Quito Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Ecuador > Quito > History

Quito, capital of Ecuador, is located on a horizontal strip of land which extends from North to South. It is an enclave between beautiful mountains, which combined with the warmth of their people, their attractive squares, streets, parks and historical monuments, make it one unique and unforgettable place.

Founded in 1534, it was established with 204 inhabitants. Right now, nearly two million people live in Quito. During 360 years, its boundaries were marked out by Cerro del Panecillo on the South, Plaza de San Blas on the North, Volcán Pichincha on the West, and Plaza de la Marín on the East. Today the city is undoubtedly larger. Its growth started in the early 20th Century. In 1980, La Mariscal tourist area started developing, with Patria, Colón, Amazonas and 6 de Diciembre avenues. In 1978 it was declared a World Heritage site due to its extraordinary historical centre.

Quito offers a marvelous view from any point. The majestic snow-capped mountains that surround it -Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Ilinza and others- erect themselves as guardians of time. The bells from the old churches in the centre of the city resound all over, awaking the constructions in the North, South, and nearby valleys.

The city is distributed into five sectors: North, Central-North, Historical Centre, South and Valleys.

La Mitad del Mundo

We start this trip 25 kilometers to the north, 0 latitude, where the middle of the world (La Mitad del Mundo) is located. This is a monument in honor of the imaginary line that divides the earth into two hemispheres, North and South, drawn by the Geodesic mission. Here you can visit, among other interesting places, el Museo Etnografico and the miniature model of colonial Quito. You can also buy something in one of approximately a hundred places where artisans are selling their crafts. Nearby you will find Proyecto Arqueológico Rumicucho, a site with traces of the Incas, the ancient inhabitants of this territory.

Modern Quito

In the North -now inside the city- we find the modern part of Quito. If you enter through Avenida de la Prensa, you will find the first stop: Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre. Take Amazonas avenue, which has some of the largest shopping centres. One such is Mall El Jardín, located right in front of Parque La Carolina, the largest recreational park inside the city.

In this part of the city you will find first-class restaurants such as Rincón la Ronda, which serves typical Ecuadorian food. Due to the rapid growth of the modern Northern zone, the new city is called Distrito Metropolitano de Quito. It is a very touristy and commercial area, where some of the most important hotels are to be found. This is the case of J.W. Marriot, one of the largest in Ecuador. Also the most important sports stadium can be found in this area: Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa. You will also find some large movie theaters such as Cinemark 7.

Its main road arteries are Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, González Suárez, 6 de Diciembre, 10 de Agosto, Eloy Alfaro, and the biggest one in the North: La Occidental.

Central North

This area is the best for nightlife. Its main streets are: Juan León Mera, Calama, Reina Victoria, Cordero, 9 de Octubre, 12 de Octubre, a section of Amazonas, Colón and Patria. This area starts in Avenida Orellana and goes through to Avenida Patria. There are bars such as Papillón, Ice cream parlours such as heladería Baskin Robins, as well as restaurants such as como el Maple. There are hostels like Palm Garten or more costly places to spend the night at, such as the Swiss Hotel and the Hilton Colón. You will also find cyber-cafes and discos such as Zulu.

Once in Avenida Patria, in order to go to the historical centre, you should take either 12 de Octubre, 6 de Diciembre, or 10 de Agosto avenues. The former two lead into Plaza La Marín, and 10 de Agosto leads into the colonial area.

Historical Centre

You are in front of the popular Alameda, park, constructed in 1596. La plaza de San Blas is practically the entrance to the centre itself. Then you get to the Plaza del Teatro and take calle Guayaquil, a street with intense commercial activities, towards the Plaza Grande. Near this square you'll will find el Palacio de Gobierno-the president's house also known as Palacio de Carondelet-, El Palacio Municipal, The Cathedral, and La Iglesia de San Francisco, among other buildings which form the treasures of Old Quito.


The border of this area is Calle 24 de Mayo, through which we go up to the al Cerro del Panecillo, an impressive and attractive observatory. We now go towards the South using the San Diego bridges. An old cemetery of the same name is located here. This Cementerio is where the famous dictator Velasco Ibarra was buried. La avenida Maldonado is the main artery of the Southern area. In front of the trolley-bus station you will find Mack's, a nightclub with various dance floors, which plays all sorts of music.

The nearby Valleys

If you wish to enjoy Quito's valleys, close to the city you will find San Rafael, with a pleasant climate and recreation centres. You can catch the bus that goes to this place on Avenida 12 de Octubre, in the Central North area close to the Swiss Hotel. Other important valleys are Tumbaco, in the Northeastern area, where you will find fruits from the region; and Cumbayá, where you will find the amusement centre Via Ventura. In the North, in Guayllabamba, you will find Zoologico (the zoo). You can take north-bound buses on Avenida 12 de Octubre.

Mother Earth Travel > Ecuador > Quito > History