Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is one of the most visited places of South America. Most people who take a Galapagos Islands cruise are also interested in visiting Quito as part of their adventure in Ecuador. And one of the reasons visitors are delighted with this beautiful city is because it is a mixture of colonial history and modern enterprise. Its architecture, cuisine and culture make it an interesting destination for American and European travelers.
Annually, Quito welcomes hundreds of travelers who come to the city to discover its history and culture. It was founded in 1534 in the ruins of the most important Inca city in the region. It is one of the most ancient cities in Latin America and today more than 2 million people live in there. In 1978, Quito was named by UNESCO as a World heritage site.
Most people that comes to Quito concentrates to spend their time in Old Town. The Old Town is a large area of the city that was built on the ashes of what was once the capital of the northern half of the Inca Empire. It is a place full of history where you will find the main architectural buildings and the Palacio de Gobierno, the Palacio Presidencial, The Cathedral and other religious buildings.
The Plaza Grande
The Plaza Grande or Independence square is next to the Palace and it is one of the most important constitutional places of the country. This is the center of the historic center, the Old Town. At the center of the plaza you can see a monument that commemorates Ecuador’s first declaration of the independence against the Spanish conquerors in 1809.
Museo de la ciudad
The museo de la ciudad is located in the Old Town, on the García Moreno street. This is a great place to learn a little about the interesting history of Ecuador. In here, you will find several comprehensive and well thought-out displays that detail life of Ecuador citizens throughout history from pre-colonization. It is one of the most important museums in Quito, so if you are not familiar with Quito and its history, visiting this museum will be a really great introduction to it.
Teleférico to Cruz Loma
This is the second highest cable car in the world. It is located in the west wing of the Pichincha volcano, near the city. At some points it reaches up to 4,000 meters and if you are lucky and the sky is clear you will see the spectacular views of the city. Then, back at the cable car’s base, there is a number of restaurants, a small amusement park and gift shops.
Mitad del mundo
The Middle of the World is a small village situated on the north of the capital. On Ecuador there is a line that divides the World in the halves. This measurement gives the name to the country and in this place you will see a pyramidal monument whose vertices point towards the four cardinal points. It is the main attraction and destination for tourist, so if you are coming to Quito you have to get photographed in this place.
Calle de la Ronda
This is the most important street of the historic center. It is next to the Plaza Santo Domingo. This place is known as the most romantic side of colonial Quito. You will love its bright white houses with ornate balconies and brightly painted window frames. Here you can find local craft shops, clothing and accessories, art galleries and cafes and typical restaurants. On weekends events are usually organized on this street.
Quito is one of the most visited places in Ecuador along with the Galapagos archipelago. So, if you are thinking of taking a Galapagos Islands cruise and enjoy of all the beauty of the islands I recommend you to stay some days in the beautiful city of Quito, it is a life experience!