knowing the Coriolis Effect. For entertainment, there are several cafes and restaurants and tourist shops.

Address: Manuel Cordova Galarza SN, Quito, Ecuador

Parque Metropolitano de Quito

Parque Metropolitano is the largest urban park in Quito, spread over an area of 700 hectares (1,730 acres). The park features an abundance of cloud forest plants and animals. A really big and beautiful park, ideal for strolling with pets, exercise and cycling. Families can enjoy their day outs and barbecues. Hiking, mountain biking, walking and running are the favoured outdoor activities in this area.

Address: Guangüiltagua, Quito 170135, Ecuador

Few more churches in Quito (other than mentioned above are):

  • The Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito
  • The Basilica del Voto Nacional
  • The Santo Domingo Church
  • Basilica of our Lady of the Merced
  • The Church of El Sagrario
  • Carmen Alto Church and Convent
  • El Carmen Bajo Church and Convent
  • San Agustín Church

Few more natural attractions like forests, parks, volcano sites, wildlife reserves are:

  • Antisana Ecological Reserve
  • Cayambe - Coca Ecological Reserve
  • Papallacta & Oyacachi thermal springs
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • Mindo Nambillo cloud forest
  • Illiniza volcano
  • Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge