The capital of Ecuador has a setting that few cities can match. During the 13th Century it was the prosperous centre of the Kingdom of Quitus. It later became the northern capital of the Inca Empire and in the 16th and 17th Centuries, colonial architects built formidable temples, monasteries and mansions, creating an urban jewel that has been designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
- Enjoy stunning city views from the top of El Panecillo Hill
- Have a foot in both hemispheres at the ‘Middle of the World’ monument
- Marvel at the Baroque splendours of La Compania church
- See the glittering splendour in the Hall of Gold
- Live like a local visiting markets, hat makers & chocolatiers !
A stay in Quito must include a visit to the Colonial sector with its 400 years of incredible Spanish heritage. Plaza de la Independencia is the principal square in the city and is home to the Presidential Palace, which is a beautiful white building flanked by handsomely uniformed presidential guards. The cathedral is also on the plaza and is a grand building with a variety of interesting statues, paintings and artistic features. There are also a number of even more richly decorated Baroque churches, chapels and monasteries in and around the centre such as the Church of La Merced and the Church of Santo Domingo.
El Panecillo (‘the little bread loaf’) is the small rounded hill that dominates the old town and it has a huge statue of La Virgen de Quito with her crown of stars, eagle’s wings and chained dragon and this is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Also from the top of the hill you can enjoy panoramic views of not only the city, but also of the chain of volcanoes that are the backbone of central Ecuador.
The Quito Observatory is the oldest on the continent and is still used for astronomy and meteorological purposes. You can also visit the Middle of the World, the very centre of the earth, at latitude 0° and have a foot in both hemispheres!