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  1. View of the city;

  2. Plaza Central;

  3. National Cathedral;

  4. Hotel Plaza Grande;

  5. Arco de la Reina;

  6. Plazo Santo Domingo;

  7. Archbishop's Palace;

  8. Compania Church;

  9. Calle Ronda Street;

  10. Presidential Palace;

  11. Great city parks;

  1. National Theatre;

  2. Banco Central;

  3. National Museum;

  4. Observatory of Quito;

  5. Cable Cart "Teleferico";

  6. Mariscal Art & Crafts Market;

  7. Churo Observation Tower;

  8. Virgin of Quito

  9. Mitad del Mundo

  10. 40+ Museums;

  11. 25 colonial churches.


Unique things to do en Quito, Ecuador

In Lonely Planet's 10 best cities of the world to visit in 2016, Ecuador's capital Quito ranked number 2! Without question, America's most scenic capital is Quito, has many unique things to do: its gorgeous colonial churches, monuments & museums, and cable carts to the top of Mount Pichincha. One of the world's first cities to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quito, Ecuador, has been flying under the travelers' radar for a long time. When we lived in Quito in the 1970s, we could never imagine that one day Quito would be so beautifully restored and that we would stroll through what is now Latin America's most beautiful capital. At a distance of ±10km south of the equator, Quito is located in the Andes of Ecuador, at elevations between of 2700 and 2900 masl. With a population of 2.7 million people, Quito is the second largest city, after Ecuador's harbor Guayaquil with 2.8 million inhabitants.


Dear visitor, our website gives you info about our National Parks Tours, our Galapagos programs, the Cuyabeno Loop, as well as our Cuyabeno  and Cofan Lodges in the Amazon.   For those who want to combine the Exuberant Nature of Ecuador with the Famous culture of Peru, we even have a 7 days Highlights of Peru extension! Our website gives you the best information on the internet, because we are the only tour operator run by professional biologists. Take a look:



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Indians take you in their agile dug-out canoes along winding rivers.


Start your Cuyabeno journey on Ecuador's most scenic wide Amazon tributary, the Aguarico River. Spend 3 nights in the Cofan Lodge, exploring the lower Cuyabeno and Zábalo Rivers.



Price: $ 499

 4 days

Children learning about the rainforest.


The Cuyabeno Loop explores the breathtaking scenery of lower Cuyabeno and Zábalo Rivers and the Cuyabeno Lake. Watch the amazing birds and wildlife. Pass 2 nights with the amazing Cofan Indians in the Cofan Lodge and enjoy 2 nights of comfort in the famous Cuyabeno Lodge.

Price: $ 799

5 days


Birdwatching by visitors of the Amazon in Ecuador


The Lagarto Cocha Expedition on hidden creeks and lakes is the best Amazon journey in Ecuador! Discover Indian tribes in Ecuador, Monkeys, Sloths, Dolphins. No other Amazon rainforest in any of the Amazon-Andean countries can match the wildlife viewing of Cuyabeno and it is far better than Yasuní!


Price: $ 1099

7 days

excursion on Lake Cuyabeno


The Cuyabeno Lake Program explores all the wild places surrounding the Cuyabeno Lake. Bonsai-shaped Macrolobia trees with the whispering of the mysterious prehistoric Hoatzin birds and the noisy Blue and Yellow Macaws. Our Cuyabeno Lodge is on the best location, because we were the first and chose the best location on a seasonal island in the Cuyabeno Lake itself.

Price: from $ 410

4 - 5 days


Alpacas in Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve are the domesticated form of the vicuñas.


Our Northern Andes Tour lets you get a taste of some of the best Andean National Parks, visiting the highest groves in the world: the Polylepis trees, the highest mountain in the world calculated from the center of the Earth, the Chimborazo with Vecuñas and Lamas, the highest active volcano in the world, the Cotopaxi.



Price: from $1149

5 days

San Rafael Falls


Our National Parks Tours take you on a fantastic journey along the best possible sample of Andean and coastal parks. They have been designed to complement Galapagos and/or Amazon cruises. They can start from different places, particularly Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts 9 days, it is possible to make a limited selection of parks, like the 6 days' "Andes and Coast" module.

Price: $ 1999

9 days


Bartelome Island at Galapagos National Park


We have a fabulous selection of Galapagos programs, including cruises, island hopping, scuba diving or relaxing on one of the many different hotels varying from modest inns to deluxe resorts.



