Best of Quito

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Quito
Ecuador’s most culturally rich city, Quito is packed with attractions, from impressive archeological museums to hilltop viewpoints high above the metropolis. Not to be missed is Quito’s old center, a Unesco World Heritage site dotted with colonial mansions and gilded churches, some of which date back to the 16th century. High-quality lodging options and some of the country’s best restaurants make Quito an excellent base before or after visiting other parts of the country. 

City tours take you to key landmarks in Quito, like La Compañia, a gold-filled Jesuit church that took over 160 years to complete. Just north of the city, the Inti Ñan museum, which lies near the equator line, has interactive exhibits and demonstrations on water and energy. You can also learn about Andean culinary techniques during a private cooking class.
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Quito Essentials

Quito's Old Town is full of towers and spires
The Perfect Day in Quito

Even if you have just 24 hours to spend, your time in the Ecuadorian capital will be special. On this thrilling one-day itinerary, you'll take a trip on one of the most magical cable cars on the planet, wander through some of South America's best museums, and indulge in Ecuador's famous coffee and chocolate.

Enjoy your time exploring Quito
9 Best Boutique Hotels in Quito

There is something for everybody in Quito, and a hotel for every taste and sensibility. Top neighborhoods include the historic center and hip La Floresta. English is largely spoken at these hotels, with an attuned staff that understands the unique needs and expectations of foreign tourists. Street noise can be a challenge in some places. If you’re a light sleeper, request an interior room and ear plugs are always a good idea. WiFi and breakfasts are pretty much standard.

Quito Itineraries

Tiny Tortoises of the Santa Cruz Breeding Center, Galapagos
Map of Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 8 Days
Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 8 Days

An 8-day adventure in Ecuador, starting and ending in Quito. During this trip, you'll get to explore Quito, the Otavalo indigenous market, and the beautiful Galapagos Islands, possibly the best-preserved national park in the world.

Wildlife in the Galapagos
Map of Ecuador Highlights: Quito & the Galapagos - 6 Days
Ecuador Highlights: Quito & the Galapagos - 6 Days

See the highlights of Quito and the Galapagos Islands on this short itinerary. Start out in the city, touring the capital and its surrounding region to experience local history and culture. You'll see colonial architecture, visit an indigenous market, and try traditional cuisine. From here, catch a short flight to the Galapagos Islands. These famed islands provided Charles Darwin with the research and inspiration for his Theory of Evolution, and boast endemic species such as the blue-footed booby, marine iguanas, and giant tortoises.

Local Quito store
Map of Ecuador History, Culture & Nature: Quito & Surroundings - 5 Days
Ecuador History, Culture & Nature: Quito & Surroundings - 5 Days

This short but extensive itinerary brings you into the very heart of the Ecuadorian capital and its surroundings. You will tour Quito's beautifully preserved historic center to see fine examples of colonial architecture, learn about history and culture at the Ethnographic Museum, and enjoy the best panoramic view of the city. The adventure continues north of Quito in Otavalo and Cotacachi, renowned for their local crafts. Finally, take a day-trip to Cotopaxi National Park—its namesake volcano is one of Ecuador's most famous natural landmarks.

Quito's Historic center
Map of Explore Quito: History, Culture, & Volcanoes - 5 Days
Explore Quito: History, Culture, & Volcanoes - 5 Days

If you want to experience the best that Ecuador has to offer but don't have time to wander far, this 5-day trip is full of adventures. Explore Quito—the site of the equatorial line, historic downtown, and ethnographic museums—then head out of the city to stretch your legs on the hiking trails. You'll hike on two nearby volcanoes, look for rare wildlife, and breathe in the fresh Andes mountain air. 

Family hiking on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos
Family Trip to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands - 14 Days

This two-week adventure is loaded with family-friendly activities. In colonial Quito, ascend to the top of a volcano by cable car and bond over a cooking class. Then, a nature hike through misty cloud forests sets the stage for your great Galapagos adventure. Here, you'll cruise the archipelago by speedboat, snorkel with sea lions, and visit uninhabited islands. Other unforgettable experiences the whole family will love include visiting giant tortoises, hiking up a volcano, and lazing on white-sand beaches.

