Written From… an apartment overlooking the mountains of Quito
Quito, the capital of Ecuador – city on the mountains. The city is situated 2850 metres above sea level in the Andean mountains. Throughout its history Quito has played an important part in the shaping of the surrounding region. Before the Spanish arrived, the third Sapa Inca of the Incan empire, Wayna Capac, had passed away and his two sons, Atahualpa and Huascar, placed in Quito and Cusco respectively, were at war. Atahualpa, after seizing his brother and killing Huascar’s generals, was on his way to becoming the undisputed ruler of the empire, with Quito its second capital and with Spanish imperialism looming. This was the start of the region morphing into the countries and capitals as they are today. You can read more about the Incan history in What if Latin America Ruled the World.
Today, Quito and its architecture are a reminder of its heritage, mixing European, Moorish and indigenous styles and cultures together. This city has much to be discovered and learned about. However, being the capital of one of the smallest Spanish speaking countries in South America, and one of the least visited holiday destinations on the continent, you’re bound to have some questions about this beautiful city. This quick guide to Quito is intended to give you the basics before arriving.
Population: 1.619 million
Language: Official language: Spanish. Indigenous languages are also spoken – most notably, Quechua.
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: UTC-5 hours
Average Temperature in Celsius: January high: 18, low: 8 February high: 17 low: 8 March high: 17 low: 9 April high: 17 low: 9 May high: 17 low: 9 June high: 18 low: 8 July high: 18 low: 8 August high: 19 low: 8 September high: 19 low: 8 October high: 18, low: 8 November high: 18 low: 8 December high: 18 low: 8
Throughout its history Quito has played an important part in the shaping of the surrounding region
Airports: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (45 minutes by car to the centre)
Top Sites: La Mitad del Mundo, Basílica del Voto Nacional, TelefériQo, El Panecillo, El Palacio Presidencial, Parque La Carolina, Pichincha Volcano, Quito Botanical Gardens, Cotopaxi National Park
Top Museums: La Capilla del Hombre, El Centro Cultural Metropolitano, Museo Amazonico, Museo de la Ciudad
Cool places to check out: Mercado Artesanal, La J (buy some delicious salchipapas and empanadas bigger than your head!)
Easiest way to get around: The easiest way to get around in Quito is to take a taxi. You can use PedirTax to request a taxi online after creating an account. An underground system is under construction.
We have an article on must do things in Quito here to give you some inspiration on your next trip.
Pack your bags and get ready to explore the capital of Ecuador!