Quito | Travel Guide

Today, we are sharing our thoughts on a city that quite simply put, stole our hearts. Quito is probably one of the most beautiful cities we have visited. The people, the culture, the food, the music, the location, the ambiance of the city, it all grows on you and leaves a lasting impression for a lifetime to come!! Oh and not to mention, everything is extremely affordable!

The City of Quito

Set at an altitude level of 9,350 feet in the Andean Mountains, this capital city is a sight for the eyes. No matter which direction you look, you are bound to get sweeping views of the mountains.
-Places to See-

Basilica Del Voto Nacional

The Basilica is a Roman Catholic church located in the historic center of Quito. If you have an eye for architecture like we do, this church is a must visit! The Basilica portrays neo-gothic Ecuadorian architecture which is absolutely stunning. The building is known for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadorian animals.

 The basilica is technically unfinished; as per local legend, the world will come to an end when the Basilica is completed.

Plaza Grande (aka Plaza de la Independencia)

This place is perfect for people watching! It has a few small coffee shops and restaurants that line the border, with a cathedral on the southwest corner. You will also find Palacio de Gobierno, a white building with an Ecuadorian flag flying high. This is the seat of the Presidency and is heavily guarded. Please keep in mind to pay attention to your belongings here as this plaza can get crowded. There are both adults and children selling various items and they can be very insistent. Simply repeat “ no gracias” several times and they do eventually leave you alone.
Plaza Foch
This plaza has multiple restaurants, bars, nightclubs and live entertainment that are catered to tourists and locals alike. Most places only charge $1 as entrance fee; however, the drinks can be pricey. We enjoy Latin music and were more attracted towards the places that played reggaeton. If you enjoy dancing to Latin music this plaza is a must.
Suggestion: Most popular during weekends.
Mitad Del Mundo (The Middle of the World)

 This national landmark also is known as the middle of the world and highlights the “thought to be” exact location of the equator which is at 0 Latitude. The equator is an imaginary line that is equidistant from the north and south poles and separates our world into the northern and southern hemispheres. The country Ecuador takes its name after the equator.

The precise location of the equator is not fixed and drifts every year; geophysicists are still working on the accurate location of the exact center of the world. When in Ecuador, this monument is a must see as this may be the closest you will get to the equator.

The monument is also surrounded by souvenir stores, a planetarium, cafes and a reconstruction of the ancient villages that occupied the area.

Commonly used utensils way back when 

Typical kitchen way back when 

Get lunch at Cafe Guayasamin while at Mitad del Mundo. This cafe lets you enjoy a beautiful view while enjoying a reasonably priced delicious meal.

This is a beautiful town in the Andean highlands located in the Imbabura province of Northern Ecuador. This town is surrounded by volcanoes and lets you appreciate our planet for its nature. Places like these are soul healing and bring a sense of being at peace. We loved this place so much, we decided that it needed its own blog post. Click here to read.

-Things to Do

Roam the streets

 The best way to explore the city during day time!! Plus, you will get your workout in. The streets of Quito have steep elevations and a  5-minute walk can take your breath away, literally. While walking the streets you get to appreciate Ecuadorian architecture, culture, music and day to day lives of the locals.
Dinner at Cafe Mosaico
For an absolutely stunning view of Quito with an even better tasting dinner, head to Cafe Mosaico. It is located about a 5-10 minute walk downhill from Parque Itchimbia. It gets crowded quickly, so plan to arrive around 530 -6 pm to get seats on the balcony! Reservations are not needed, however, they do accept them.
Dinner View

Coffee at Cafe Dulceria

A quaint cafe at Plaza Grande quickly became our routine morning coffee/hot cocoa spot and the people who own this place became family. They have both indoor and outdoor seating and excellent wifi. The beverages not to mention were delicious.

Hot chocolate at Republica del Cacao
This place stands out from the rest of its neighbors due to its unique decor. It’s a great place to relax after a long day while sipping on hot cocoa.The hot chocolate was smooth and yummy and definitely worth tasting.
Suggestion: Try the chocolate tour they offer!
We both enjoy all forms of dancing especially latin inspired dance forms. The whole vibe, culture, and music inspires even someone who commonly doesn’t enjoy dancing to tap their feet. Plaza Foch or La Ronda are the places to check out if you want to go out dancing or better yet schedule salsa lessons while in Quito.
Sunrise at Statue El Panecillo

El Panecillo is a 200-meter high hill of volcanic origin located between southern and central Quito. The peak of this hill is at 3016 meters above sea level. The statue of the Virgin of Quito in motion was established on this peak by a Spanish Architect. The view of the city of Quito at sunrise from this hill is beyond spectacular and a must to do!

-Keep in Mind-

Visa is not needed to travel if yours stay is under 90 days and you have a valid American Passport. For more information, click here.

The national currency is US Dollars! It makes transactions seamless if you are traveling from the United States. No need to convert! Although keep in mind that the coins are not interchangeable and are different in the USA vs Ecuador.

Marked Taxi’s are a must! Traveling on foot after 9 pm is not recommended and it would be ideal if your place of stay can call you a taxi for travel purposes. Taxi rides are so affordable that it makes more sense to utilize them than to risk safety.

The weather came off as a surprise to us. The forecast showed rain every day while we were there, but to our pleasant surprise, we had the sun for the majority of our trip with occasional drizzles.
P.S: It is a myth that it is hot near the equator. It gets quite chilly at night time, so definitely take a light jacket!
Like any place, use your judgment to make decisions about where to travel to on foot at what time of day. Keep your personal belongings close by, especially in crowded plazas. Wear a backpack or crossbody bag for further protection from theft. Taxi’s and buses run in abundance given it is a metropolis city. At night time, it is best practice to take marked taxi’s.

We hope you put this place on your list of places to visit!
Until next time…
-Dhara & Jenie