When traveling abroad, people can get overwhelmed with their desire to see, taste, and experience everything the country or city has to offer, especially if you have never traveled there before.
When I decided to head to Ecuador, I didn’t know where to start. Many of my friends and family members had never been to Ecuador, and we were asked why we chose there over other more popular destinations in South America. Traveling to Europe or around the US was easy, but Ecuador had far fewer pieces of content available on the internet.
I fell in love with the beautiful country, and I want to help you avoid the situation I found myself in before heading down there. Below is a list of my top 10 things to do in and near Quito, Ecuador.
Top 10 Things to Do in Ecuador
10. Mitad del Mundo
Mitad del Mundo is the actual middle of the world!
This is where the equator splits the earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. Entry into this amazing site is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.
On the premise, there are different museums and displays dedicated to celebrating the Ecuadorian culture. There are also stations where you can perform the balancing an egg at the middle of the world experiment and a few others. In addition to museums, there are lots of little shops on the premises.
If you are in the mood for a beer, there is a brewery that serves delicious, refreshing beer by the pint or in a flight. The easiest way to get there is to take an Uber or a cab from Quito.
9. Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Cristobal Ortega Maila
If you venture out of the city to Mital del Mundo, this unique museum by Ecuadorian sculptor and revered sun painter Ortega Maila is close by.
While at the museum, you will learn about the indigenous cultures and see beautiful works of art that represent the Incans in Ecuador. Inside the temple you can see works of art that depict life and the gods of the indigenous people.
8. Plaza Focha
This lively square is a great place to grab a coffee or a beer at the end of a day exploring the beautiful city of Quito.
If you are looking for a place to go out at night, Plaza Focha has many bars, restaurants, and places to meet people. Many younger tourist flock to this area, and it is a great place to watch a futbol game.
7. Basílica del Voto Nacional (aka Basilica of the National Vote)
When you arrive in Quito, one monument can be seen standing above all the rest, Basílica del Voto Nacional. If you are looking for beautiful neogothic churches, look no further. This church is just outside of historic downtown Quito, and boast beautiful interior and exterior full of art depicting beautiful Ecuadorian culture.
6. Crater hike and Crater hotel outside of Quito
Near Mital del Mundo is a gorgeous crater that has become breathtaking farmland and a national park. Not only is the hotel and the views from the hotel stunning, but the food at the restaurant on site was delicious. If you have time, relax and get pampered in the Crater spa. You can enjoy the amazing view of the crater from the spa, and take time to pamper yourself.
5. Teleférico de Quito
The Teleferico is a gondola lift on the edge of Quito gives visitors breathtaking views of the city nestled in the Andes. As the gondola rises, don’t miss the beautiful mountains and city scape behind you for a mere $11 per person. There are hikes all around the top of the top of the Teleferico, so don’t miss a chance to see beautiful streams and meadows at the top of Quito.
4. Food of Quito
One thing we learned when we arrived in Quito was that this beautiful city nestled in the Andes has been a place that many Europeans have impacted the culture and food. There is a strong Italian presence as well as Spanish and French all across the city. In addition to Europe influence, the native dishes of Ecuador pull influences from the amazingly diverse landscapes of the country. From the mountain regions that can grow any type of fruit or vegetable to the coast with spectacular seafood, your palate will be overjoyed as you eat your way through Quito.
3. Hiking Cotopaxi to the Jose Ribas refuge
For those of you who are venturing to Ecuador, visiting Cotopaxi National Park needs to be high on your list. Just 31 miles from south Quito, Cotopaxi is a magnificent, active volcano and the centerpiece of the national park. One of my life goals was to hike a volcano and see a glacier, and Cotopaxi give you the chance to do just that. We hired a tour guide for the day who helped us navigate to the park and then hike up to the Jose Ribas refuse. This hike is not for the faint of heart, since the refuse is nearly 16,400 feet up. When you arrive at the refuse, you can choose to go a bit further across the beautiful rust colored terrain to see a peak of the glacier. If you feel like you are in decent enough shape, this was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I highly recommend.
2. Quito Botanical Gardens
While this doesn’t come up on many lists, this is one of the most impressive botanical gardens I have ever seen. According to the director of the botanical garden, this is the first botanical garden in all of South America, and he might be bias but it is also the most impressive. In this beautiful park you can find a variety of plants from around Ecuador as well as a beautiful and impressive bonsai garden. This gem is nestled in Parque La Carolina, a busy and beautiful park in the heart of Quito. Right outside of the botanical gardens, you can see vendors selling sweets, honey, and fresh fruit. Don’t miss this beautiful hidden gem when you visit Quito.
Quilota is caldera in the heart of the Andes mountains, and hands down one of the most spectacular sites I saw on my trip. At one point, Quilotoa was an active volcano that last erupted in the late 13th century during which, the top of the volcano collapsed creating a caldera. Water has since filled up the caldera and transformed this volcano into a must-see crater lake and destination in Ecuador. Located about 110 miles away from Quito, this wonder can be explore on your own, however it is best to go with a tour group. The hike down is fairly steep, so coming back up can be a trek, especially with how high in the Andes you are when you visit Quilotoa.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about this amazing city like where the best places to eat around the city are, check out our other articles. Also, we love your feedback, comments, and recommendations. Thanks for tuning in!