The order of the Discalced Carmelites founded a monastery in Quito in 1653. Before it became a monastery, the Carmen Alto Convent (Monasterio de Carmen Alto) was famous as the location where Saint Mariana of Jesus lived and died, and today, thousands of pilgrims make their way here each year to honor this famous Ecuadorian saint.
Two of the convent’s old cloisters now house a museum, where various pieces of religious art are on display, alongside images and artifacts from the convent’s centuries long history and information on the day-to-day lives of the nuns who live there. The rest of the building still functions as a working monastery. The nuns living within are famous for producing traditional sweets, including limones desamargados — small hollowed out lemons filled with a sweet creamy center.
Much of the information presented within the museum is in Spanish, so be sure to bring along a small pocket dictionary or translation app.