Quito, Ecuador » City Info » Geography

The capital of Ecuador, Quito is positioned in the country’s northern highlands in the Guayllabamba river basin. The city is flanked by the Andes Mountains on one side, while the western side is taken over by the slopes of Volcano Guagua Pichincha. As the volcano stands tall at 4,790m, the deepest canyons make their mark on the eastern side. All these geographical settings set out the layout for a lengthy narrow Guayllabamba river basin valley on which the city is built.

After Bolivia’s, La Paz, Quito is the second-highest capital city at 2,850m and lies 25km south of the equator. Ecuador is famous for the equator line passing through the country and in Quito a museum is built on the place which is generally believed to be the location of the equator.

Volcanoes surrounding Quito

Quito is characterised by the high number of volcanoes that surround it, especially it’s oldest volcano Pichincha which is on the western side of the city. Quito is the only capital city in the world which is constantly under the threat of an active volcano the form of Pichincha. Pichincha has two openings Rucu Pichincha at 4700m above sea level and Guagua Pichincha at 4794m.

The last major eruption of Pichincha was in 1660 when the city was covered in more than 10-inches of volcanic ash. But minor eruptions have been happening since on and haven’t had a major effect on the city’s activities. The last eruption which occurred in 2006 didn’t have a damaging effect on the city, but ash spurts did disturb the daily life of Quito citizens, including the closure of the international airport.

Nearby volcanoes include Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Antisana, and Cayambe of the Central Cordillera based on the eastern side of Quito. The western side is covered by the Western Cordillera which includes the volcanoes Illiniza, Atacazo, Pichincha, and Pululahua.


Even though Quito is situated at a higher altitude of 2,850m (9350 feet), it doesn’t face harsh winters due to its closeness to the equator. In fact due to the contrasting situation, it enjoys mild days and cool nights all year round.

The average temperature is 19°C (66.2°F) during the day and dips down as low as 10°C (50°F) at night. Quito enjoys an annual average temperature of 15°C (59°F). Summer season, known as the dry season lasts from June to September while the winter season or wet season ranges from October to May.