Quito, Ecuador's capital city, conquered 476 years ago by the Spanish, is considered to be the best preserved Spanish colonial city in the Americas. Designated more than thirty years ago as one of the first World Heritage sites by UNESCO - the United Nations cultural branch - its invaluable architectural and cultural symbols in old town form a labyrinth of tangible and intangible treasures.
Explore "El Centro" and then get to know many of the other attractions throughout the city, from spacious parks to countless churches and museums.
La Ronda A Must Visit For Everyone
One hundred years ago when Ecuadorian poet Hugo Aleman wrote: "Undoubtedly Calle de la Ronda symbolizes the absolute bustle of disoriented humanity," Quito was a nest for bohemian activity and a gathering of all walks of life. But today the bustle is more of a a calmer spontaneity that can include serenades, street artists, and a host of great flavors and aromas.
A diverse mix of people can be found roaming La Ronda in the 21st century. They are the tourists who are drawn to this emblematic, colonial street.
Though officially known as "Calle Morales" (Morales Street), the name La Ronda derives from the Spanish verb "rondar," which means to patrol. When Quito was settled by the Spanish, La Ronda was the southernmost boundary of the city and, as such, was part of the patrolled perimeter.
Today, La Ronda is part of the city center, offering a melancholy stroll in the afternoon along a narrow, cobblestone street filled with colonial style architecture. At night, it is by far the happening place in the central historical district, especially on weekends.
La Ronda offers more than 40 different restaurants, bars, and coffee shops and is a bit of a cultural center, with artisan craft workshops like Hojalateria Silva, which makes handmade, galvanized tin miniatures, and Humacatama, a maker of custom hats, some of whose designs spirit you back to the livliness of a different era.
1. City Museum, Garcia Moreno 572 & Rocafuerte, open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30am-5:30pm, Admission $3 adults, 228-3882
2. Miguel de Santiago Museum (San Agustin), Chile 924 & Guayaquil Streets, 295-5525. Monday-Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-5:00pm. Saturday 9am-1pm, Admission $2. www.migueldesantiago.com
3. Metropolitan Cultural Center, home to the Alberto Mena Caamano Museum. 9:00am-5:00pm, $1.50 adults, 295-0762.
4. Casa Del Alabado Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, Cuenca 335 between Bolivar & Rocafuerte, Tuesday-Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 10am-4pm, Admission $4, www.precolombino.com firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), Lorenzo Chavez Ea18-143 & Mariano Calvache (Bellavista-El Batan sector), Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-5:30pm, Admission $4, 244-8492, www.capilladelhombre.com
6. Mindalae Museum. Reina Victoria & La Niña, 252-7240 Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-6:00pm. Admission $3
7. Ecuadorian Natural Science Museum, Carolina Park, Monday-Friday 8:00am-1:00pm, 2:00pm-4:30pm,
8. Yaku Museum of Water, El Placer Street Oe 11-271, Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00am-5:00pm, Admission $3, 251-1100, www.yakumuseoagua.com.
9. La Ronda Street, Historical Center, liveliest Thursday-Sunday after 6pm.
10. Junin Street, Home to 3 more museums: Architectural Museum, Manuela Saenz Museum, and National Watercolor Museum.
11. Panecillo Monument, Pancillo Hillside, Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-5:00pm, Friday-Sunday 9:00am-9:00pm, Admission $1.
12. Artisan Marketplace, Jorge Washington Street between Reina Victoria & Juan Leon Mera, Open everyday 10:00am-7:00pm.
13. Botanical Garden, Carolina Park, Monday-Friday, 246-3197. 8:00am-5:00pm, Admission $3.50. www.jardinbotanicoquito.com.
14. Cable Car - TeleferiQo of Quito & Volcano Park, Cruz Loma Slopes of Pichincha Volcano, Everyday. 222-1996. 8:00am-8:00pm, $8.50.
More Ways To See Quito
Quito Eterno (Historical Tours),
Historical Walking Tours
Flores N40-21 & Junin
Fundación Ciclópolis (Bike rentals available, call to reserve)
322-6502 / 223-4475, www.ciclopolis.ec
Every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. along 29 km of streets from North Quito to South Quito. More than 50 volunteers provide hydration stations and bike rentals.
Main office (Historic Centre) Palacio Municipal, Plaza de la Independencia, Venezuela & Espejo.Monday - Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Saturdays 9:00 to 5:00pm. 257-2445.
Galería Ecuador Gourmet
Reina Victoria N24-263 & Lizardo García Tuesday to Sunday:
10:00 to 8:00pm,
255-8440 / 223-9469
Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador
Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 5:00pm Eloy Alfaro N32-300 & Carlos Tobar, 399-333 ext. 1007
Tourist Safety Service
Main office in La Mariscal Corner of Roca y Reina Victoria, Edif. Relaciones Exteriores 24/7, 254-3983.
Historic Center Plaza Grande
North side of the square on Chile, between Venezuela and García Morenom Edif. Casa de los Alcaldes, 24/7. 295-5785
International Long Distance, 116
Post Office, 256-1940
Trolebus, Ecovia, and Metrobus.
In the north, the routes run along the arterial avenues, 10 de Agosto, 6 de Diciembre and América.
For visitors staying in La Mariscal or in the north, the Trolebus and the Ecovía are the lines you are most likely to use, particularly when getting to and from the Historic Centre. Free transfers at the northern terminals of 'Río Coca' and 'La Y,' respectively.
To travel to the valley of Cumbaya or Tumbaco, head to 'La Y' on the Ecovía, then change to take the "RC17 Cumbaya" bus. Cost: $0.25, $0.12 for concessions. From there, numerous bus lines cover various routes amd are divided into 'populares' which are blue and 'selectivo/ejecutivo' which are red.
Taxis are plentiful in Quito and are very useful for getting around. All should be yellow, licensed and have a taximeter. Fares begin at $.35 and min. charge is $1.
Most trips of 10-20 minutes within the city cost about $2-4. A ride from La Mariscal to the Old Town costs no more than $3, depending on traffic.
National Police, 101
Hospital Metropolitano Av. Mariana de Jesús & Occidental, 243-1520.
Hospital Militar Queseras del Medio & Av. Occidental, 256-8152
Voz Andes Villalengua 267 & 10 de Agosto, 224-1540.
Clinica Pichincha Veintimilla E3-30 & Páez, 256-2408
Women's Clinics (Clínica de la Mujer) Av. Amazonas 482 & Gaspar de Villaroel, 245-800