Quito Culture & history

Our most recommended Quito Culture & history

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

1. Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

Begin by a visit to one of South America's best preserved historic city centers. Go to the Basilica del Voto Nacional Church, where you can climb up its high domes. Move towards the Panecillo viewpoint, an iconic place in the city, renowned for its beauty and giant statue of the Winged Virgin - here you can admire a beautiful landscape of both colonial and modern Quito (entrance to churches not included). Continue on to the traditional La Ronda neighborhood. In this romantic setting you can find workshops where you can learn from a group of authentic artisans how their work is done. See historic trades that keep alive the cultural traditions of this charming city. Stop at Zona Rosa for approximately an hour and a half to have some free time for lunch (not included). You will then go to the Middle of the World City, where you can see the monument that divides the northern and southern hemispheres of the planet. Entrance to the Middle of the World complex is included ,where you can enjoy experiences that defy the laws of physics and occur only in this part of the world. NOTE: On Sunday, this tour operates in an inverted way, first you visit the Middle of the World and then you have the city tour.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

2. Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

Visit Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. The park is home to the active Cotopaxi volcano that towers 19,642 feet above sea level. When you reach the park your naturalist guide will show you the exceptional variety of flora and fauna. Hike to the Limpiopungo lagoon, located on the slopes of the volcano. Stop at the lagoon for a short rest to take in the landscapes and the spectacular views of the volcano. Continue the hike to the Jose Ribas shelter and experience the environment at almost 16,000 feet above sea level.

Quito: Full-Day Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Tour

3. Quito: Full-Day Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Tour

Board the Quito Tour Bus on Avenida Naciones Unidas in the heart of Quito, and then depart the city in the early afternoon. Journey to the Geobotanical Reserve of the Pululahua Crater at the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo complex. Visit the new Beer Museum, see a miniature model that celebrates the architectural beauty of the Historic Center of Quito and more. Finally, you will visit the Agave Museum where you will have a tasting of this ancestral drink. Return to the start point in the evening.

Quito: City Highlights and Food Walking Tour

4. Quito: City Highlights and Food Walking Tour

Explore Quito, the oldest capital in South America, from all of its angles. Get to know the main historical plazas, buildings, churches and parks. Admire downtown's colonial architecture with its mix of 19th century and modern style buildings. Get away from the main sites and explore lesser-known gems, like the main flea market in town, where you'll understand another side of every day local life. Eat at a top street food stop, and explore one of the main markets. Finish the journey sampling some of the best chocolate and coffee from the hands of a top chocolatier.

From Quito : 2-Day Mindo Private Excursion with Lodging

5. From Quito : 2-Day Mindo Private Excursion with Lodging

Discover the evergreen wilderness and spectacular natural diversity of the Andes’ western slope. Day 1: Depart Quito in the early morning and visit El Pahuma Orchid Reserve for a 1-hour hike to the waterfalls. Stop off at the Alambi Reserve to take photos inside the hummingbird garden. Enjoy lunch in Mindo, and take advantage of free time in the afternoon to explore the city on your own. Spend the night at a hotel in Mindo. Day 2: Wake up to a relaxing breakfast at the hotel before you start your day. Choose from a variety of activities to participate in at your own expense, including river tubing, ziplining, rappelling, or visiting the butterfly farm. Return to Quito at the end of the day.

Historic Quito and Craft Beer Tour

6. Historic Quito and Craft Beer Tour

First enjoy a visit to the historic center, the largest and best preserved in South America, in a replica trolley, learn how these circulated in Quito in the last century. Visit to the Basilica del Voto Nacional Church, where you will be able to climb up to its high domes, and later move towards the Panecillo viewpoint. This iconic place in the city, is renowned for its beauty, near by there is also a giant statue of the "Winged Virgin", where you can admire a beautiful landscape of colonial and modern Quito. Continue to the Plaza de San Francisco, one of the representative places of the city which is full of history. Enjoy a walk to the Plaza Grande, historical and political center of the city, where you will pass by innumerable attractions including: the Cathedral, the Palace of Government, the Archbishop's Palace and the La Compañía church. Then experience the traditional La Ronda neighborhood, in whose romantic setting, traditional workshops can be found. Here you will learn from a group of authentic artisans, how their works are informed from traditions, and the importance of trades from yesteryear that keep alive the cultural charms of this city. Quito is recognized as the first city to brew beer in South America, in the sixteenth century, 1566 religious orders injected the beer gene in the Quiteño people, which has awakened again in the 21st century. On this tour, learn about the passion Quito has, and with great care how the culture have crafted their unique beers. This part of the tour starts from selected hotels or at the starting point in the area of La Mariscal. Where you will walk to the first Pub located in a traditional neighborhood where a tasting will take place by a master brewer specialist. They will teach you to use all 5 senses to discover the flavors of craft beer. Then walk through the beautiful streets of the historic center until you reach the next stop, the former craft breweries of the city. Here you will continue enjoying the pleasures of beer and understand more about its processes.

