2850 meters up the mountains we find the country’s old capital, Quito. A vibrant and dynamic city that keeps much of the South America’s earliest colonial history. This is your starting point for exploring the multicultural Ecuador, with its colorful community, various climatic zones and stunning history.
It was from Quito the inka king Atahualpa began the war against his brother Huascar who was living in Cusco in Peru. He had just won this conflict, when the first conquistadors led by Pizarro arrived.
Unfortunately there is no trace of the Incas in Quito today. One of the last inka kings, Ruminhui, tore the whole city apart before they handed it to the conquerors.
In return, the Spaniards had just set their feet here before the churches began to rise. There are no cities in Latin America with so many great 1500, 1600 and 1700 – century buildings as Quito. Funded by the gold an silver they stole. Augustinians, Dominicans and Benedictians built widely ornamented monasteries and churches. The architects found their inspiration in Italy and Spain. The decorations was made by the hands of local artists, often Indian. For this reason, you will see many examples of religious syncretism. Such as Jesus are enjoying an Ecuadorian meal or the women wearing clothes with indian patterns . The artists were, unfornately, mostly anonymous.
The visitor can find a hotel in the old town, Casco Antiguo, or in the district Mariscal, for fun called Gringolandia. There are a lots of hotels, restaurants and cafes. Tourists will get the food they’re used to and a good cappuccino.
But the visitor should also join one of the many lunch places the ecuadorians themselves are frequenting . The cost is 2-3 dollars for a simple and nutritious meal, served quickly and efficiently.
From the tourist area of Mariscal you can easily move around the city. A taxi don’t cost much. Agree on the price in advance (one finger is one dollar). An alternative is the trolley bus. For $ 0.25 you can reach the Old Town or any other interesting part of Quito. Watch your pockets.
For a great view of Quito, you can take a taxi to the “El Panecillo, a hill near the old town. It is guarded by the monument of the Virgin. You can also enter here if you please.
If you’re really want to reach the sky you can join “El Teleferico” up to the foot of the volcano Pinchincha at 4100 meters. The best visibility you get relatively early in the morning.
From Quito, you can also take day trips to the “world’s midst” (La Mitad del Mundo), or the famous Otavalo Indian market.