Quito

A word on terminology: Quiteños don't use the Old City/New City designations coined by the English-speaking tourism industry. The colonial heart of the city is the Centro or Centro Histórico. To the north lies an amorphous sprawl of modern neighborhoods, most notably comfortable Bellavista and La Floresta, and the bustling La Ma
A word on terminology: Quiteños don't use the Old City/New City designations coined by the English-speaking tourism industry. The colonial heart of the city is the Centro or Centro Histórico. To the north lies an amorphous sprawl of modern neighborhoods, most notably co
A word on terminology: Quiteños don't use the Old City/New City designations coined by the English-speaking tourism indu

A word on terminology: Quiteños don't use the Old City/New City designations coined by the English-speaking tourism industry. The colonial heart of the city is the Centro or Centro Histórico. To the north lies an amorphous sprawl of modern neighborhoods, most notably comfortable Bellavista and La Floresta, and the bustling La Mariscal.

Another word on maps: Quito's north-south elongation makes it a difficult fit for maps, most of which rotate the orientation 90-degrees clockwise. North usually lies to the right of the page on city maps.

Quito has two parallel systems of address numbering. The official scheme employs small green-and-white signs affixed to every building using directions denoted N, S, E, and Oe (for oeste, or west) and followed by a number to denote distance from the city center. Locations in the outer reaches of the city always express their addresses this way; in the center of the city, people stubbornly stick with the old sequential numbering system.

To help you navigate all this, the phenomenal Quito Turismo, a joint venture between the city government and its police, operates several tourist offices or stands in the city, and offers guided walking tours of the Old City. The Ministry of Tourism's iTur office sits in an out-of-the-way location and has little but a few maps and brochures. A private membership organization of note is South American Explorers, with an amazing selection of information about Ecuador (as well as branch clubhouses in Lima and Cusco, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina).

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  • 1. Iglesia de la Compañía

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The "company" referred to here is the Society of Jesus, the powerful Jesuit order that profoundly influenced religious life in colonial South...Read More

  • 2. Basílica del Voto Nacional

    El Belén | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Construction of this neo-Gothic church has been going on for more than a century, but it still isn't completed, and never will be: Local...Read More

  • 3. Calle de la Ronda

    Plaza/Square/Piazza

    Here's a textbook case on how to do urban renewal: The city has taken one of its most historic streets, cleaned it up, beefed up security, and...Read More

  • 4. Casa de Sucre

    Centro | Building/Architectural Site

    The restored Sucre House, once the residence of Field Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, displays 19th-century furniture and clothing as well as...Read More

  • 5. Casa del Alabado

    Museum/Gallery

    This museum of pre-Colombian art and artifacts is easy to miss, hidden as it is inside a lovingly-restored 17th-century house. The museum has...Read More

  • 6. Catedral

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The city's cathedral is a repository of art from the Quiteña school, which combined themes of Spanish and indigenous cultures: Jesus preaching...Read More

  • 7. El Panecillo

    Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

    The opening of the New City's Teleferiqo has eclipsed this rounded hill and its stunning views as Quito's most popular lookout point, but El...Read More

  • 8. Fundación Guayasamín and Capilla del Hombre

    Bellavista | Museum/Gallery

    Ecuador's most famous contemporary artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919–99), held court at a workshop and beautiful museum in the residential...Read More

  • 9. Guápulo

    Town/Village

    Nestled in a secluded valley below the Guayasamín museums, the village of Guápulo is a preserved pocket of colonial architecture only 2 km ...Read More

  • 10. Iglesia de la Merced

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The Church of Mercy's beautiful, light-filled interior contains a brilliant statue of the Virgin of Mercy above the main altar. It was sculpted...Read More

  • 11. Iglesia de San Agustín

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    In 1809 Ecuador's declaration of independence was signed in the Church of St. Augustine, and many of the soldiers who fought the Spanish crown...Read More

  • 12. Iglesia de San Francisco

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Established by Franciscan monks in 1536 and said to be the first church built in the Americas, the Church of San Francisco was named for the...Read More

  • 13. Iglesia de Santo Domingo

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The interior of the colonial Church of Santo Domingo may not be as impressive as the Old City's other churches, but it does feature an eye-catching...Read More

  • 14. Iglesia Parroquial del Sagrario

    Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The Church of the Shrine is noted for its beautiful facade in carefully sculpted stone, large gilded altar, and colorful interior, which includes...Read More

  • 15. Museo Casa de María Augusta Urrutia

    Centro | Museum/Gallery

    In the colonial section of Quito is the Museum of Maria Augusta Urrutia, which a grieving widow kept exactly as it had been when her husband...Read More

  • 16. Museo de Arte Colonial

    Centro | Museum/Gallery

    The Museum of Colonial Art, housed in a restored 17th-century colonial mansion, includes colonial furniture and 16th- to 18th-century sculpture...Read More

  • 17. Museo de la Ciudad

    Museum/Gallery

    Follow the life of the city from indigenous trading post and northern Inca capital to conflict with conquistadors up to the 19th-century. In...Read More

  • 18. Museo del Banco Central

    La Mariscal | Museum/Gallery

    The Central Bank Museum, Quito's most modern museum, features an astonishing collection of pre-Colombian archaeology and Inca artifacts. Brightly...Read More

  • 19. Parque El Ejido

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    One of Quito's largest parks, El Ejido is popular for its extensive playgrounds and courts for ecuavoli (three-person volleyball). Theater...Read More

  • 20. Parque La Alameda

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    The elongated triangle of La Alameda Park lies between the Old and New cities, near the Asamblea Legislativa, a large, modern building that...Read More

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