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Quito Travel Information

Shot of the city of Quito

Quito, second highest capital in Latin America, will offer activities and attractions in either of its two big areas. Two faces of the same coin, two different eras: the ancient and the modern, they will both seduce you in equal measure.

Quito's Old Town preserves the remains of that outstanding Inca city upon which it was founded. The Pichincha Volcano and Panecillo Hill rise on the western end, as sentinels of this amazing valley. There are different routes to choose from, starting from the Plaza Grande (Big Square). The Metropolitan Cathedral's colonial fašade, the traditional 'La Ronda' street, Santa Catalina's monastery, Saint Francis square and church. These are only some of the 86 churches in Quito. The shady Alameda Park harbors Latin America's oldest astronomical observatory.

Quito's opposite shore, especially its northern end, will present a highly cosmopolitan and modern face: broad avenues, a wide choice of hotels, restaurants and all sorts of businesses for tourists and foreigners. Several museums show the world of arts, the heritage of the region's aboriginal cultures and the crafts produced by the numerous ethnic communities: Modern Arts Museum, Sucre's Residence Museum, Ethnographic Museum and Music Instruments Museum.

There are other choices for visits such as the lush Botanical Garden, the Archeological and Ecological Park and the ever-going activity of movies, clubs, recreational and sports facilities. A great deal of touristic packages is available to take tours to nearby places, such as Pululahua Crater that attracts riding fans and the excursion to the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano. The latter constitutes a National Park, ideal for rock-climbing, trekking, fishing, horse riding or simply enjoying nature in one of the comfortable local haciendas. Pasochoa Reserve, less than 1 hour drive south of Quito, is a privileged place for nature tours. Papallacta Baths, preferably during the week to avoid large crowds, offer thermal baths in open nature.

If staying outside of Quito, there is surely a place not to miss: the 'Half of the World', barely 23 km away. The monument consists of a trapezoidal monolith accessible to the top, one of the region's most stunning panoramic views. The monolith's interior hosts an ethnographic museum that exhibits representative samples of traditions and clothing items related to the different ethnic communities. The whole place is in fact a complex of facilities, including restaurants and craft shops.  

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Watching over Quito
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