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Things to do in Quito

Things to do in  Quito

Welcome to Quito

Tumbling from the slopes of smoldering volcanoes, the typically South American city of Quito entices travelers with a thriving culinary scene and a UNESCO-listed Old Town that begs be explored on a walking tour—day or night. Before flocking to Ecuador’s biodiverse rain forests and national parks, visitors should cover the highlights of Ecuador’s capital on a sightseeing tour. Take in the views from Panecillo Hill during a guided hike or horseback riding tour; ride the Teléferico, South America’s highest gondola; and jump between two hemispheres at the Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo), otherwise known as the equator. Day trips from Quito include Otavalo Market, a sprawling indigenous market selling artisan treasures; Cotopaxi National Park, reigned over by the ash-capped Cotopaxi Volcano (where visitors can opt for horse or bike tours); Quilotoa Crater Lake, famed for its vivid emerald hue; and Mindo Nambillo cloud forest reserve, tours of which typically include a visit to a chocolate factory. Nature lovers should add a full-day excursion to the Ecuadorian highlands, where bears roam the forests freely and hot springs surrounding the Papallacta volcano beckon with healing properties. If you’re continuing your Ecuadorian adventure, Quito offers easy access to the Galapagos Islands; Baños (three hours away), renowned for adventure sports such as rafting, rappelling, and ziplining; and Cali and Salento in southern Colombia.

Top 15 attractions in Quito

#1
Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús)

Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús)

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Quito’s Jesuit Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), often called La Compañía, is one of the most significant works of Spanish baroque architecture in South America. The incredibly ornate and beautiful church boasts gold leaf ornamentation, gilded ceilings, and religious paintings by artists of the Quito School.More
#2
Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park

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With sweeping plains, rocky mountain trails, and glassy lagoons, Ecuador’s largest and most-visited national park is a spectacular setting for an outdoor adventure. Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Cotopaxi National Park is most famous for the much-photographed Cotopaxi volcano, the highest active volcano in South America.More
#3
Quilotoa Lagoon

Quilotoa Lagoon

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Quilotoa Lagoon was formed when a now-extinct volcano collapsed and the resulting crater was filled with a startling emerald-green lake, the color resulting from volcanic minerals. Just south of Quito, the village and lagoon of Quilotoa have become a popular day-trip destination, affording spectacular views and photo opportunities.More
#4
Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo)

Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo)

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The Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo) commemorates the site where the 18th-century French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine once calculated the globe's equatorial line. A trapezoidal monument in the center of the park houses a viewing platform; a small museum on the equator pays tributes to local indigenous cultures.More
#5
Quito Old Town

Quito Old Town

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The historical heart of Ecuador’s capital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito Old Town is the first port of call for most visitors to the city. Known for its cobblestone lanes, Spanish colonial architecture, and beautiful churches, it’s Quito’s most atmospheric district.More
#6
Mindo Cloud Forest

Mindo Cloud Forest

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Stretching over 48,000 acres (19,200 hectares) and reaching heights of 15,700 feet (4,778 meters), the Mindo Cloud Forest—part of the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve—is one of the most biologically diverse forests in the world.More
#7
Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi Volcano

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The Cotopaxi Volcano, one of South America’s most famous peaks and Ecuador’s most active volcano, is perhaps the most recognizable landmark along Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes. On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped cone all the way from Quito, but a closer exploration requires a trip to Cotopaxi National Park.More
#8
Basilica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional)

Basilica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional)

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One of the largest neo-Gothic churches in the Americas, La Basílica del Voto Nacional is an unmistakable feature of the skyline. Perched on a hill, the 19th-century beauty has three towers, which may be climbed to enjoy a fantastic city panorama. Technically unfinished, local legend opines that when the completion of the basilica arrives, so will the end of the world.More
#9
Independence Plaza (Plaza de la Independencia)

Independence Plaza (Plaza de la Independencia)

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Flanked by several important buildings—the Archbishop’s Palace, City Hall, Government Palace, and the cathedral—Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande to the locals) has been part of Quito’s streetscape since 16th century. What was once a central market and bullfighting arena is today a shady square.More
#10
San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco)

San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco)

