Quito, Ecuador » Entertainment » Attractions

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. It is an unmatched spectacle. This extravagant and beautiful church is among the important religious architectures left back by the Spanish.

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

San Francisco Church

At the corner of Plaza San Francisco lies Quito’s oldest church and monastery, the San Francisco Church, built by Francisco Cantuña. This church has been in existence since the time, the foundation of Quito was laid. The white washed walls, gold leaf ceiling, stained glass windows and the baroque carvings bring alive Quito’s historical times. It is believed that the church’s foundation lies on the palace of Huayna Capac, an Inca Emperor. So many relics from Inca and aboriginal times have been unearthed here.

Address: Cuenca 477, Quito 170401, Ecuador

Itchimbia Cultural Complex and Park

One of the cities most impressive cultural centres, the Itchimbia Cultural Complex and Park lies on a hill east of the Old Town. This glass and metal building, at 2,900m, offers the most stunning and panoramic view of the Pichincha Volcano, the peak of Cayambe, and the historic centre of Quito. As per archaeological findings, the hill was held in high esteem by the Caras tribe as they worshipped the sun to the east. The area is also rich in natural vegetation and boasts of 400 different assortments of flowers, 40 species of birds, and a wetland, right in the centre of the city. Today, it is the venue for many exhibitions and cultural events that take place in the city.

Address: Jose Maria Aguirre, Quito 170136, Ecuador

Mirador El Panecillo

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

La Plaza de la Independencia / La Plaza Grande

Also called La Plaza Grande, this square became an important place in the 16th century when the Spanish built a well here for their water supply in fear of the Incas who might poison the water supply. Later on, it became a buzzing entertainment and social centre for Quito citizens. The square is bordered by the Government palace on the west, City Hall in the east, Archbishop’s Palace in the north and the Cathedral in the south.

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

El Teleferico

El Teleferico has turned out to be Quito’s major attractions since it opened in 2005. The ‘Teleferico’ cable car is an excellent option to have stunning panoramic view of the Pichincha Volcano and the Quito landscape. The eighteen gondolas trip that take you up the mountain range lasts for only 10 mins, but as you reach the altitude of 4050m, you will be welcomed by a grand scenery with an additional bonus of coffee, snacks, oxygen masks and horse rides. Once you reach there, you can easily start your hiking journey to the snow capped volcanoes. And as you reach the base of the mountain, an amusement park, restaurants and cafes are at your service and you can enjoy a great picnic with your family. You can also buy some souvenirs from the gift shop for your family.

Address: Fulgencio Araujo, Quito 170527, Ecuador

Pichincha Volcanoes

The cluster of Pichincha Volcanoes which lie to the west of Quito, consist of two volcanoes namely ‘Rucu Pichincha’ and ‘Guagua’. Both these volcanoes are separated by a distance of just 10km. While the ‘Rucu Pichincha’ towers to around 4,776m, ‘Guagua’ is its small brother at 4,627m. In Quechua, Guagua means ‘child’, while Rucu means “old person”. Whilst Rucu is an inactive volcano, Guagua is still active, with caldera spurting and covering the city of Quito with ash in 1999. The Pichincha mountains also got famous due to “Battle of Pichincha” that was fought on these ranges in 1822. A variety of animal and bird species thrive on the natural vegetation that exists in abundance here. For tourists, hiking to these mountain ranges via the El Teleferico cable car, is the main attraction..

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

Jardin Botanico (Botanical gardens) / Parque de la Carolina

Parque de la Carolina or La Carolina Park is one of most visited hangouts in Quito with a number of facilities available in its vicinity. Soccer fields, tennis courts, horse riding, jogging and walking tracks attract many sport lovers. Also there is a man made lagoon where can enjoy water activities such canoeing and paddleboats. Jardin Botanico gardens are also situated within the park which is well known for showcasing the flora and fauna of Ecuador. The garden’s main feature is its orchidarium which contains more than 3,500 species of orchids and other specific plants.

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

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 the middle of the world is a piece of land where a monument 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 which explains the culture and tradition of Ecuador's indigenous tribes. Also nearby is located the Intiñan Solar Museum, an astronomy museum, which is worth a visit if you are interested in knowing the Coriolis Effect, etc. For entertainment, there are a number of cafes and restaurants and tourist shops.

Address: Manuel Cordova Galarza SN, Quito, Ecuador

Parque Metropolitano

Parque Metropolitano is the largest urban park in Quito spread over an area of 571,176-hectares. Its highest point is at 2988m, but being close to the equator, the temperatures are pleasing throughout the year. The park which is located in the territory of Loma de Guanguiltagua, north of Quito, is mainly made of eucalyptus forest trails and abundant sculptures. The park has been divided into four sections, so that families can enjoy their day outs and barbecues. Hiking, mountain biking, walking and running are the favoured outdoor activities in this area. If you watch the scenery from the eastern side of the park you get a glimpse of the Antisana, Cotopaxi and the Guayllabamba river basin.

Address: Guangüiltagua, Quito 170135, Ecuador

Some famous churches include:

  • La Catedral church
  • Church and Convent of St. Dominic (Santo Domingo)
  • Church and Convent of La Merced
  • Basílica del Voto Nacional
  • La Compania church
  • Guapulo church
  • San Agustin church

Some natural attractions include forests, parks, volcano sites, wildlife reserves namely:

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