Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and dates from 1533, when it was built on the ruins of the Inca capital conquered by the Spanish. The city is sited high in an Andean valley and at 9,350 feet above sea level (2,800 metres), it is the second highest capital city in the world. Quito's historic Spanish-colonial city center is fantastically well preserved and was key in the city becoming the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Here you will find wonderful areas like the church and square of Santo Domingo, the Street of the Seven Crosses and San Francisco Square. The oldest street is La Ronda, which bustles with eateries, art and nightlife. The Plaza Grande is the city's main square and is lined with impressive official buildings. La Mariscal, meanwhile, is the area to visit for entertainment and is a cosmopolitan mix of visitors and locals, all enjoying wonderful food, drink and dancing together. To the north of this historic center, modern northern Quito has lots of nightlife, urban parks and museums and is well worth a visit. The city is centrally located in the center-north region of Ecuador and makes for an ideal base to explore other areas of the country, from the Amazon, to the Cloud Forest and the fascinating Galapagos Islands. Quito has something for everyone, from an active nightlife and cultural scene, to rich history and stunning architecture. The city has undergone a substantial preservation and restoration project and remains an architectural jewel of South America.
Best Time to Fly to Quito
Quito is only a few kilometres from the equator and located on a high altitude, so temperatures remain fairly steady but moderate, between 50 and 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) all year. There is a cool, dry season between June and September, which is the peak season for tourism. Another peak occurs from late December to early June. This corresponds with the most popular holiday times for European and North American visitors.
Traveling to Quito outside the busy June to December and Christmas period peak times is undoubtedly cheaper. Carnival time, on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, is also an expensive time. It may be cheapest to visit during the less popular rainy season from December to March.
Getting around Quito
Three different bus networks serve the city and they are very inexpensive. Taxis are also relatively reasonably priced, and cycles and scooters are available to rent for fair fees.