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As Quito’s first church, construction of the Baroque-style San Francisco Church started in the 1530s, shortly after the Spaniards arrived, and lasted for over 100 years. Having sustained epic earthquakes, it’s in remarkably good shape and remains the largest, and arguably the loveliest, of the city’s original colonial structures. Franciscan fathers still live here and work on premises.More
#11
Termas de Papallacta Spa

Termas de Papallacta Spa

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For a day of pampering, drive from Quito through the Amazon rainforest to this privately-owned hotel spa and resort. Set on 625 acres (253 hectares) between the Cayambe and Antiisana volcanoes, Termas de Papallacta Spa features several natural thermal baths and nature trails along the banks of the Papallacta, a gentle river that flows across the property.More
#12
El Panecillo

El Panecillo

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Squint south toward the old town from Quito center and you can’t miss the El Panecillo, a hill that resembles apanecillo (little bread roll) with a statue of the Virgin Mary standing on top. At 9,895 feet (3,016 meters) above sea level, El Panecillo is Quito’s most popular lookout, affording 360-degree views of the city.More
#13
Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market

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Nestled in a valley at the foot of a volcano 57 miles (92 kilometers) north of Quito, Otavalo is a highland community of indigenous locals famous for their weaving skills and colorful textiles. The local Otavaleños who sell their wares at the daily market wear traditional clothing and have maintained their culture, way of dress, and identity.More
#14
Limpiopungo Lagoon

Limpiopungo Lagoon

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Tucked in a valley within the Cotopaxi National Park along Ecuador’s famed Avenue of the Volcanoes, Limpiopungo Lagoon is 12,400 feet (3,800 meters) above sea level. With the right light, this stunning body of water is a turquoise-colored mirror reflecting the beauty of the surrounding peaks.More
#15
Intiñan Solar Museum

Intiñan Solar Museum

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Located nearly at the precise Equatorial line, the family-friendly Intiñan Museum is an entertaining and educational stop on the outskirts of Quito. Meander through the interactive exhibits that demonstrate the physical phenomena unique to this special geographical position, using scientific methods developed by the Inca and their modern counterparts and presented in a fun and interactive way.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

How to Spend 2 Days in Quito

How to Spend 2 Days in Quito

Top activities in Quito

Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

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287
From
US$15.00
Street Food Essentials

Street Food Essentials

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From
US$80.00
Street Food + Local Drinks

Street Food + Local Drinks

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14
From
US$80.00
4-Days Andes and Amazon Journey

4-Days Andes and Amazon Journey

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From
US$1,345.00
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Quito

