Quito Travel Guide
Ecuador's capital offers a rich holiday experience for those who want a good dollop of culture with their break. Quito's mountain location means that the views are always impressive and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site indicates the wealth of things to see and do within the confines of the city.
In the Andes in northern Ecuador
Average temperatures in Quito generally hover around the mild 15 degrees C mark, reaching highs of 26 degrees C during the day and dropping to a low of seven degrees C at night. Summertime falls between June and September, with winter thought to be the wettest season.
The airport is situated towards the northern part of the city and is easily accessible via road, whether by bus, taxi or a rented car. The closest hotels to the airport are around 15 to 20 minutes' drive away.
The majority of tourists stay in the new town part of Quito, as establishments such as bars and restaurants are mainly located there. A number of budget, mid-range and luxury hotels are available in the new town, with the old town offering the ideal base from which to see the city's historical attractions. Good value rooms, including breakfast, can be had for about $80 (£40).
Quito offers a host of beautiful buildings and monuments to see during the day. Try visiting one of the many churches scattered throughout the city and venture to see the big statue of the Virgin Mary (known as La Virgen del Panecillo) near the old town. Numerous museums provide a fascinating insight into the city's past, with the Museo del Banco Central being a particular highlight.
Quito boasts a number of large shopping complexes featuring big name stores - think of the likes of Diesel, Lacoste and Benetton - selling relatively low-priced items. Stalls and markets selling homemade goods such as clothing are also prevalent across the city.
Just outside Quito is the famous Mitad del Mundo - or Middle of the World - monument, which marks the place at which it was confirmed that the Earth has a spherical shape. Or why not travel out to Cotopaxi, the site of the world's highest active volcano and Cotopaxi National Park?
If you're planning your family holiday around seasonal events, Christmas and Easter are ideal times to travel to Quito as a number of child-friendly activities and shows take place during these times. You could venture out to the town of Calderon to see its unique marzipan dolls, or take a trip to southern Ecuador to see another UNESCO World Heritage site, the snowy Cuenca.
The El Trole bus system is a cheap way of moving around the city, but if you prefer to travel in comfort a taxi is probably the best - and safest - option. The Metrobus seems to be the chosen method of transport for those looking to visit the Mitad del Mundo monument.