Ecuador’s capital city, Quito’s dramatically beautiful location high in the Andes makes it an unforgettable place to visit in South America. Nestled in a valley between mountain peaks, Quito has the most stunning scenery, along with beautiful parks, wonderful colonial architecture and some of the friendliest locals you will ever meet.
Quito is known for its Old Town, a part of the city that you shouldn’t miss out when exploring! The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site with an abundance of colonial buildings, monuments, museums and churches, such as the incredible Basilica del Voto Nacional, which has a bell tower from which you’ll get the best panoramic views over Quito. Other particularly beautiful sites to see are Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús, an ornate, green-and-gold domed church, and the awe-inspiring cathedral in Plaza Grande.
If you’re an outdoorsy-type, you’ll love Quito for its wonderful hiking trails and abundance of natural beauty. Just outside of the city’s Bellavista neighbourhood is the 14,000-acre Parque Metropolitano, the largest urban park in South America. This is one of the most wonderfully peaceful places to hike in the fresh mountain air. Alternatively, hop aboard the TelefériQo sky tram which will take you up Volcán Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma where you can enjoy breathtaking views over Quito and the surrounding mountainous landscape. From here – if you’re feeling brave – you can embark on a three-hour hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha, just make sure you have a good level of fitness, have enquired about safety measures and are acclimatised to Quito’s altitude before you go.
With so many great restaurants, Quito is also the perfect place for foodies. For delicious traditional Ecuadorian food, head to La Choza, where you can feast on llapingachos (fried mashed-potato pancakes with cheese) and steaks, whilst enjoying Andean music in a bright and friendly atmosphere. Another wonderful Ecuadorian restaurant is Theatrum, a luxuriously decorated restaurant on the 2nd floor of Teatro Sucro, which has a five-course tasting menu filled with Ecuadorian delights. Lastly, Cafetería Modelo, one of the city’s oldest cafes, is a great place to sample some traditional Ecuadorian snacks like quimbolitos, sweet dumplings made from corn, and empanadas made with plantain dough.
Quito really is an unforgettable and unique city to visit, and you definitely will not regret making a trip there!