Pailón del Diablo waterfall
Discover Ecuador's Cultural Highlights & Natural Wonders - 8 Days

Experience Ecuador's natural wonders and lively capital city on this 8-day adventure. You'll base yourself in Quito for most of the itinerary, exploring the city's museums and taking an Ecuadorian cooking class before heading out into the surrounding wilderness. Day-trip to beautiful Cuicocha Lagoon, shop for handicrafts in the famous Otavalo Market, and hike through the Mindo cloud forest, returning to Quito each evening. Then you'll move on to Cotopaxi National Park, sleeping in a traditional hacienda. Finish up the trip in Baños, where you'll feel the spray of magnificent waterfalls and enjoy sweeping views of the mountains before heading back to Quito for one last overnight.

Cotopaxi National Park
Map of Ecuadorian Adventure in Quito: Otavalo, Cotopaxi, & Cloud Forest - 7 Days
Ecuadorian Adventure in Quito: Otavalo, Cotopaxi, & Cloud Forest - 7 Days

Use Ecuador's capital as your base for this adventure-packed, weeklong trip. Explore Quito's colonial past and visit the equator line, head to the lush Mindo Cloud Forest to see its incredible diversity of wildlife, and browse local markets for handmade art and handicrafts. No trip to Ecuador would be complete without a visit to one of the country's volcanos, and you'll get to hike two: Quilotoa and Cotopaxi. 

Colorful Macaw in the Amazon
Map of Mountains & Rainforest in Ecuador: Quito, Andes, & Amazon - 10 Days
Mountains & Rainforest in Ecuador: Quito, Andes, & Amazon - 10 Days

See rare wildlife, climb into the clouds, traverse volcanoes, and more on this 10-day Ecuador itinerary. You'll get to experience cultural highlights, like Quito's UNESCO-designated city center and the Otavalo market, but the true gem of this trip is nature. From the lush cloud forests of Mindo to the ecologically diverse Amazon, there's no shortage of wildlife sightings: howler monkeys, pink river dolphins, and iridescent blue butterflies all call this region home. 

Snowy massif
Map of Hiking in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador - 7 Days
Hiking in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador - 7 Days

Ecuador is famous for its snow-capped volcanoes and UNESCO historic sites, and you'll get to visit both on this 7-day itinerary. In Quito, visit colonial churches, stand on both hemispheres at the Middle of the World, and hike the nearby  Ruco Pichincha Volcano. You'll also hike the Pasochoa Volcano, admire the scenery in Cotopaxi, and browse for gifts at mountain markets. 

Sea Lions Playing
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, & the Galapagos Islands - 10 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, & the Galapagos Islands - 10 Days

Ecuador is famous for many ecological and cultural highlights, and you'll get to visit two—Quito and the Galapagos Islands—on this 10-day itinerary. Start in Quito to tour the colonial city center, hike to volcanic lagoons, and explore the biodiversity of the Mindo Cloud Forest.  Continue the trip with a flight to the Galapagos, where you'll spend four days relaxing on sunny beaches, visiting uninhabited islands, and looking for rare and endemic animals. 

Baby Alpaca
Map of Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days
Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days

Experience the best of Ecuador's mainland and Peru's highlights on this two-week trip. Start in Quito to tour the UNESCO-designated city center, then head to the Amazon for cultural experiences with the Kichwa indigenous community, wildlife viewing, and a peaceful rainforest atmosphere. Return to Quito by way of Cotopaxi National Park, home to the eponymous volcano. Then, catch a flight to Lima—the urban hub of Peru. End the trip with a visit to Cusco's pre-Inca ruins and a tour of the Sacred Valley and imperial Machu Picchu residence.

Hoatzin in Yasuni National Park
Map of Nature & Culture in Ecuador: Quito and the Amazon Rainforest - 7 Days
Nature & Culture in Ecuador: Quito and the Amazon Rainforest - 7 Days

If you want to visit Ecuador but can't decide between city or rainforest life, this itinerary has the best of both worlds. Start in Quito to see colonial churches and visit the equatorial line, then head to the Amazon rainforest. Spend three days in Yasuni National Park relaxing at an ecolodge, panning for gold in a stream, and learning to make chocolate the authentic way. 

