Things to do in Quito

Our most recommended things to do in Quito

Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

1. Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

Depart by bus from through the Panamerican Highway admiring the diverse ecosystems of the route, as a clear sign of the majesty of the Andes. Continue to the Cotopaxi National Park, arriving at the foot of the impressive active volcano. Visit the Museum Park, the Limpiopungo Lagoon and and through an interesting hike will reach the forest of chuquirahuas to 4200 meters. (if the weather permits). See the Quilotoa Volcano. With a stunning turquoise lagoon in its crater, it's one of the most beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Take a short hike to appreciate the magnificent view of the volcano (if weather conditions allow) and enjoy time for lunch at your own expense.

Santa Cruz: Galapagos Islands 4 Day Explorer Tour

2. Santa Cruz: Galapagos Islands 4 Day Explorer Tour

Day 1 Arrive at the airport of Baltra Island and meet the National Park guides, followed by a transfer to Santa Cruz. Check in at your hotel and in the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Scientific Station and the Interpretation Center of the Galapagos National Park. Day 2 Head to the stunning Turtle Bay Beach, a postcard-worthy beach with white sand and azure sea. Stop to observe the marine life, iguanas, and many other wildlife species Travel next to a private ranch, where you will be able to see the protected giant turtles living in their natural habitat. Finally, the adventure will conclude with a hike through the underground lava tunnels. Day 3 On the third day, head to the dock to sail to the islet of La Loberia. Take some time for snorkeling, before traveling to Punta Estrada. Keep a look out for frigate birds, sea lions, and other marine life. Day 4 After breakfast at the hotel, be returned to the airport for your departure flight.

From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

3. From Quito: Otavalo, Cotacachi & Cuicocha Full-Day Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Quito and discover the ease and beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside. Depart from Quito through the Pan-American North Highway via Cayambe. Passengers will have the opportunity to taste the delicious Bizcochos de Cayambe, a type of cracker or bread baked in a clay oven, greatly paired with local cheese or caramel sauce. Afterwards, make a brief stop at Miralago to admire a wonderful view of Lago San Pablo. The tour then continues to Otavalo where Otavaleños (natives) set up a market in which a bartering manner of shopping is taken place. The market hosts a variety of different handcrafted items. You may choose between staying in this area and enjoying more time at the market (a bus will pick you up at the end of the tour*), or you can continue the tour to visit Cotacachi and Cuicocha. If you continue the tour, journey to the town of Cotacachi, recognized for its leather clothing and crafts. On the way to Cotacachi, visit an Andean instrument workshop, "Ñanda Mañachi", located in the area of Peguche, to spend some special moments with the local people and understand the Andean culture. In Cotacachi you have enough time to visit the village and leather goods shops, as well as free time for lunch (not included). Later, visit the Ecological Reserve where the Cuicocha lagoon is located, inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano. This originated after a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. And if the weather permits, it will be possible to make a walk by the lagoon with the chance to sail in the crater of the volcano in small boats (at an additional cost). *Bus will wait for 10 minutes in Otavalo to pick you up if you have chosen to stay there, and after that will return to Quito and your respective hotel or starting point.

Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

4. Quito: Middle of the World Tour with Tickets

Begin your 3-hour tour in the northern part of Quito and head up to the middle of the city. This is where you will find the monument that stands on the line that divides the northern and the southern hemispheres. The Equatorial Monument was built during the 17th century when the precise dividing line between the hemispheres was defined by a French expeditionary team.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

5. 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.

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

6. Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

Drive south from Quito to the Quilotoa area and visit its famous lagoon. Along the way, you'll admire the beautiful Andean landscape and stop at the Shalala viewpoint. Next, you'll visit the community viewpoint and descend to the lagoon. Once there, you'll have free time to hike and explore the area. You'll return on a path that connects the lagoon to the community viewpoint. It's an intense walk, so if you're not in good shape, simply climb on a mule that will pack you back to the viewpoint. After a lunch break, you'll also stop at a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful products, and visit the Toachi's Canon.

