If you are planning on visiting Ecuador, for sure your first stop will be their capital city. So first things first, here are 5 things you need to do while visiting Quito, Ecuador.
Ecuador is a gem that I truly believe more people should put on their radar. Is a stunning luscious green country, with some of the best chocolate in the world and the friendliest people. Us latinos love to make friends wherever we go, and you can feel that warmth in Ecuador. And to make things even better it is incredibly affordable to explore this country.
Here are 5 things you need to do while visiting Quito, Ecuador:
Visit Basilica Nacional del Voto
Starting with the cultural master piece of the city; the Basilica Nacional del Voto. This majestic building is a neo-gothic style Catholic Church, and is considered to be the biggest one of its kind in all Latin America. Due to its design and size it has been compared to the Parisian Notre Dame. Is that striking! Check out its stunning stained glass windows and the open views over the historic city center from its balconies.
Shop at Mercado Artesanal la Mariscal
One of my favourite souvernis, from any travel so far, is my beautiful leather suede backpack with native fabric handmade in Ecuador and purchased here in la Mariscal. La Mariscal is exactly what the name suggests; an artisan market. You can find any type of souvenir inside their colorful alleys; hats, fabrics, suede and leather bags, chocolates, jewelry, wood toys, anything. Just walking through the market is an experience in itself, but if you purchase anything you are also supporting the local artisans. So is nothing but a win win situation!
Hike El Panecillo In The Heart Of Quito
El Panecillo is a distinguishable hill in the middle of Quito’s historic center. It stands at 3000m above sea level, providing a wonderful view over the city. “Panecillo” literal translation is little bread, which I think is adorable. The name originated from the Spaniards looking at the hill and just thinking that it looked like a little bread. So it stuck.
As mentioned before, the magnificent open view over the historic center is really one you shouldn’t miss. On top of the hill you will also find the “Virgen del Panecillo”. A 41m tall statue of the Virgin, making it the largest statue in Ecuador and even bigger than the famous “Cristo Redentor” in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Admire The View From Teleférico Quito
Speaking of beautiful views over the city, if you want to go even a step further, and quite a few meters higher, you should really go on the teleférico. The teleférico is a gondola lift that takes you all the way up to 3,947 meters above sea level. You can see over Quito, and you can also see how far the mountains around the city expand.
The ride takes about 18min to go up and costs 8.50 USD per adult and 7 USD for anyone under the age of 18. Besides just cheking out the view there is a variety of activities you can do while being up there. You can check their website here.
Fall In Love With República del Cacao
Ecuador has the perfect weather to grow its own cacao beans, and not just any cacao beans. They are famous for their Arriba cacao, which is the reason their chocolate taste like no other. I would dare to say is my favorite chocolate in the world. You can find their chocolate boutiques all around Quito. Where I would highly suggest that you try some of their hot chocolate and obviously the chocolate bars. My favorite one is the one with coffee nibs. Is so good! They are the perfect gift or just a nice souvenir for yourself. That is if you don’t eat them on the flight back home.
This is more of a review than an invitation to visit this place. I write it because I know if you check the typical lists of “what to do” in Quito, this will show up. But honestly, the only reason I would recommend going to this area is that there is a República del Cacao just around the corner.
Plaza Foch is a very Americanized tourist trap, a little square close to the city center. It’s full of bars and restaurants, but tends to be overpriced and could be considered a bit sketchy at night. So I’m just saying if you are curious about it, check it out in the daytime. And remember, this plaza doesn’t really represent the culture of Quito.
So, after you scratch these 5 things you need to do while visiting Quito, Ecuador off your list, and a few more, make sure to take some time to make a little day trip to enjoy the beautiful Ecuatorian nature. Here are the 3 best day trips I would recommend from Quito.