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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.

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

2. 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.

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

3. 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.

Quito: Urban Legends of Quito by Night

4. Quito: Urban Legends of Quito by Night

Start your Quito night tour in the northern part of the city and travel through the most important commercial areas where most of the hotels are located. Explore aboard a replica of the trams used in the city in the last century. Head to the historic center to gaze at the illuminated churches and main tourist attractions. Discover some of the city's unique landscapes (tickets not included). Then, continue to Mirador del Panecillo (entrance included) for a beautiful view of colonial and modern day Quito. During the tour, you will get to know the people who live in this city better, and begin to recognize their way of speaking and thinking. During your visit to the city, your guide will tell you all about the historic urban legends that are a part of the traditional and cultural heritage of the people of Quito.

Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

5. 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.

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

6. 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: Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip

7. 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.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

8. 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.

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.

From Quito: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa 2-Day Trekking Tour

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Quito

What are the best day trips and excursions from Quito?

The best day trips and excursions from Quito are:

Baños de Agua Santa

Other Sightseeing Options in Quito

Want to discover all there is to do in Quito? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Quito

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 702 reviews

Highly recommend! There was a good balance between shopping, nature exploration and cultural demonstrations. In one day, we shopped at the open air market in Otovalo and the leather shops im Cotacachi. We also hiked around a National park built around the rim of a massive and gorgeous caldera lake. The excursion also included a live demonstration/tasting of the culturally significant dish, bizcochos, lunch at a real Ecuadorian restaurant in Cotacachi and a live music demo at a local artisan’s workshop. Ecuadorians are hospitable people, and while there certainly was some very light pressure to spend, everyone seemed genuinely excited to share their culture with us. The hosts were great, and also went out of the way to educate us on various aspects of the culture, history and customs of the country. I only speak a bit of broken Spanish and I was able to get along just fine. For $50, you’re not going to find a more immersive experience. Stop overthinking, and just book it!

It was a great experience for those with a tight schedule. We had plenty of time at Cotopaxi National park, but the hike at Quilotoa was considerably shorter. Andres was also a knowledgeable and fun guide. Recommended.

Tour guide was wonderful - had lots of information, spoke English really well and the places we saw were great. He took us into a few stores and talked to us about always bargaining for the best deals.

The Otavalo Saturday market was a little disappointing, but the other sites were well worth visiting. The tour guide was very good.

This was a good full-day tour of downtown Quito and the Mitad del Mundo. We learned a lot obout the city and the country.