star-5
A great way to experience Quito in a day
Ann_W, Jun. 2022
Full Day Middle of the World, Cable Car and Quito City Shared Tour
The tour covered exactly what was stated and was a great way to see Quito in a day.
star-5
Excellent service
Jeff_W, Jun. 2022
Private Transfers to and from Quito Airport
I requested English option - this was perfect and she was able to tell me about Quito and Ecuador.
star-5
Wonderful Tour!
Barbara_B, May 2022
Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo
We would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit Quito.
star-5
Great Tour!
Rodney_F, May 2022
Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus
Excellent way to see very interesting points in Quito!
star-4
A nice tour which tales you to all major attractions in Quito
Erling_O, Apr. 2022
Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo
A very nice tour in and around Quito with all tha major attractions like the Linea ecuatorial, Telerifiqo, and the historielag part of Quito with nica plazas, churches, streets, etc
star-5
Good View of city.
Debby_M, Apr. 2022
Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus
We enjoyed seeing more of the city of Quito, had a minor mishap with falling object, but guide and passengers helped greatly!
star-5
Best of Baños
Ryan_S, Mar. 2022
Baños full day tour from Quito including all entrances and activities
It was a long day full of activities but well worth the time.
star-5
The Most Beautiful Hot Springs Tucked Away in the Andes!
Susan_B, Mar. 2022
Termas de Papallacta Hot Springs full day tour from Quito
The hot springs are beautiful and the hike along the River was really pretty.
star-5
Absolutely incredible tour!
Shannon_A, Mar. 2022
Mitad del Mundo and Teleferico Private tour
We got lucky that it was a great day to visit the Teleferico and it was an incredible experience.
star-5
Memories of the Amazon to last a lifetime!
hrkcmtymyd, Jun. 2022
4 Days Private Amazon Rainforest and Kichwa Culture Tour - RT from Quito
We speak Spanish but his English is excellent.
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Otavalo and other wonderful little towns
Patricia_T, Jun. 2022
Otavalo Market (PRIVATE Day Trip)
Seeing other parts of Ecuador outside of Quito was fun and allowed us to see the more relaxed areas.
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A Fun Day
Eric_S, May 2022
Mindo Cloud Forest Private Day Tour
We tried to be quick as we wanted to allow time to see the chocolate factory.
star-5
Perfect introduction to Quito
Cathy_D, May 2022
Night Tour in Quito with free time at La Ronda Street
6 of us shared the top of the double-decker bus and got to see all of the Quito highlights lit up at night.
star-5
I’d give it 10 stars if I could
Beth_R, May 2022
Middle Of The World, Hummingbirds' Paradise, and Craft Beer Tasting
We started at the monument to the middle of the world which is beautiful then went on to the geographic center of the world where we did a few fun activities on the equator.
star-5
Bucket List item ✔️
melissac, Mar. 2022
Baños full day tour from Quito including all entrances and activities
The waterfall was insanely gorgeous.
star-5
An amazing day trip in Ecuadorian nature!
Vamsi_D, Mar. 2022
Full-Day Quilotoa Lake Hiking Tour from Quito
I cannot recommend this trip enough for anyone looking to see some of the natural beauty of Ecuador, but who either cannot or does not want to do a several days trip.
star-5
Good experience and very nice tour guide.
Ken_C, Apr. 2022
Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo
This is a good day tour to get familiar around major attractions within the city of Quito.
star-5
See a lot in a short amount of time!
Victoria_W, Feb. 2022
Tour Cotopaxi & Quilotoa All in One - 1 Day
Overall, the only think I would change is having been able to see the Cotopaxi Volcano, but I chose to come to Ecuador during the winter months and fully recognize that no one can control Mother Nature when it comes to the clouds and the rains!
star-5
The tour was great!...
Dinyar_R, Feb. 2022
Quilotoa Lagoon from Quito - Private Tours
He pointed out interesting sites and in general was giving us interesting information during the entire drive (but made sure to pause when one of us had fallen asleep!
star-5
Amazing Andes
Carly_S, Jan. 2022
Mindo Cloud Forest
Eduardo was a very knowledgable and welcoming guide and was very flexible depending in what activities we wanted to do.
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All about Quito

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
ECT (UTC -5)
Country Code
+593
Language(s)
Spanish

People Also Ask

What is Quito popular for?

Ecuador’s capital city is best known for Quito Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to Basilica of the National Vow, one of the largest neo-Gothic churches in the Americas, and Independence Plaza. Quito is the gateway to the equator's Middle of the World monument and Cotopaxi National Park.

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How many days do you need in Quito?

Three days in Quito gives you time to soak up the culture and take a day trip further afield. Dedicate one day to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Quito Old Town; one to the capital’s museums and food markets; and another to either Otavalo Market or Cotopaxi National Park.

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What activities do people do in Quito?

Eating, shopping, hiking, and admiring colonial architecture are some of Quito’s top activities. Go trekking in Cotopaxi National Park or Quilotoa Lagoon; browse hundreds of stalls selling artisan crafts at Otavalo Market; explore the UNESCO-listed Quito Old Town; or stand on the equator at the Middle of the World monument.

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Is it safe to walk around Quito?

Yes. Ecuador’s capital city has become much safer to walk around in the past decade or so—plenty of police keep watch around Quito Old Town, and reports of theft and scams have plummeted recently. However, avoid walking around alone late at night, especially outside of the historical center.

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Is Quito worth visiting?

Yes. Though most often used as a launchpad for Cotopaxi National Park, the Galapagos Islands, and the Mindo Cloud Forest, Quito is a city that warrants a visit. Highlights include the UNESCO-listed Quito Old Town; the Middle of the World monument, which marks the equator; and El Panecillo Hill.

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Is Quito dangerous for tourists?

No, it's not dangerous in tourist areas. In the past decade, Quito has become much safer to visit. There’s a large police presence around the city—especially in visitor hot spots such as the Old Town—and reports of crime have gone down significantly. Still take the usual caution with your belongings.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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