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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
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
#8
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
#9
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
#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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247
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$15.00
Cotopaxi Hike and Bike

Cotopaxi Hike and Bike

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$60.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Quito

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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.
star-5
Excellent!
Steven_D, Jul 2021
Otavalo Tour from Quito Visiting Cayambe, Indigenous Market, Small groups
The pickup/drop off was on time, and we really got to see a lot of the Ecuadorian countryside we otherwise would have missed.
star-5
What a TREAT!
Candy_C, Jul 2021
Termas de Papallacta Hot Springs full day tour from Quito
Our tour guide Carlos was so friendly and very knowledgeable about all things Ecuador (from the volcanos, cities, history, food, flowers, waterfalls and other interesting stories).
star-5
All the highlights
Bianca_M, Jul 2021
Full Day Middle of the World, Cable Car and Quito City Shared Tour
Our tour with Luis was the perfect way to see Quito’s highlights in a day.
star-4
Great tour, but keep in mind if you are doing the tour solo and no one else signs up, it costs extra
Sherman_P, Jul 2021
Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo
Got to see and learn a lot about Quito and Ecuador.
star-5
Cotopaxi Volano
Lorriel3, May 2021
Full-Day Tour Cotopaxi National Park - All included from Quito
He was so knowledgeable about the volcano and the wildlife we got to see (llamas, foxes, beautiful birds, wild horses, etc).
star-5
Excellent Guide and Experience
Griselda_F, Mar 2021
Full Day Middle of the World, Cable Car and Quito City Shared Tour
He was very knowledgeable (about almost any topic you can think of), he was fluent in both English & Spanish, he made our experience that much more worth it that we booked a last minute tour the following day with him.
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Amazing Quilotoa experience with Diana
Rajiv, Feb 2021
Quilotoa Full Day Tour from Quito with entrances, small groups
Diana was amazing, well educated, bilingual and able to translate back and forth between Spanish and English.
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Great private tour in Banos with Pedro!
Jean_C, Dec 2020
Baños Tour from Quito - 1 Day- Private Tour
We had a comfortable ride from our hotel in Quito to Banos with amazing stops of the waterfalls, Casa del arbol, and Pailon del Diablo.
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Personal approach
deborah_g, Feb 2020
Mindo Cloud Forest -Full day- From Quito
Great to get to see a bit of Equador other than Quito.
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Neck of the Moon
Stephen_M, Feb 2020
Cotopaxi Full-Day Small Group Tour from Quito
Although we were not able to see the glacier cap from the base camp due to cloud cover, this was still super fun.
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Quito in a day
Diane_T, Feb 2020
Quito Old Town Tour with Gondola Ride and Visit to the Equator
This is a great way to see Quito in one day.
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Cotoplaxi Volcano 2 day tour worth it
Steve H, Nov 2019
Cotopaxi & Quilotoa 2Day/1Night - Tours Included
the small trek up the active Cotoplaxi volcano to snow and altitude and tour of the surrounding national park and the Quilotoa crater tour just show the many great places to see from Quito.
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Knowledgeable guide led us on a super fun excursion
Songburst8, Nov 2019
Mindo Shared Day Trip from Quito
This day included a lovely butterfly/orchid/hummingbird museum, an 800m jungle hike to a waterfall, ziplining, lunch, an unexpected children's parade, and a chocolate tasting experience.
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Great full day tour
Peter P, Sep 2019
Private Full-Day Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo
Great way to see Quito highlights and the Equator.
star-5
Just what I needed.
Kelly1335, Sep 2019
Termas de Papallacta Hot Springs full day tour from Quito
After a very busy week of travel and tours I decided to spend my last day in quito going to the hot springs.
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Quito Tour
Beth W, Aug 2019
Private Quito City Tour
Excellent Tour - Recommended the best to see in Quito in a half day.
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Great Tour
Basanth S, Jun 2019
Private Tour: Middle of the World Monument and Quito City Tour
He was also knowledgeable of the many attractions in his country.
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Amazing
Con P, Apr 2019
Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo
This tour covered some of Quito's best attractions, perfect if you don't have much time.
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Fun way to see Quito.
Lonewolf228, Jul 2018
Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus
Great way to see important parts of Quito.
Frequently Asked Questions
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