Quito: Paragliding Flight from Lumbisi Peak

7. Quito: Paragliding Flight from Lumbisi Peak

Paragliding flights in the Ecuadorian Sierra is a thermal flight that takes place moving through the skies taking advantage of the wind that hits the hill and the ascending air currents that are generated by the heat of the sun or radiation called thermal. We take off from the hill of Lumbisi towards the City, we observe the landscape of the city of Quito you can see the mountains. We landed on the hillside. The meeting point is en route to Lumbisí km 1 at the entrance to La Primavera at 8:30 am. From there we climbed in a vehicle to the mountain. The guide takes care of the whole operation, you just have to enjoy and fulfill your dream of flying. The flight experience lasts between 12-15 minutes.

From Quito: Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip

8. From Quito: Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip

Enjoy a unique day trip to Baños de Agua Santa, and see the beautiful volcanoes of Ecuador, waterfalls, the cloud forest, and the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Visit Baños de Agua Santa, a city located at 1,820 meters above sea level (5,971 ft), south of Quito on the north-eastern flanks of the Tungurahua Volcano (5,000 m / 16,404 ft), with natural hot springs downtown, and a natural entrance to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Be picked up at 7:30 am from your hotel in Quito to start an incredible adventure. Admire beautiful volcanoes on the way, like Antisana, Los Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, and Tungurahua. Arrive to start a walk through the charming streets of Baños around 10:15 am, and take time to visit the monastery of the "Virgin of Agua Santa”, and see paintings that describe different eruptions of the Tungurahua Volcano, whose volcanic activity started again in 1999. Drive towards the beautiful and stunning “Avenue of the Waterfalls”; beginning with a stop in front of the Agoyan Hydroelectric Dam, and walk towards the local community of "Río Blanco" to appreciate the beauty of the cloud forest. Cross the Pastaza River Canyon on a cable car that rides a 500 meters-long-cable to visit the "Manto de la Novia" waterfall, learn all about the local people's lifestyle, and take a hike down to the river. Stop at the viewpoint of the "San Jorge" waterfall, and recover energy with a tasty lunch. Visit the world-famous Devil's Cauldron or "Pailón del Diablo" waterfall, and see some of the Amazon's vegetation. Arrive back in Quito approximately at 6:30 pm, after having enjoyed more than four different microclimates on the same day.

Quito Cooking Class

9. Quito Cooking Class

This half day tour takes you to the local food market in the historical center and to a very cosy restaurant close to the Basilica where you will prepare your traditional Ecuadorian dishes. The Ecuadorian chef will go to the market with you and explain t the endemic fruits and vegetables. Afterwards, walk the five blocks back to the restaurant. Start your class in the Spanish-style courtyard of the colonial house. Before the cooking class begins, you will be given a chef’s hat, an apron and a mini recipe book with the 3 dishes you will be cooking. These recipes that you will cook are traditional Ecuadorian dishes: Locro Quiteño, Encocado and a Chocolate soup, chosen because the ingredients used can be found all over the world. Therefore, you will be able to cook it when you're home for your family and friends. During the cooking class you will become the chef. You will peel, cut, season and mix the ingredients during the class. The chef will be there guiding you and as the cooking class develops, they will provide further explanations, more details about the history of each dish and its origins of what you are preparing. Once you are done with cooking you will have the pleasure of tasting your self-made dishes in a unique place, the patio of a colonial house. The cooking class will end with a round of applause for all the participants.

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Quito

What are the best day trips and excursions from Quito?

The best day trips and excursions from Quito are:

Otavalo

Other Sightseeing Options in Quito

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What people are saying about Quito

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 728 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.

It is a great trip - especially when you are for a short time in Ecuador. Our guides Daniel and Sonja were really good and the communication with Gray Line Ecuador worked pretty well. I can recommend joining the tour!

Great trip to mitad del mundo. Thanks to our guide Irene who made our trip so enjoyable

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

Gustavo is really helpful and knowledgeable regarding the area.