Things to do in
Quito

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Our most recommended things to do in Quito

Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

1. Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

Depart by bus from through the Panamerican Highway admiring the diverse ecosystems of the route, as a clear sign of the majesty of the Andes. Continue to the Cotopaxi National Park, arriving at the foot of the impressive active volcano. Visit the Museum Park, the Limpiopungo Lagoon and and through an interesting hike will reach the forest of chuquirahuas to 4200 meters. (if the weather permits). See the Quilotoa Volcano. With a stunning turquoise lagoon in its crater, it's one of the most beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Take a short hike to appreciate the magnificent view of the volcano (if weather conditions allow) and enjoy time for lunch at your own expense.

Quito: 2.5-Hour City Bus Tour

2. Quito: 2.5-Hour City Bus Tour

Embark on a fun and relaxing tour experience as you explore Quito on a double-decker bus. See more of the city in less time, visit famous locations and enjoy informative commentary from an audio guide along the way. The itinerary includes the highlights of Quito, including its historic city center, the largest in South America. Stop at Panecillo Hill, and enjoy panoramic views from the most important lookout in Quito. Enjoy a memorable ride through the city and take great photos from the top of the bus.

From Quito: Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip

3. From Quito: Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip

Enjoy a unique day trip to Baños de Agua Santa, and see the beautiful volcanoes of Ecuador, waterfalls, the cloud forest, and the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Visit Baños de Agua Santa, a city located at 1,820 meters above sea level (5,971 ft), south of Quito on the north-eastern flanks of the Tungurahua Volcano (5,000 m / 16,404 ft), with natural hot springs downtown, and a natural entrance to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Be picked up at 7:30 am from your hotel in Quito to start an incredible adventure. Admire beautiful volcanoes on the way, like Antisana, Los Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, and Tungurahua. Arrive to start a walk through the charming streets of Baños around 10:15 am, and take time to visit the monastery of the "Virgin of Agua Santa”, and see paintings that describe different eruptions of the Tungurahua Volcano, whose volcanic activity started again in 1999. Drive towards the beautiful and stunning “Avenue of the Waterfalls”; beginning with a stop in front of the Agoyan Hydroelectric Dam, and walk towards the local community of "Río Blanco" to appreciate the beauty of the cloud forest. Cross the Pastaza River Canyon on a cable car that rides a 500 meters-long-cable to visit the "Manto de la Novia" waterfall, learn all about the local people's lifestyle, and take a hike down to the river. Stop at the viewpoint of the "San Jorge" waterfall, and recover energy with a tasty lunch. Visit the world-famous Devil's Cauldron or "Pailón del Diablo" waterfall, and see some of the Amazon's vegetation. Arrive back in Quito approximately at 6:30 pm, after having enjoyed more than four different microclimates on the same day.

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

4. Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

Begin by a visit to one of South America's best preserved historic city centers. Go to the Basilica del Voto Nacional Church, where you can climb up its high domes. Move towards the Panecillo viewpoint, an iconic place in the city, renowned for its beauty and giant statue of the Winged Virgin - here you can admire a beautiful landscape of both colonial and modern Quito (entrance to churches not included). Continue on to the traditional La Ronda neighborhood. In this romantic setting you can find workshops where you can learn from a group of authentic artisans how their work is done. See historic trades that keep alive the cultural traditions of this charming city. Stop at Zona Rosa for approximately an hour and a half to have some free time for lunch (not included). You will then go to the Middle of the World City, where you can see the monument that divides the northern and southern hemispheres of the planet. Entrance to the Middle of the World complex is included ,where you can enjoy experiences that defy the laws of physics and occur only in this part of the world. NOTE: On Sunday, this tour operates in an inverted way, first you visit the Middle of the World and then you have the city tour.

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

5. Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

Drive south from Quito to the Quilotoa area and visit its famous lagoon. Along the way, you'll admire the beautiful Andean landscape and stop at the Shalala viewpoint. Next, you'll visit the community viewpoint and descend to the lagoon. Once there, you'll have free time to hike and explore the area. You'll return on a path that connects the lagoon to the community viewpoint. It's an intense walk, so if you're not in good shape, simply climb on a mule that will pack you back to the viewpoint. After a lunch break, you'll also stop at a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful products, and visit the Toachi's Canon.

