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 slopes of Volcano Guagua Pichincha take over the western side. The volcano stands tall at 4,790m, and the deepest canyons make their mark on the eastern side. All these geographical settings set out the layout for a long 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. In Quito, a museum is built on a place that is believed to be the location of the equator.
Volcanoes surrounding Quito
Quito is surrounded by many volcanoes, the closest volcano Pichincha is on the western side of the city. Quito is the only capital city in the world that is constantly under the threat of an active volcano in the form of Pichincha. Pichincha has two openings, Rucu Pichincha at 4700m above sea level and Guagua Pichincha at 4794m.
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. The major eruption of Pichincha was in 1660 when the city was covered by more than 10-inches of volcanic ash. The latest eruption was in October 1999 when ash was deposited on the city. In November 2002, the volcano Reventador erupted and deposited ash particles on the city.
Even though Quito is situated at a higher altitude of 2,850m (9350 feet), it doesn’t experience harsh winters due to its closeness to the equator, however, the climate is pleasant and cool all year round.
The average maximum temperature is 21°C (70.5°F) during the day and dips down as low as 9.8°C (49.6°F) at night. Quito enjoys an annual average temperature of 15.6°C (60.1°F). The summer season, known as the dry season, is from June to September, while the winter or wet season is from October to May.