Quito Sights

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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Amusement Park/ Water Park 1

Building/ Architectural Site 1

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Museum/ Gallery 9

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Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 8

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Quito Sights

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Basílica del Voto Nacional

  • 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...

Catedral

  • 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...

Iglesia Parroquial del Sagrario

  • 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...

Iglesia de San Agustín

  • 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...

Iglesia de San Francisco

  • 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...

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

  • 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...

Iglesia de la Compañía

  • 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...

Iglesia de la Merced

  • 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...

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