Quito was a remarkable city. The second highest capital city in South America, after La Paz in Bolivia, it quite literally takes your breath away. I discovered this the hard way, leaning against a wall and seeing stars whilst running around town for an hour trying to find us a guest house before dark!
At an altitude of 2,850 metres, the climate is relatively comfortable, with warm days and cool/cold nights.
The main attraction of Quito, providing it with its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ‘Old City’. The heart of the old Spanish colonial centre is Plaza de la Independencia from here it is easy to wander through the many cobblestone streets and explore the rest of the old city on foot. The photo pictured above shows Plaza de San Francisco, and the famous church and monastery of the patron saint of Quito – San Francisco – constructed by the Spanish in 1553.
The new city, especially La Mariscal district on the other hand is not quite so pleasant, with frequent reports of pickpockets and robberies at night. I stayed there for a week whilst doing some work, and generally made sure I was back in the hostel before dark.
There are a few day trips you can make from Quito, including visiting Mitad Del Mundo – the Equator line, a couple of hours on a bus from the city centre.
Photos of Quito
Warning – bagslash robberies on buses leaving Quito