A beach on Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos
Ecuadorian Highlands & Galapagos Islands Adventure - 14 Days

This sweeping two-week adventure showcases the diversity of Ecuador. From busy marketplaces in the city to thermal baths in the highlands, from peaceful bays in the Galapagos to the lush landscapes of the cloud forest, this itinerary has something for everyone. Highlights include hiking in Cotopaxi National Park, shopping in Otavalo Market, sightseeing in the bustling city of Quito, and snorkeling and swimming around the gorgeous islands of the Galapagos archipelago.

Parrot at Parrot clay lick
Map of Ecuador Wildlife & Culture: Quito, Mindo, Yasuni National Park - 10 Days
Ecuador Wildlife & Culture: Quito, Mindo, Yasuni National Park - 10 Days

On this 10-day journey through Ecuador, you will experience culture and extraordinary wildlife. It is the perfect trip for the curious traveler who wants to see the magic of the Amazonian jungle, learn about indigenous communities, and experience history in the UNESCO-listed city of Quito. Zipline between trees through the rainforest, drink Wayusa with the Kichwa locals and shop for local crafts at the Otavalo Market.

Unspoiled beaches and turquoise waters in the Galápagos
Map of Ultimate Ecuador: Quito, Baños, Cotopaxi & the Galápagos - 10 Days
Ultimate Ecuador: Quito, Baños, Cotopaxi & the Galápagos - 10 Days

Adventure awaits on this exhilarating 10-day journey through Ecuador. Starting in the country's rugged Andean highlands, you'll hike and horseback ride through a landscape of towering volcanoes, crater lakes, and dramatic waterfalls before hopping over to the Galápagos to discover some of the most remarkable biodiversity on earth. Explore uninhabited islands, snorkel with sharks, and get your adrenaline pumping as you rappel deep into a dormant volcano.

Embark on a luxury cruise through Ecuador's rainforest
Map of Amazon Luxury Cruise & Galápagos Island Hopping - 10 Days
Amazon Luxury Cruise & Galápagos Island Hopping - 10 Days

Experience two of Ecuador's most remarkable ecosystems in style on this adventurous, 10-day itinerary. Starting from the capital of Quito, set off into the wilds of the Amazon and board a three-night luxury river cruise through Yasuni National Park. Spot primates, parrots, and piranhas as you explore the rainforest by kayak and on foot, returning to the comfort of your ship each evening. Then it's time to switch gears and fly to the Galápagos for an itinerary of island hopping, snorkeling, and wildlife encounters.

Cotopaxi, an active volcano in the Andes Mountains, Ecuador
Highlights of Ecuador: Quito, Galapagos Islands & More - 10 Days

The incredible diversity of Ecuador is highlighted on this 10-day trip around the country. Tour the colonial center of Quito and hike to Cotopaxi Volcano in the Andes before venturing into the Amazon to explore the rainforest's wildlife and indigenous culture. Then it's off to the Galapagos for a few days of island exploration, including snorkeling, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Spotting penguins and giant tortoises in their natural habitats is an unforgettable way to finish this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Exploring scenic terrain with the family in the Galapagos Islands
Ecuador Family Trip: Quito, the Amazon & Galapagos Islands - 11 Days

From the colorful wildlife of the Amazon rainforest to the underwater playground of the Galapagos, this family-friendly journey around Ecuador offers adventure and education for all ages. Start in Quito, where you'll take a hands-on cooking class and set foot on both halves of the equator at Mitad del Mundo. Then delve into the Amazon rainforest, spotting exotic insects on a nighttime jungle tour and canoeing to a parrot habitat — bring your binoculars for the best views! Finish the itinerary in the Galapagos Islands with several days of wildlife viewing, snorkeling, and so much more. Keep your eyes open for giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies!

Volcanic peaks and dense jungle near Macas
Map of Ecuador Glamping Adventure: Cities, Jungles & Highlands - 9 Days
Ecuador Glamping Adventure: Cities, Jungles & Highlands - 9 Days

Immerse yourself in Ecuador's natural splendors on this 9-day glamping adventure. From the capital of Quito to the depths of the Amazon and the volcanic slopes of the highlands, you'll spend your days hiking, kayaking, and rafting through breathtaking landscapes. Meanwhile, nights are spent close to nature in a series of unforgettable "glamorous camping" sites.