Price: from $ 550

from 3 days

Inca wall in Cusco.


A fabulous program for visiting the most famous cultural highlights Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. At the same time it serves as the Lima hub for the Peru National Parks Tour. This module is an extension to our National Parks Tour Ecuador and/or Galapagos National Park and/or Amazon Cruises.

Price: $ 1199

7 days

Continuation of the current page theme

While Lima was the administrative center of the Spanish colonial empire in South America, Quito was the religious center with many cathedrals, churches and monasteries, most of which have survived the countless earthquakes and the general wear of the centuries. Take a look at them at our special page with all 22 old churches of Ecuador. Now beautifully restored, Quito's monuments has architecturally marvelously designed plazas that are interconnected by romantic narrow streets, where people of all ages stroll unconcerned through this peaceful paradise of majestic monuments, local shops, tastefully restored and redesigned mansions that now serve as restaurants and colonial hotels.


Whenever you go to Ecuador, please do yourself a favor and take at least 2 days to fall in love with this beautifully restored city. If you like, you can take a half day's guided tour but after that, go out on your own, walk the streets, sample the restaurants, explore beautifully illuminated Quito at night and mingle with the friendly Ecuadorians who regard Quito as their cultural heritage, the place that unites their rich history with the pleasures of twenty-first century.


In 2008, Quito, Capital of Ecuador was highlighted in the travel section of the New York times, listing Quito as one of the 53 most interesting cities in the world for Americans to visit. Samantha Brown called Quito "Passport to Latin America" being the perfect place from where to initiate travel to discover Latin America. Since then, Quito has been highlighted in television programs of CBN and NBC, while many other magazines and newspapers have dedicated center fold sections to this previously undervalued most beautiful colonial capital of all the Americas.


For enjoying the greatest highlights of South America, many tourist combine the nature of Ecuador with the archaeological highlights of Peru, to which we offer a 6 days extension module.



Detailed map of Oldtown Quito, capital of Ecuador. If you click on them you get a greatly enlarged printable map.



Detailed map of Unique Things to do in Quito. Click on it to get the detailed map.


With many pedestrians-only streets, the colonial center should be enjoyed, sprawling from plaza to plaza and cathedral to monastery. Distances are short and restaurants abound. This little map can help you plot out a route through the many narrow beautifully restored colonial streets of Quito's "Casco viejo" as the Quiteños call old town Quito.


Top 22 Cool things to do en Quito, Ecuador:

On this page we list all 75+ museums of Ecuador, including 40+ museums of Quito, all with features, addresses and opening hours.

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Golden Sun Mask Banco Central / Casa de Cultura, National Museum, Quito, Ecuador

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: View of Quito from the Pichincha Cable Cart

One gets a great view of the city from the cable cart.




Plaza Central or Plaza de Republica






The Plaza Grande or de la Republica with the Government Palace, the National Cathedral (right), Hotel Plaza Grande (3 below) and the Archbishop's Palace as the eye catchers.



25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Hotel Plaza Grande

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Hotel Plaza Grande on Plaza de la Republica

Hotel Plaza Grande on Plaza de la Republica, Quito, Ecuador

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Hotel Plaza Grande

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Arco de la Reina

The 4 arched Arco de la Reina.

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Santo Domingo Church

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Plaza Santo Domingo, Quito, on a public holiday


Plaza Santo Domingo is one of the most popular and the largest squares of Quito. In the northeastern corner stands the beautiful San Francisco Cathedral. On national holidays, the plaza is packed with Quiteños enjoying their colonial capital.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Archbishop's Palace with restaurants

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Restaurant "Mea Culpa", Archbishop's Palace, Quito, Ecuador

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Archbishop's Palace on Plaza Grand

Fabulous Palacio Arzobispal - Archbishop's Palace - with several great restaurants; the one with view on the Plaza de la Independencia is among the best restaurants in Ecuador and a great place for a special evening out. Reserving a table is recommended. 


What I really like about Oldtown Quito is that it is a city dominated by its own people. Parents with their children play and picnic on the lawns and in the parks. Tourists are present but not in overwhelming numbers.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Compania Church.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Compania Church, Interior

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Pulpit of the Compañía de Jesus Church

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: The organ of the Compañía de Jesus Church

The Compania Church is the most beautiful and oldest colonial monument of Oldtown Quito and debatedly in all Latin America; its interior certainly is. It is managed by the Fundacion de la Iglesia de la Compania.


