What are you up to in Quito ?
Quito an intricate city in the middle of mountains rivers and streams that over the years have disappeared as Quito expanded on the slopes of Pichincha Volcano to this day. Today, Quito is a metropolis with around 2.7 million inhabitants, which rises day after day with the construction of modern residential buildings and offices.
Despite modernity, Quito has managed to maintain its beautiful, well preserved and little altered historical center. It is currently visited and admired by locals and visitors from around the globe, as part their tours which start in Quito Ecuador. Among the highlights of ancient Quito are the impressive religious monuments of exorbitant magnitudes such as the Church of San Francisco and the Basilica del Voto Nacional which are the largest religious monuments of the Americas each corresponding respectively to its time, the Baroque and Neo Gothic Styles.
Another noteworthy aspect of the historic center of Quito is its complexity in terms of religious art and the one of a kind indigenous craftsmanship, bringing to live amazing carved art work made of wood and stone, as well as enormous paintings, covering wall after wall from side to side counteless religious monuments churches, chapels, altars, pulpits, ceilings, fasades and so on. This is one of top tours from Quito Ecuador which is considered a must see place, if you are staying in the capital city.
Also while in Quito consider visiting the Middle of the world monument and the Interactive Museum Inti Ñan,
Endless outdoor options of tours from Quito Ecuador are waiting for you !
Tours from Quito Ecuador
There are endless options for tours from Quito, lets start with the closest to the furthers from Quito,
Top 3 options, tours from Quito less than a two hour ride
- Cotopaxi National Park, located 70 km from the City of Quito, at an only 1 hour 45 minutes from Quito, is one of the most visited national parks due to its relatively close distance from Quito, some activities that can be done at the Cotopaxi volcano ant its National Park is to do several hikes on the marked paths, bicycle ride, horse back riding, camping, and for the well trained mountaineer is to hike up to the summit 5897m. It is the highest active volcano in Ecuador, easily can be recognized due to its shape of almost a perfect cone. The ecosystem of the park is called a Páramo, a paramo starts at an elevation of 200 msnm and goes up to 4.700 msnm above this there is no vegetation and its called gelid or icy
- Mindo Cloud Forest, is located at 85 km from Quito towards the north west at only a two hour ride, going from the highlands to the lowlands, it’s a unique transition zone or shoulder area, where the vegetation suffers a transition between the highlands and the lowlands, and its weather is just the right temperature for many birds, where Mindo has been the winner of birdcount several years during the Christmas birdcount. Some of the activities that Mindo is known for, are the waterfalls, butterfly green house, the chocolate tour, coffee tour, bird watching, tubing, zipline, hikes and known as a place to relax and enjoy nature being a great option of a tour from Quito. This Ecosytem is called a montane cloud forest where the clouds stay at the tree canopy level and in the afternoon the wind currents bring a mist from the coat that is absorbed by the tree leaves making this cloud forest ever green and lush forest.
- Papallacta Hot Springs and Spa, is located at 68 km from Quito at only a little bit less than a two hour ride, great for a relaxing day tour from Quito. Papallacta is a magical place, where the wisdom of mother earth has provided this Paramo area with hot springs. In Papallacta there are several pools where you can soak in the water and fully relax, no matter how cold it is outside this hot springs will keep you warm, the Papallacta hot springs are located in an Ecosystem called Paramo, which is relatively chilly. At Termas Papallacta there is also a spa where you have a full massage menu, to choose from, depending on which part of your body you would like to get a massage, a body wrap or facial treatment. Also this place has a restaurant and a hotel, in case you feel like eating or staying over night, after relaxing in the hot springs as additional activities, are some hikes through well marked paths as well as birdwatching. Also in case you would like to visit a place that has been fully built of recycled material is the restaurant and Hotel called Mamallacta.
Top 3 tours from Quito with over a two hour ride
- Otavalo Textile Market, A market fool of colors, is located 91 km from Quito and a little over a two hour ride, is another great option for a tour from Quito, it is and interesting place since is one of the places in Ecuador that has preserved its culture its costumes, festivities, traditions and more, this is a place that has not lost its essence, as well as its traditional market which opens every single day all year round, altought on Saturdays is the biggest market, as well as the animal market. With an elevation of 2532 msnm and 40000 inhabitants, Otavalo lies on the footshills of the Imbabura foothills, Otavaleños are known for their weaving skills with hand looms, for being great merchants, good musitians, gret for agriculture. The surroundings of Otavalo are filled with mainly corn crops, wheat, oats, barley, quinua, soybeans, as well as short term vegetables.
- Cuicocha Crater Lake and Cotacachi, Cuicocha is a crater lake high in the mountains located at 100 kms north of Quito at the foot of the Cotacachi Volcano and at an elevation of 3250 msnm, it is considered a dormant volcano but at the same active since it expells gas from the center of the crater, some of the activities at Cuicocha are, trekking around the lakes rim, riding a boat to the lava domes and the center of the lake to see the gas bubbles in cosntant activity, take pictures, drink a coffee, have an ice cream or try a canelazo at the small bar. Its ecosystem is considered an Andean Paramo
- Quilotoa Crater Lake, Located south west of Quito on a 3 hour ride, right in the heart of the andes, belongs to the Ilinizas Ecological reserve, this lake changes its color tone from dark green, to a light turquoise, the water that filled this caldera is salty water, therefore some people believe it is connected somehow to the sea. Ideal place to hike, in the andean landscapes, learn about their habits, culture and explore the area while hiking the so called Quilotoa loop! Its ecosystem is considered an Andean Paramo
Top 3 Tours from Quito Ecuador with over a 3 hour ride
- Baños de Agua Santa, a wonderful destination for those who enjoy nature, mountains, adventure sports, waterfalls, relaxing and going out. its located south east of Quito on a 3 hour 3min ride. Banos is known as the doorway to the Amazon is a place with activities for everyone, mainly outdoor activities, nice and diverse restaurants and cozy caffes. Mostly wakable town, hot springs are open early morning and and at night, the adventure sport activities are all close by just a ride away. Highly recommended is white water rafting, ziplining, the swings, canopy, rappel, kayacking, tibetan bridge crossing, renting a bike, soaking into the hotsprings, visiting the sanctuary of the Virgen de Agua Santa (holy water virgen) among other cool and entertaining activities.
- Misahualli Amazon Jungle, a destination located in the Amazon rainforest, at only 5 hours going east from Quito, this town is located where the Napo and MIsahualli rivers meet and has several intersting activities that can be done from here as visiting the local comunities, their habits, lifestyle, music and shamans (Yachaks), enter to several hikes into the jungle, visit amazonico wild life rescue center, visit the tramp museum, feed the crocodiles, learn about the local fibers.
- Chimborazo Volcano,
Top 4 tours from Quito Ecuador with over a 4 hour ride
- La Maná
- Malqui Machay
Top 4 tours from Quito Ecuador with over a 6 hour Ride
- Ecological reserve El Angel
- Inga Pirca
Top 5 tours from Quito Ecuador with over a 7 hour Ride