Quito or San Francisco de Quito is the capital of Ecuador, the closest capital city to the equator line, with an elevation of 2,850 m (9,350 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha (and active volcano) part of the Andes Mountains.
The city was founded by the Spanish crown in 1534 and now it has grown to a point that its population is close to 3 million inhabitants. Quito is well divided into three big areas, North or Modern City, Center or Old Town and South which is the most industrial sector.
The historic center of Quito is one of the largest well-preserved city in the Americas. Quito and Kraków, Poland, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.
The central square of Quito is surrounded by important buildings like the Presidential Palace, the Municipal building, the Main Cathedral and the Archbishop palace. Walking in the old streets of Quito is a delightful cultural experience that takes you back in time to Spanish colonial times.
A monument marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world). Here a very interesting museum, explains the Ecuadorian culture and facts about the location right on the equator.
This interesting and renovated city tour starts with a visit of the Itchimbia neighborhood, which is a place that offers a spectacular view of the old and new city. Then you will visit the old colonial Quito starting in Santo Domingo Plaza walking through one of the oldest streets in the town “La Ronda Street” where you will see how the colonial houses were built and how the Quiteños lived in the sixteen century. Your walk takes you through the city museum to San Francisco Plaza, making a quick stop to try the typical sweets of Quito. San Francisco is the oldest church in Quito and it is full of history and legends.
Next stop is the main square where the Presidential Palace, the main Cathedral and some other important buildings can be appreciated. Before your guide takes you to the Equator, we will visit La Compañía de Jesus church, which is one of the most beautiful churches in South America or perhaps the world.
Once you reach the equator, you will visit a very interesting museum, INTI NAN, here you will learn about the different cultures that we have in Ecuador and some of the facts applicable on the Equator.
After visiting the Equator, you will return to Quito, where you will be taken to the OLGA FISH gallery to see different pieces from local artists and get the chance to do some shopping. The art in this gallery is all made by Ecuadorians. The employees of the gallery will take the time to explain what part of the country the artists are from, the materials used, etc.
Lunch will be served in a very traditional restaurant with amazing views of the city and with a very traditional Ecuadorian menu.