The interior of the Church is covered with gold leaf and gilded statutes and  paintings are among the best preserved early colonial arte; some of the richest in all of Latin America.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Street view Colonial Quito

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Old Town Quito, Ecuador

No Latin American capital has anything that comes close to the charming colonial streets of Oldtown Quito.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Calle Ronda, Quito, First UNESCO World Heritage Site

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Calle Ronda, Quito, UNESCO World Heritage, Ecuador

Calle Ronda is Quito's finest historical street.


Presidential Palace

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito: Palacio de la Republica

Quito, Capital of Ecuador: Guard, Presidential Palace

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Carondelet Palace, Plaza de la Republica

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Guard, Presidential Palace, Quito, Capital Ecuador

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Gallery Presidential Palace


The Presidential Palace or also named after its architect, the Carondelet Palace, which dominates the Plaza Central. The portal gallery can be entered individually and it is possible to see the ceremonial guards from close by and watch the change of the guards. For excursions to the interior of the palace one needs to make reservations.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Banco Central / Casa de Cultura National MuseumCOOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: National Museum professional displays

National Museum: Professionally designed and displayed pre-Colombian history of Ecuador. Excellent bi-lingual texts!


Built in 1873, the Observatory of Quito is the oldest on the continent. Renovated in 2009, it is both a museum of historical instruments and open to the public for star gazing on cloudless nights.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Astronomical Observatory, Quito

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Children in Ejido Park

Quito has several great parks, Like the Ejido Park which are intensively used by the Quiteños. It is great to go on a picnic in the weekend and watch families enjoy themselves and see the children play.

National Theatre.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Former Banco Centra

Historic Banco Central building, now monetary museum.


Grand views of Quito, Ecuador

Few capitals in the world border a national park. An absolute must is to take: the cable cart, or the "Teleferico" as it is called and take a hike through the paramo of the Pichincha, one of the 45 National Parks and reserves of Ecuador. Go at 8 in the morning, but by 11 it gets cloudy and without sun it is chilly to out right cold. Take a sweater and a light rain coat.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Pichincha Cable Cart

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Mountain biking from the Pichincha National Park

If you are young and don't value your bones and teeth, you ride up the cable cart and ride down your mountain bike.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Teleferico

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Mountain Station, Pichincha Cable Cart

But the majority of the passengers are families who go up to enjoy the fabulous view.


The Pichincha station where the cable cart ends. Food and drinks are available.

25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Horseback riding on Pichincha

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Lamas at Pichincha National Park

At the top one can ride horseback, great for children.

Here is where you can get paramo pictures with lamas without having to town.


Quito is a great place for souvenir shopping. While you will find many small shops in Old Town Quito, the best markets are in El Ejido Park and the Mariscal art market. For details read: Art and Craft in Ecuador.


25 Top things to do Old Town Quito Capital of Ecuador: Virgin of Quito at the Panacillo, Ecuador


The Churo observation tower built on a supposed military observation point of the ancient Quitu people prior to colonization.

The Virgin of Quito on the Panacillo. The Panacillo also offers a great view over the entire city. Take a taxi up and walk down to enjoy the 22 Unique Things to do in Quito down town.


The Mitad del Mundo in the museum park just Outside Quito, hosts the ethnographic museum inside and sports a great view over the valley.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: Mitad del Mundo monument.

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: The new Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport Departure Hall

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: International Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport shopping areal

COOL THINGS TO DO IN QUITO, ECUADOR: The new Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport VIP room

The brand new Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport now offers access to the newest and largest airplanes and the most modern arrival and departure services.


City tours are almost daily available. Our Andes Trek, Ecuador program includes the best National Parks of Ecuador in the Andes as well as the famous cultural highlights, like Quito, Cuenca and Ingapirca.  Please contact us for information, rates and bookings.


PARKS & TRIBES and the COFAN LODGE have their sales office inside:

Hotel Balmoral, Address: Calle Moreno Bellido E6-57 & Avenida Amazonas, Quito

Telephone: (++593)(02) 2 50 5310, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 96 29 35 271

Email: [email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide

Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website and founder of Parks and Tribes. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature. https://www.facebook.com/DrDaanVreugdenhil, https://www.linkedin.com/in/drdaanvreugdenhil/. He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasuní and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge.