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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 10 attractions in Quito

#1
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
#2
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
#3
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
#4
Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santa Domingo)

Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santa Domingo)

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Situated at the southern edge of Quito’s Old Town, Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santo Domingo) sits beneath the shadow of the 17th-century domed Iglesia de Santo Domingo. A statue of Ecuadorean hero Antonio José de Sucre stands in the middle of the plaza, pointing toward the spot where the battle for independence was won in 1822.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
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
#7
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
#8
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
#9
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
#10
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

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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US$15.00
ebike Quito city tour

ebike Quito city tour

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US$115.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Quito

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Mr. Effy was so awesome!
Jie_G, Nov 2021
Full Day Middle of the World, Cable Car and Quito City Shared Tour
He brought us to so many places that made us fall in love with the quaint-ness that is Quito.
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Full day tour of Quito with Effy
Robert_F, Nov 2021
Full Day Middle of the World, Cable Car and Quito City Shared Tour
His English is perfect and his intelligence and comprehensive knowledge of the area was very much appreciated.
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Awesome and fabulous!
Janet_D, Sep 2021
Otavalo Tour from Quito Visiting Cayambe, Indigenous Market, Small groups
Highly recommend this tour, especially to see something other than Quito!
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Driver was very helpful...
Kelly_M, Aug 2021
Quito Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel
We spoke a simple English and Spanish conversation and he told us more about Quito and Ecuador
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Hot springs trip
Liz-D, Jul 2021
Free time in Quito? Lets go to Papallacta's Volcanic Termal Springs!
The hot springs is a MUST.
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Can’t say enough!
Lizy_J, Nov 2021
Baños full day tour from Quito including all entrances and activities
If you are concerned about an English Speaking guide, she is great or even better.
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Awesome, reliable, prompt service...highly recommended!
James_E, Nov 2021
Private Transfers to and from Quito Airport
They met us inside the terminal, made sure there was an English-speaking person on each leg, and got us to the hotel quickly and safely.
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Old Town Quito & The Center of the World!
Heather_M, Oct 2021
Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World - "Small Group"
The Mitad del Mundo was so cool to visit!
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Volcanoes, Craters and Lakes
Heather_M, Oct 2021
Cotopaxi & Quilotoa With Optional Hotel Pick-Up & Drop-Off - "Small Group"
Cotopaxi was such an amazing place to visit.
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Waterfalls, Music and Markets!
Heather_M, Oct 2021
Otavalo Daytour
I enjoyed the stops at the market, the hike at Peguche Waterfalls, the music shop, the lunch, etc.
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Fun time
April_C, Oct 2021
Middle of the World Tour With Tickets - "Small Group"
Did the egg balance on a nail trick, weighing ourselves to see that we weigh less, and watch water flow forward and backward.
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Highly recommend!
April_C, Oct 2021
Private Transfers to and from Quito Airport
They gave us recommendations on what to do and where to eat while in town.
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Adventure
April_C, Oct 2021
Baños full day tour from Quito including all entrances and activities
Would recommend if you want to do these activities.
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Highland paradise
Ruben_P, Sep 2021
Quilotoa Full Day Tour from Quito with entrances, small groups
His english was great and his knowledge of the area, culture and cuisine was very impressive!
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Hummingbirds, Middle of the World, and beer with Wilson
Lori_P, Sep 2021
Middle Of The World, Hummingbirds Paradise, and Craft Beer Tasting
It was so cool to see the location and how folks were farming the fertile land inside the crater.
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Fun day in the cloud forest
Sara_J, Sep 2021
Mindo Day Tour including Chocolate Tasting, Hummingbirds, and Cloud Forest Hike
We also hiked the waterfall which is a fun little hike.
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Awesome useful service for late night arrivals - peace of mind!!
DRMB, Sep 2021
Quito Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel
Super nice and helpful - walked us over to find an ATM in the airport and frequently pointed to safe and "less safe" things to do on the drive to Quito.
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Great tour Great guides!!
Lauren_W, Aug 2021
Full-Day Mindo Magical Town Tour Small Group
We got to take a quick ride on a cable car across the forest and on our hike we got to see 6 waterfalls.
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Highlight of our time in Ecuador
Tracy_L, Aug 2021
Mindo Day Tour including Chocolate Tasting, Hummingbirds, and Cloud Forest Hike
Next we stopped at the Nambillo Cloud Forest Reserve, where we had a beautiful hike down to the Nambillo waterfall, and back up to the canopy on the other side of the Nambillo River, where we took a cable car back across the canopy.
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Highly recommend
mcwinn, Aug 2021
Quito City Tour & Teleferico Cable Car Private
Having arrived a few days early, we booked this private tour to see the city on our own and not with a group.
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