When people think of Central America, the first places that come to mind are usually Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. However, there’s one place that often gets last mention: Ecuador. Be that as it may, there are so many wonderful things in Ecuador that should make it a priority in anyone’s travel list. Particularly, its capital city, Quito, is one place that shouldn’t get overlooked. Quito is just as great as some of the more popular South American cities such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, Lima and Caracas. Quito is a unique destination, and here we’ve listed 10 reasons why you should plan your next South American destination towards Quito, Ecuador.
Ecuador literally translates to “equator” and there’s a reason why the country is named as such. The country straddles the equator line. While it sits over 9,000 feet above sea level with grand views of the Andes Mountains, Quito is the closest to the sun out of all the capital cities in the world. Quito is also unique in that you can stand on both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in one place.
You rarely hear about Ecuadorian food in Northern America, but there’s something distinct about the local cuisine of Quito. You’ll find many innovations in the city, not only with Ecuadorian food but with other cuisines as well.
The Historic Center
The Centro Historico is one of the must-see places at Quito. It’s home to some of the most historic landmarks in the city with all its preserved colonial-era structures. As a matter of fact, Quito was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and that’s due largely to Centro Historico.
Maybe it’s something about the scenery in Quito that makes it inspirational for so many artists. It could be the elevation of the Andes or just the background of the colonial era scenes. Many famous artists have set up post in Quito, so you’ll have easy access to some amazing art once you’re there.
One of the best ways to experience Ecuadorian culture is to visit Quito’s most famous venues. There are tons of museums with excellent exhibits, but there are also other cultural venues. You can go see theatrical shows, films, and music events that attract visitors from all over the world annually.
You’ll have to experience the railway transit system in Quito, something that’s been modernized tremendously and has become a luxurious way to travel in the area. You can get the most wonderful views and sights traveling by train—a truly one of a kind experience in such a bustling city. Visit popular neighborhoods through this train ride and go from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes in one go.
Quito offers plenty of nightlife for those looking to have a really good time. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs that offer various forms of entertainment such as music and dancing. Combine that with excellent food, exotic cocktails, and enjoyable company, and you’re sure to have the best time. Quito at night is just as desirable as Quito during the day, so make sure you make time to experience both.
There are various spots throughout Quito that will give you a shopping experience like no other. Depending on what you’re shopping for, you can visit El Jardin or El Ejido. You can find tons of antique treasures and modern marvels throughout the city, and you’ll find that shopping in Quito might take an entire day or two without you even noticing. Just make sure you have extra bags just in case.
It’s an entire other world altogether, and you can access it right through Quito. Take the train for about an hour from the city, and you’ll find yourself in the Andean countryside of Páramo. Gain exclusive access to nature and indulge yourself in the pristine beatify of the Cloud Forest. Once you’ve gotten your fill, simply take the train back to Quito, all energized and refreshed.
Quito is the perfect starting point to visit other places in Ecuador. You can take flights out of Quito to visit either the beach areas or the mountain areas—you take your pick. Make sure to see some other sights such as the most famous Galapagos region. When you’re done with your travels in Ecuador, you’ll have to go back to Quito to make your way to the rest of the world.