Enjoy the beaches of Ecuador
Map of The Real Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Amazon & Galapagos - 14 Days
The Real Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Amazon & Galapagos - 14 Days

Experience the cultural heritage and natural beauty of Ecuador over the course of two weeks. From the urban sprawl of Quito to the serene shores of the Galapagos and everything in between, this tour will span several diverse regions and truly open your eyes to one of South America's most fascinating countries.

Cuicocha Lagoon
Map of Ecuador Mountains to Coast: Andes, Quito, Cotopaxi, & More - 10 Days
Ecuador Mountains to Coast: Andes, Quito, Cotopaxi, & More - 10 Days

From Quito's colonial center to the volcanoes of Cotopaxi National Park, explore the best of Ecuador's mainland on this packed 10-day itinerary. Hike along the rim of volcanic lagoons, barter for Ecuadorian handicrafts at markets, and visit small mountain villages. You'll see cascading waterfalls, lush orchid farms, high altitude plateaus, and much more as you traverse the countryside.

Pink River Dolphin in the Amazon
Map of Wildlife & Nature in Ecuador - Quito, Amazon, & Galapagos - 10 Days
Wildlife & Nature in Ecuador - Quito, Amazon, & Galapagos - 10 Days

Ecuador is one of the world's hotspots for ecological diversity, so it makes sense to spend this 10-day trip exploring nature as much as possible. Start in Quito to see the UNESCO heritage city center, then head to the rainforest for three days at an ecolodge where you'll spot macaws, pink river dolphins, and howler monkeys. Round out your trip with a flight to the Galapagos, where giant tortoises, white-sand beaches, and uninhabited islands await.

School of Fish in the Galapagos
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito, Amazon, Cotopaxi, & Galapagos  - 14 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito, Amazon, Cotopaxi, & Galapagos - 14 Days

Experience the best of Ecuador while getting to know its three main ecological regions: the Amazon rainforest, volcano highlands, and Galapagos Islands on this 14-day itinerary. Start the trip in Quito to see the UNESCO designated colonial city center, then head to the rainforest for three days at an ecolodge. Hike near volcanic lagoons and browse mountain markets, then catch a flight to Santa Cruz for three days of exploring uninhabited islands and spotting endemic wildlife.

"Chagras" Cowboys in Cotopaxi National Park
Map of Trekking in Ecuador's Highlands: Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, & More - 14 Days
Trekking in Ecuador's Highlands: Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, & More - 14 Days

Spend two weeks exploring mountainous landscapes in a country that's equally famous for its volcanoes and rainforest. From Quito's colonial city center to the high-elevation hacienda refuge on Cotopaxi, you'll trek through historic sites and stunning nature. Spot rare Andean condors, haggle for goods at a mountain market, summit volcanoes, and more. 

Volcano in Ecuador
Map of Ecuador Cities & Volcanoes: Quito to Cotopaxi - 12 Days
Ecuador Cities & Volcanoes: Quito to Cotopaxi - 12 Days

Visit the cities and volcanoes of beautiful Ecuador on this 12-day adventure. Start in the nation's capital, exploring its well-preserved colonial center and other cultural highlights. Then, head out on a busy tour through small towns like Cotacachi, enjoying several indigenous markets and villages along the way. You will also check off wondrous volcanoes like Pasachoa and Cotopaxi, as well as the unique paramo ecosystem of Chimborazo. The final leg of the trip takes you to Ecuador's lovely third city, Cuenca, before going full circle and ending in Quito again.

Río Napo in Ecuador
Map of Best of the Ecuadorian Amazon: 7 Days
Best of the Ecuadorian Amazon: 7 Days

Leave the cold climes of Quito and descend to the sinuous rivers and sticky jungle of the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth. On this 7-day itinerary, you will wildlife-spot along mighty waterways, climb into rainforest canopies, brave some of South America’s best white-water rapids and bathe in beautiful thermal pools. If you are set on exploring the Amazon, Ecuador is one of the best places to do it.