From Quito: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa 2-Day Trekking Tour

6. From Quito: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa 2-Day Trekking Tour

Day 1: Depart from Quito to the Cotopaxi National Park. Visit the Limpiopungo lagoon in the slopes of the volcano. Stay to enjoy the landscape and take beautiful pictures of the volcano and the lagoon. Visit the Mariscal Sucre Interpretation Center and take a trek to the José Rivas Refuge. Leaving the Cotopaxi National Park, savor lunch and spend the night in the Hacienda. Day 2: After breakfast, head through the Andean landscape to the Quilotoa area. Stop at the Shalala viewpoint, recognized for its transparent structure, and admire the beautiful Quilotoa lagoon with its incredible turquoise waters. Visit the community viewpoint, and start to descend towards the lagoon. Take some free time to explore the area. Start the return, a strong walk. Make a stop for lunch. Make your way back through a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful pictures, and visit the Toachi's Cañon before you return to Quito.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

7. Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

Visit Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. The park is home to the active Cotopaxi volcano that towers 19,642 feet above sea level. When you reach the park your naturalist guide will show you the exceptional variety of flora and fauna. Hike to the Limpiopungo lagoon, located on the slopes of the volcano. Stop at the lagoon for a short rest to take in the landscapes and the spectacular views of the volcano. Continue the hike to the Jose Ribas shelter and experience the environment at almost 16,000 feet above sea level.

Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

8. Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

Begin your 3-hour tour in the northern part of Quito and head up to the middle of the city. This is where you will find the monument that stands on the line that divides the northern and the southern hemispheres. The Equatorial Monument was built during the 17th century when the precise dividing line between the hemispheres was defined by a French expeditionary team.

Otavalo and Imbabura Sightseeing Tour from Quito

9. Otavalo and Imbabura Sightseeing Tour from Quito

Depart Quito and journey towards the Guayllabamba valley to see the Quitsato Sundial in La Mitad Del Mundo, built to share the astronomical knowledge of the pre-Hispanic cultures of the region. Pass over the line of the equator and continue towards the largest indigenous market in South America. Shop for souvenir textiles and traditional crafts at the Mercado de Ponchos, where the locals sell tagua nut jewelry, fake shrunken heads, hand-painted trays, spices, spools of wool and other interesting items under mushroom-shaped umbrellas. Get back to nature at the Peguche waterfall, popular with the locals who go there to take a sacred bath on the eve of Inti Raymi. Continue towards the caldera lake of Cuicocha in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve (excluding holidays) and get stunning views of the Cotacachi Volcano before driving back to Quito.

Mindo Cloud Forest Small Group Tour from Quito

10. Mindo Cloud Forest Small Group Tour from Quito

Benefit from pickup at your hotel in Quito, and then get stunning views of the Andes Mountains as you drive north-west to the unique Hummingbird Garden. See 10 to 20 different species of hummingbirds, depending on the season or time of the day, and try local tropical fruits. Take a 1-hour walk into the cloud forest to admire the diverse flora and fauna up close. Look for endemic species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth as you encounter a series of beautiful streams and waterfalls.  Reach the protected Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve to experience the astonishing beauty of one of the highest biodiverse sites in the world. Avail of all the activities at your own expense, such as a zip line across the forest canopy, or rappelling down rocks.

Frequently asked questions about Quito

What top attractions are a must-see in Quito?

Planning Your Visit

  • When's the best time to visit Quito?

    Falling on the equator, Quito has wet and dry seasons rather than clear-cut summer and winter months. If you want a sunny visit, then June to August is best. Its busiest periods are mid-June to September and late December to early January, so book well in advance if you're planning your trip for those periods.

  • How many days should you stay?

    There's a wealth of must-see sights, beautiful beaches and stunning natural surroundings in Quito, with plenty to do if you venture outside of the city, too. Most recommend at least three full days to see Quito's treasures, but a more well-rounded trip would benefit from a week.

  • Where's the best place to stay?

    The most popular spot to stay is near the Mariscal. Here there are plenty of guesthouses, hostels, bars and eateries to suit any budget. However, for a taste of traditional Quito, head for the old town, home to most of the city's most treasured, ancient sites.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +593
  • Best time to visit
    Given Quito is so near the equator, year round temperatures are generally pleasant and warm. There is, however, a rainy season which lasts from December through March. Best plan your trip for June, July, or August.

Other Sightseeing Options in Quito

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What people are saying about Quito

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 604 reviews

I just got back from today’s excursion and it was absolutely incredible! Daniel was our guide and he was easily one of the best guides I’ve ever had. He was engaging, helpful, and super knowledgeable! I would absolutely go on another tour with him. Cotopaxi and Quilotoa were amazing! I would absolutely recommend! We did get very lucky with the weather but if you have even decent weather it will be time and money well spent. I will say if you get car sick do not go on this trip. Many hours on a bus on extremely winding roads! But having said that if that won’t bother you the views are incredible!

Knowledgeable and friendly guides, comfortable minibus and the lunch was very good. Of course it depends a bit on the weather, we were lucky and had a very nice view of Cotopaxi and the surrounding nature. We can only recommend the tour.

I've done plenty of excursions around the world, but Julio absolutely made this one the best. He's kind, knowledgeable, flexible, and just an overall fantastic ambassador for his country. Highly recommend.

Great tour of two amazing destinations in Ecuador. Feels slightly rushed as a schedule, with a lot of time in the road, but the guide, Daniel, was the best tour guide we've ever had.

Best thing to do in Ecuador. Daniel was our tour guide and I cannot compliment him enough!!!