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Things to do in Quito

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.

From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

2. From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Quito and discover the ease and beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside. Depart from Quito through the Pan-American North Highway via Cayambe. Passengers will have the opportunity to taste the delicious Bizcochos de Cayambe, a type of cracker or bread baked in a clay oven, greatly paired with local cheese or caramel sauce. Afterwards, make a brief stop at Miralago to admire a wonderful view of Lago San Pablo. The tour then continues to Otavalo where Otavaleños (natives) set up a market in which a bartering manner of shopping is taken place. The market hosts a variety of different handcrafted items. You may choose between staying in this area and enjoying more time at the market (a bus will pick you up at the end of the tour*), or you can continue the tour to visit Cotacachi and Cuicocha. If you continue the tour, journey to the town of Cotacachi, recognized for its leather clothing and crafts. On the way to Cotacachi, visit an Andean instrument workshop, "Ñanda Mañachi", located in the area of Peguche, to spend some special moments with the local people and understand the Andean culture. In Cotacachi you have enough time to visit the village and leather goods shops, as well as free time for lunch (not included). Later, visit the Ecological Reserve where the Cuicocha lagoon is located, inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano. This originated after a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. And if the weather permits, it will be possible to make a walk by the lagoon with the chance to sail in the crater of the volcano in small boats (at an additional cost). *Bus will wait for 10 minutes in Otavalo to pick you up if you have chosen to stay there, and after that will return to Quito and your respective hotel or starting point.

Santa Cruz: Galapagos Islands 4 Day Explorer Tour

3. Santa Cruz: Galapagos Islands 4 Day Explorer Tour

Day 1 Arrive at the airport of Baltra Island and meet the National Park guides, followed by a transfer to Santa Cruz. Check in at your hotel and in the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Scientific Station and the Interpretation Center of the Galapagos National Park. Day 2 Head to the stunning Turtle Bay Beach, a postcard-worthy beach with white sand and azure sea. Stop to observe the marine life, iguanas, and many other wildlife species Travel next to a private ranch, where you will be able to see the protected giant turtles living in their natural habitat. Finally, the adventure will conclude with a hike through the underground lava tunnels. Day 3 On the third day, head to the dock to sail to the islet of La Loberia. Take some time for snorkeling, before traveling to Punta Estrada. Keep a look out for frigate birds, sea lions, and other marine life. Day 4 After breakfast at the hotel, be returned to the airport for your departure flight.

Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

4. 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.

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

5. 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.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

6. 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.

From Quito: Horseback Ride & Cotopaxi National Park Day Trip

7. From Quito: Horseback Ride & Cotopaxi National Park Day Trip

Explore the Cotopaxi National Park on a day trip and horseback ride. Enjoy a comfortable ride from Quito, learn about the fascinating Chagra culture, and enjoy a traditional canelazo welcome drink. The “Chagra” culture is the product of miscegenation between the Andean Indians and Spanish settlers. This mestizo culture was the one that contributed more to the economic and social development of the countryside in the Sierra region, based on cattle breeding, like bulls for bullfighting. And, of course, here you have the opportunity to experience during a day trip the joy, adrenaline, and nostalgia that our Chagras live day by day while they are working in the high mountains of the Andes! Begin your tour in Quito and head southeast to El Pedregal, which sits between the Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, Sincholagua, and Cotopaxi volcanoes. After a 1.5-hour drive, disembark at a traditional hacienda or farm. Sip on a traditional canelazo drink and try on a traditional Chagra outfit. Head outside to find your horse and embark on a 2.5-hour horseback ride through the stunning countryside. Return to the hacienda, say goodbye to your horse, and drive to the Cotopaxi National Park. Visit the looming Cotopaxi Volcano, standing at 19,347 feet high. Marvel at the ancient dried lava flows, mountains, lakes, and wild horses. Watch as the plants, flowers, and trees change as you gain altitude. After your visit to the national park, return to your Quito hotel at around 5:00 P.M.

From Quito: Mindo Cloud Forest Day Trip with Transfer

8. From Quito: Mindo Cloud Forest Day Trip with Transfer

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.

Quito: Full-Day Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Tour

9. Quito: Full-Day Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Tour

Board the Quito Tour Bus on Avenida Naciones Unidas in the heart of Quito, and then depart the city in the early afternoon. Journey to the Geobotanical Reserve of the Pululahua Crater at the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo complex. Visit the new Beer Museum, see a miniature model that celebrates the architectural beauty of the Historic Center of Quito and more. Finally, you will visit the Agave Museum where you will have a tasting of this ancestral drink. Return to the start point in the evening.

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

10. 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.

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Frequently asked questions about Quito

What are the best day trips and excursions from Quito?

The best day trips and excursions from Quito are:

Otavalo

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Other Sightseeing Options in Quito

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What people are saying about Quito

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 811 reviews

This tour includes the historic city of Quito and the middle of the world so take into account that the stops are quick. This was a great choice for me since I was spending only just a day in Quito but if you like taking a lot of pictures or just doing the tour in a slow pace I'd recommend (if it's possible) to make each tour separately. As I said, because of time, this tour was a great fit for me and also Andrés, the tour guide did a really good job.

Our activity provider for Private Tour: Mitad del Mundo Tour from Quito was Latin Adventures Cia Ltda. and our guide was Fabien who was absolutely wonderful! He was so informative the entire drive to Latitude 00.00.00 center and to the larger equator park around the corner and all the way back to the hotel. Both venues were a blast and enjoyed by my husband, teen sons and me very much.

Loved this sweet tour of Quito. Our guide Andres was very knowledgeable and passionate about his city and knew all the answers regarding the history and culture of Quito.

Mauricio the Guide he’s so kindness and take care of all the people at any moment! Amazon experience that I really loved..! Please don’t miss this opportunity.

Adrian our bubbly guide was very interactive and fun. He loves what he does and was visible in his demeanor. Made us feel so welcome in Ecuador!