Quito: Historic Day and Night Tour

7. Quito: Historic Day and Night Tour

During the course of this tour, you'll get to know the people and places of Quito, as your guide explains to you the cultural heritage of the city. You'll travel in a historic tram, similar to those that could be found in Quito in the 20th century. Firstly, you'll visit the historic centre of Quito, one of the largest and best-preserved sites in South America. Then, make your way to the Basilica del Voto Nacional Church, making a brief stop during which you'll be able to climb it's high domes. Following this, you'll head to the Panecillo viewpoint, an iconic place in the city where a statue of the Winged Virgin is located. Take some time to admire the beautiful landscape of Quito. Then, you'll continue to the Plaza de San Francisco, a place full of history. The historical and political centre of the city is to be found at the Plaza Grande, which is surrounded by innumerable attractions including the Cathedral, the Palace of Government, the Archbishop's Palace and the La Compañía church. This part of the tour will finish in the traditional La Ronda neighbourhood, in whose romantic setting you can find workshops and learn from local artisans. Find out how their works are created and gain an insight into the trades of yesteryear, which keep alive the cultural traditions of this charming city.  Urban Legends of Quito at night: The nighttime tour will begin in the northern part of the city. You'll get to visit the more commercial areas, where you can find most of Quito's hotels and nightlife. Then, you'll head to the historic centre to admire the churches and historic buildings illuminated at night. The tour will continue to Mirador del Panecillo, where you can take in stunning views of Quito. At the end of the tour, you may wish to go to one of the local nightlife spots or to one of the recommended restaurants or simply return to your hotel.

Quito: Capilla del Hombre and Guayasamín House Museum

8. Quito: Capilla del Hombre and Guayasamín House Museum

Visit the former home of legendary painter Oswaldo Guayasamín and discover a comprehensive collection of his work. See his personal collection of pre-Columbian ceramic, bone, and metal artifacts. Admire an exhibition of Guayasamín’s religious art, including work by skilled indigenous artists from Escuela Quiteña. Visit the Capilla del Hombre cultural center located next to the house. Admire the serenity of your surroundings, impressive architecture, paintings, murals, and sculptures by Guayasamín. Explore its open spaces and discover its message of commitment to human rights, peace, and solidarity. See the "Eternal Flame", advocating for peace and human rights, and the "Tree of Life" where the ashes of Guayasamín are interred. Reflect on history from a Latin American point of view. Gain insight into social issues including discrimination, the role of women and children, and casualties of war.

Quito: Cable Car Ride and Private City Tour

9. Quito: Cable Car Ride and Private City Tour

See Quito from above on this cable car and guided tour. Travel to Cruz Loma viewpoint, explore Quito with a guide, and learn about Quito's history. Meet your guide at your hotel and head to Pichincha volcano. Take the cable car to the top and admire the view from Cruz Loma. See an unforgettable view of Quito and the snow-capped volcanoes Cotopaxi, Antisana, and Cayambe. After returning to the base of the mountain, begin your guided tour of Quito, the first World Cultural Heritage Site created. Before your tour, enjoy some time to have a coffee or a small lunch with recommendations from your local guide. Head to Independence Square, the scene of many dramatic revolutionary battles throughout Ecuador's history. Walk past the Presidential Palace, Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace, and Church of the Secret Society of Jesus of Quito. Stroll through the charming La Ronda neighborhood and marvel at the ancient Church and Convent of San Francisco. Hop into a car and drive to the top of El Panecillo and see the tallest aluminum statue in the world, the winged Virgin Mary of Quito.

Quito: Equator Line and Hidden Gems Tour with Beer Tasting

10. Quito: Equator Line and Hidden Gems Tour with Beer Tasting

Your tour guide will pick you up at 9:00 a.m. from your hotel, in order to drive you towards the north west of Quito to head the famous Intiñan Museum, geographically located at 0 degrees, 0 minutes and 0 seconds, that marks the division between the northern and southern hemispheres as established by the French Geodesic Mission in the Eighteenth Century. You will admire beautiful displays of different ethnic groups in Ecuador, plus the story of their lifestyles, explained by a specialist tour guide! This is the opportunity to be photographed with both of your feet on the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time! After this memorable and fantastic experience in the museum, you will drive to the “Mitad del Mundo” complex, that is located at the San Antonio parish of Quito. The grounds contain the Ethnographic Museum, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador. The 30-meter-tall monument, built between 1979 and 1982, was constructed to mark the point where the equator passes through the country in the geodetic datum in use in Ecuador at that time. A line down the centre of the east-facing staircase and across the plaza, was meant to mark the equator and countless tourists over the years have had their pictures taken straddling this line. Then we drive straight to a hidden farm, where you will learn all about the organic products that the local people grow in their backyards, such as coffee, bananas, tangerines, lemons, oranges, etc. While we are walking through the little crops, we will have one of the best opportunities to practice photography, from an extremely short distance, of about 20 species of Hummingbirds, 6 species of Tannagers, 2 species of Quetzals, toucans, flower piercers, and much more! After this memorable experience, you'll have time to relax and enjoy a craft beer tasting at a local brewery. You will finish this fantastic adventure at 4:00 p.m!

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Frequently asked questions about Quito

What are the best day trips and excursions from Quito?

The best day trips and excursions from Quito are:

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What people are saying about Quito

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 110 reviews

Excellent tour. Andrea was an excellent guide who was interactive and very knowledgeable. We were a large family of different ages and she made sure that all of us were engaged throughout the day. Highly recommend it.

Do not hesitate to take this tour! We had an incredible time and were able to see the majority of the tourist spots in Quito all in one day. Bring your walking shoes and prepare to be in awe by the end of the day!

This was a good full-day tour of downtown Quito and the Mitad del Mundo. We learned a lot obout the city and the country.

Very good experience. Climbing up is tough because of the altitude.

Tour was excellent an tour guide Andres very professional.