The capital of Ecuador in South America, is the jewel of the Andes, find out the top 10 things to do in Quito in 2021 as well as where to eat during your winter escape to Quito, Ecuador.
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Must See Places in Quito’s City for 2021
Located in South America between Colombia and Peru.
Quito was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1978, and is considered one of the best places in South America to visit.
It’s Old town includes plenty of Spanish and native American architectural heritage.
Quito’s streets are a mix of historical and cultural sites alongside museums, monasteries, squares, viewpoints, galleries and other modern attractions to enjoy.
Facts you didn’t know about Quito
- Quito was the northern capital of the Inca empire, in fact the last emperor, Atahualpa was born in Quito. Incas worshiped the Sun God, and traveled throughout their empire so they could be in the exact location where the sun no longer had a shadow.
- The name Quito comes from the tsa’fiki and cha’fiki, meaning “Qui” -from quitsa-, who speaks like “middle” and “To” or “Tu”, meaning earth. So, Quito translates as: “Land in the Middle of the World”.
- Quito is just a few degrees away from the Equator and generates special sunlight and weather because of its location and height.
- Quito is the second highest capital in the world! This means the sun is very strong here and altitude sickness needs to be prepared for.
- Quito is the gateway to Ecuador, and is often the starting point for trips to the Galapagos Islands, Andes mountains and even Amazon tours from Quito.
Top 10 Things to do in Quito during the Winter Season 2021
La Mitad del Mundo
One of my favourite places, the middle of the world or La mitad del Mundo, is located at the latitude 0-0-0 in San Antonio’s village.
There is a 30m high monument with a panoramic 360° terrace, and an ethnographic museum.
The museum holds information about the countries history, and how to measure the Equator line.
There are also plenty of handicraft and souvenir shops as well as Ecuadorian restaurants.
Schedule: Monday-Sunday (09h00 – 18h00)
Price: $5 – $15
Located in Quito’s old city, this hill is also known as Shungoloma, or Panecillo by its curious resemblance to a “muffin”.
It is the best natural viewpoint of Quito, and includes a 41m high aluminum monument of the Virgin of the Panecillo or Legarda.
There are plenty of handicrafts and souvenirs in the vicinity.
It’s also worth trying the “canelazo”, which is a hot drink traditional to Quito, in some restaurants at the viewpoint or in the traditional neighborhood of “La Ronda” in the evenings.
Schedule: Monday-Wednesday (09h00-17h00) Thursday-Sunday (09h00 – 21h00)
Carondelet’s palace, is in independence square and was built on the ancient palace of the Inca’s empire, which was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors.
You can tour inside the magnificent building, get to know the main halls of the palace, as well as visit the museum where you can find gifts, both national and international, that were delivered to Ecuador’s presidents in the past and which are currently part of the Palace’s heritage.
Schedule: Monday-Sunday (09h00 – 18h00). Call previously to schedule the tour
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús
The most important baroque jewel in Quito’s old town, showing the mixture of styles representing the Colonial America baroque art.
It was built by hundreds of artists, painters, artisans, and inside it’s completely symmetrical, the columns, pillars and altars are mostly covered in gold leaf, and there are plenty of paintings, sculptures and altarpieces that belong to the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city and an invaluable artistic heritage.
Schedule: Monday- Thursday (09h30 – 18h30). Friday (9h30 – 17h30) Saturday (9h30 – 16h00) – Sunday (12h30 – 16h00).
Price: National and foreigner students $3.50 Foreigner $5.00
Museo de Guayasamín- Capilla del Hombre
La Capilla del Hombre is a cultural center, located in Bellavista’s Neighborhood, on Guanguiltagua Hill, this privileged place is one of kind, Why? Well this museum was built and created to display art work with murals, sculptures and architecture made by Oswaldo Guayasamín, one of the most recognized artists in Ecuador.
The visit also includes the tour of the artist’s house museum where you can visit every corner including his workplace that collects several pieces of pre-Columbian and colonial collection, a perfect place to appreciate the art of Quito.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (10h00 – 17h00).
Price: Adults $8.00. Students $4.00
El Templo de la Patria / Temple Museum of the Nation
The Temple Museum of the Nation, is located in the skirts of Pichincha volcano, just 2 miles away from Quito´s old town, it is known as Cima de la Libertad, (Summit of Liberty).
On May 24 of 1822, the battle between the armies of Spain and the rebels from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and more than 10 countries, took place to liberate the current territory of Ecuador from the Spanish empire.
There is an incredible panoramic view of the city, as well as battle artefacts that can be visited in the museum.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (09h00 – 17h30).