Monkey on tree trunk
Map of Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure: Yasuní National Park - 5 Days
Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure: Yasuní National Park - 5 Days

Go deep into one of the most biodiverse spots on earth, the Yasuní National Park. Located in the heart of the Amazon, you'll explore pristine forests, rivers and lagoons while keeping an eye out for different species of monkeys and birds, as well as endemic insects and plants. You'll also have the opportunity get to do a cultural exchange with the native Kichua people to learn about their history and culture.

Colorful hummingbird in Ecuadorian forest
Map of Highlands of Ecuador - 5 Days
Highlands of Ecuador - 5 Days

This short itinerary is perfect for travelers who want a mix of cosmopolitan fun in Quito and adventure in the nearby cloud forests. Start with a walking tour of Quito's most striking historical sites and neighborhoods before taking a short drive to the cloud forest of Mindo where you can visit a butterfly farm, see how chocolate is made at a cacao hacienda. Then, explore the charming town of Otavalo and see the Peguche waterfall where ancient rituals still take place.

Artisan Market
Map of Culture & Nature in Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Amazon, Chimborazo, & Cotopaxi - 14 Days
Culture & Nature in Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Amazon, Chimborazo, & Cotopaxi - 14 Days

The landscapes of Ecuador's mainland are as varied as the people who live there, and you'll get to experience both nature and culture on this 14-day itinerary. Meet the locals who call these regions home and learn about their history, way of life and relationship to Ecuador's landscapes. From the Otavaleños and Afro-Ecuadorians in the north and the Quichua and Shuar in the rainforest to the Kichwa in the central Andes, you'll dive deep into everyday life and explore Ecuador's nature. 

Ziplining towards a waterfall near the town of Baños
Map of Ecuador Highlands & Amazon - 7 Days
Ecuador Highlands & Amazon - 7 Days

This action-packed 7-day tour of Ecuador is perfect for travelers searching for adventure, culture and spectacular scenery all within a few hours' drive from the capital Quito. The trip begins with a thrilling bike ride down an active volcano and continues with hikes in the cloud forest, a climb up a waterfall and visits to an indigenous community. There will be plenty of opportunities to unwind too, with stops at hot springs and a quiet, mountainside hacienda.

The Chimborazo Volcano
Map of Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days
Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days

This weeklong itinerary is perfect for travelers who are interested in seeing the astoundingly beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Travel along the Andean highlands to see ancient volcanoes, sacred waterfalls, and lagoons before ending your trip in the lush coastal lowlands. At the end of each adventurous day, you will be able to relax at beautifully restored haciendas that will allow you to step back in time.

Quito's Plaza Grande
Coffee & Chocolate: A Taste of Ecuador - 13 Days

This 13-day tour of Ecuador will tap all of your senses, from seeing historical sights to tasting local chocolate and smelling fresh coffee. Start in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to see the Cathedral and Plaza de San Francisco and participate in a chocolate tour. Outside of the city, learn about the process of how coffee is made at a local farm. Take the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) train ride to see the scenic countryside, and stay in the colonial-era city of Cuenca known for its nightlife and dining.

Vicuñas in front of Mount Chimborazo
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito, Quilotoa, Baños, Cuenca, & Guayaquil - 8 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito, Quilotoa, Baños, Cuenca, & Guayaquil - 8 Days

This eight-day itinerary is perfect for travelers hoping to see Ecuador's most notable national parks and explore the country's most populous cities. You'll begin your trip with a free day in the capital of Quito before heading off to hike the Quilotoa and Cotopaxi Volcanoes and explore Ecuador's gateway to the Amazon. Then, make a stop at Mount Chimborazo, take a scenic train ride through the Andes, and take a walking tour of the historic port city of Guayaquil.

Cordillera Occidental Andes Central Ecuador
Map of Ecuador: Amazon, Andes, and the Coast - 16 Days
Ecuador: Amazon, Andes, and the Coast - 16 Days

Explore the best of Ecuador in this 16-day tour through the Amazon, Andes, and Coastal regions. You'll visit beautiful colonial towns, indigenous communities, and experience ways of life both ancient and modern in this diverse country.

Other popular travel destinations in Ecuador
Cotopaxi · Otavalo · Baños · The Amazon · Riobamba · Quilotoa · Cuenca · Guayaquil · Mindo · Papallacta · Yasuni National Park · Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve · Tena · Archidona · Lago Agrio · Isinliví · Cacha