The capital of Ecuador, Quito, is one of the most visited countries in South America. Surrounded by volcanoes and the Andean highlands the city provides a cultural feast with its many churches and monasteries. The impressive Gothic basilica offers splendid vistas from its towering heights -it’s fitting that the colonial centre has UNESCO World Heritage status. You can experience the city’s bustling and charming markets too. Quito is one of the highest capitals in the world at 3,000 meters above sea level and so requires altitude acclimatization before you venture out.

Highlights

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Middle Of The World Equator
  • Independence Square

 Things to do

Volcanoes and market tour of Quito

Start the day by wrapping up warmly and rising early to venture to a traditional Indian Market, perfect for picking up gifts and souvenirs or simply admiring the skill and diversity of the hand-made ceramics, paintings and handicrafts sold by the colourfully dressed locals. Afterwards, head to the National Park of Cotopaxi, home to the highest active volcano in the world! You will be able to climb until snowline around the glacier, explore the Andean plateaus and take advantage of the incredible views and panoramas that are a photographers dream! (07:00 to 17:00, Private Activity)

Visit to Otavalo market from Quito

Spend a day visiting the most colourful and creative of markets in Otavalo, a largely indigenous town in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. The Otavaeños are famous for their exquisitely woven textiles and the market in town is the perfect spot to pick up a gift or souvenir – be it Indian silver jewellery, a detailed wood carving or an intricately hand-woven throw. Before returning to Quito, you will be able to stop at Cuicocha Lake to explore the stunning views afforded from this dormant volcano crater. (08:00 to 16:00, Private Activity)

Quito City tour and Middle of the World

On this private full day guided tour, visit the Independence Square flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Continue to the Church of San Francisco, one of the greatest religious buildings of the New World. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to its gold interior, Baroque influence by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue approx. 25 km north of Quito to the ‘Middle of the World.’ Here at the 30 m tall monument, learn about the French-Spanish geodetic expedition of 1736-1744 which determined the position of the Equator. Stand and have your picture taken with one leg in the northern hemisphere and the other leg in the southern hemisphere of the earth. (Full day, private activity, lunch included)

S-UIO City Tour by night

Experience the amazing colonial architecture come to new life as it is beautifully lit in the evening. Explore the quiet streets and plazas with your guide and enjoy the gorgeous nocturnal city scenes as centuries old churches and buildings are expertly illuminated. Truly a romantic and lovely way to spend an evening in Quito. (Duration approx 2hrs, private activity)

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