Teleférico de Quito/ Quito’s Cable car
One of the fun things to do in Quito Ecuador South America is explore its nature with the cable car.
Located in one of the hills of Pichincha volcano, at 4050 meters high, it’s possible to see 14 volcanoes surrounding the city, in a range of 15 to 200 miles away.
The cable car rises almost 3000 feet in just 20 minutes. At the top you can enjoy the views of Rucu Pichincha volcano 4530 meters (13500 feet), or you can hike to the top of the Rucu.
It is strongly recommended to take an official travel guide, as the weather changes in minutes from sunny to foggy and it’s easy to get lost.
La Basílica del voto Nacional
If you love heights you have to visit the most iconic church, on top of a hill.
It’s the largest neo gothic Christian temple in South America, and has two 115-meters-high towers, which you can climb to the top of through several sets of stairs.
The construction started on 1883, and is still in progress, but it is one of the best places to see the city.
The church is decorated with animals from the Galapagos Islands, Pacific Coast, Andes and the Amazon rainforest.
Schedule: Monday- Friday (9h00 – 16h45) Saturday – Sunday and holidays (09h00 – 16h30).
Price: National $1.00 Foreigner $2.00
La Ronda is a traditional neighbourhood in Quito’s Downtown, where a lot of relevant politics, artists, musicians, painters, writers and quiteños in general lived.
They made valuable works that now are considered as national heritage. It is considered as a space with great cultural and historical heritage, and hosts few restaurants that offer typical food, coffee shops, bars, show halls, souvenir shops and cultural centers.
We can find the traditional drink “canelazo”, an alcoholic hot beverage made from cinnamon, which is delicious to taste.
Finally, in La Ronda traditional trades have been recovered, where we can find spaces that show the work of goldsmiths, manufacturers, craftsmen, etc. It is truly one of the best things to do in Quito Ecuador.
La Mariscal neighbourhood, is a popular place for tourists in Quito, in the afternoon you can walk the historical streets filled with palaces, castles, squares, parks and cultural spaces.
At night there is plenty of fun and entertainment here, including countless bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, all great Quito tourist attractions.
Places to eat in Quito, Ecuador
One of the top things to do in Quito is to try the local cuisine, here are some recommended places for you.
One of the best places to delight your palate, it offers an extensive menu of innovative recipes and unique flavors in vegetarian dishes, seafood, typical food, among others; They also offer traditional cooking classes.
Schedule: Monday- Sunday (12h00 – 21h45)
Restaurante El Cráter
A unique experience with a beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of the crater from this restaurant.
It is located at Volcano Pululahua, and is the only crater in the world which is inhabited!
You can taste a variety of typical dishes, seafood, wines, cocktails and appetisers according to your taste.
The restaurant has 4 different rooms with viewpoints of the crater. A place not to be missed and easy to see why it makes a list of the top things to do in Quito.
Schedule: Monday – Sunday and holidays (12h00 16:30 / 18:00-21h30)
La Galería Gourmet
A unique gallery located in La Mariscal, incorporates a fusion of crafts and Ecuadorian cuisine, where the best handmade brands of the country converge.
The characteristic aroma of cocoa is found throughout and products from coffee, chocolate and liquor to soaps, creams, crafts, books and others are on sale.
Unlike other galleries, here you can touch, smell and even eat some of the products. A spectacular place to treat yourself!
Schedule: Monday- Saturday (09h00 – 21h00) Sunday (10h00 – 20h00)
Cruz Verde Snacks / Colaciones
A traditional place, to sweeten your palate in a natural and artisanal style.
Luis Banda, a craftsman from Quito keeps the legacy left by his grandmother and his parents to prepare the famous snacks, a sweet typical of Quito, round white candies with peanuts in the center.
Schedule: Monday- Friday (07h00 – 17h00) Saturday (08h00 – 16h00)
Travel Tips for Quito Ecuador
If you travel to Quito, remember that you are 2800 meters above sea level, and Quito’s climate is changeable even in a single day.
- Pack sunscreen with SPF 50 or above, as the sun is stronger at this altitude, especially if you are hiking in South America.
- Always carry your own personal water supply as the air is thin and dry, along with the warmth you will feel thirsty very quickly.
- In winter there isn’t snow, but the city has strong rainstorms, so bring a raincoat with you daily.
- Quito can have 4 different weather conditions in one day, from burning sun, to clouds, rain, and fog, so bring layers.
Leave behind the cold winter and visit this magnificent city! Quito is the gateway to all of Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific coast, the Andes mountains and even the Amazon rainforest.