Visit Quito: a city of neighborhoods where historic plazas, cathedrals, and museums of the country’s artists are within a short ride from most parts of the city where travelers stay.
The capital is a place to explore the culture of the country, see the city up close and from a birds-eye vista, and experience the hustle and bustle of modern life in Ecuador.
Keep reading for five things that you can do in Quito in a day.
The Basilica, on the edge of the historic center, was built starting in 1892 and was blessed by the Pope in 1985. Its two towers are open to the public and can be climbed-ascending high into the sky for an unmatched view of Quito and the surrounding volcanoes.
Tickets are purchased at the gift shop outside the entrance to the church, and the journey begins with a fleet of steps that take you to a loft overlooking the sanctuary on the inside and a deep stained-glass window looking outward.
The trek continues up more steps to the clock tower, and across the roof of the sanctuary to the northern spiral. To reach the top, one has to navigate a series of ladders on the outside of the cathedral, a hurdle that is rewarded with a stunning view of the historic center and beyond. Look at the roofline when you are there-in most places, the animals of the Galapagos stand guard instead of gargoyles.
La Capilla de Hombre or the Chapel of Man is a striking structure built by Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin as a testament to the suffering of the people of Latin America.
Guayasamin has been called the Ecuadorian Picasso, his painting portray stark portraits balanced by striking colors and backdrops.
The Chapel of Man houses a vast display of the artist’s work, from floor to ceiling murals to collections of his earlier work.
The pyramid-shaped building sits high on a side of Quito’s valley in the Bellavista neighborhood, giving an outstanding view of the city and the neighboring valleys on a sunny day.
Guapulo is a neighborhood of Quito that straddles the area between the city and the valleys of Cumbaya and Tumbaco.
The up and down district’s cobblestone streets start after Hotel Quito and descend past small restaurants, shops, and cafes to a historic plaza that is the site of the Guapulo church, a towering building dating back to 1596.
The Teleferico, climbing the Pichincha side of Quito’s valley, is a journey out of the city’s center that reveals the length and breadth of the city.
Arriving at the top of the gondola at 12,943 ft, you are greeted with a view of the entirety of Quito that extends to the peaks of the neighboring Cotopaxi, and Cayambe volcanoes poking through the clouds.
Quito’s artisan market, located on Jorge Washington and Juan Leon Mera in the new town, is the place to find Ecuadorian textiles, clothes, jewelry, bags, hats, and gifts. Traditional and modern designs adorn the rows of stalls piled high with merchandise, and if you’re feeling lucky take a go at haggling. Be warned, the merchants are well-versed in the practice, and you might end up with more than you bargained for.
The number of places to explore in Quito is astounding. Up-and-coming neighborhoods in the historic center and around the city are becoming hot spots for culture and entertainment. The origins of the city date back to before the Spanish, and almost everywhere you look there is a plaza, a museum, or a church that puts another piece to the puzzle into place.
Disclaimer-Depending on the day, the weather, the traffic, and on your travel ambitions at the moment, not all of these places and activities can be done in one day. I like to stack the deck-so if you manage to check all five off the list, good on you and leave us a comment about your favorite.