Warning: Table './indian16_imh2/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache WHERE cid = 'variables' in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 128

Warning: Table './indian16_imh2/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache SET data = 'a:1314:{s:13:\"theme_default\";s:11:\"a3_atlantis\";s:13:\"filter_html_1\";s:1:\"1\";s:18:\"node_options_forum\";a:1:{i:0;s:6:\"status\";}s:18:\"drupal_private_key\";s:64:\"5ddf8335b212958291d21fab1076e409a463ed9256d2338c81821b5cf8821e86\";s:10:\"menu_masks\";a:33:{i:0;i:127;i:1;i:126;i:2;i:125;i:3;i:63;i:4;i:62;i:5;i:61;i:6;i:60;i:7;i:59;i:8;i:58;i:9;i:57;i:10;i:56;i:11;i:48;i:12;i:31;i:13;i:30;i:14;i:29;i:15;i:28;i:16;i:25;i:17;i:24;i:18;i:22;i:19;i:21;i:20;i:15;i:21;i:14;i:22;i:13;i:23;i:12;i:24;i:11;i:25;i:10;i:26;i:7;i:27;i:6;i:28;i:5;i:29;i:4;i:30;i:3;i:31;i:2;i:32;i:1;}s:12:\"install_task\";s:4:\"done\";s:13:\"menu_expanded\";a:1:{i:0;s:17:\"menu-taxonomymenu\";}s:9:\"site_name\";s:19:\"INDIAN CHIEF TRAVEL\";s:9:\"site_mail\"; in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 128

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc:128) in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 636

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc:128) in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 637

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc:128) in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 638

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/indian16/public_html/includes/database.mysqli.inc:128) in /home/indian16/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 639
Sightseeing in Quito - Indian Chief Travel
ECUADOR  |  Quito, Ecuador Travel Guide
Sunday, November 17, 2019
1 Of 3

Sightseeing in Quito

A Walking Tour

A great way to get a feel for Quito is a walking tour of the colonial section of town. The heart of it centers around the Plaza de la Independencia and includes architecture dating back to the mid-1500s. It is well worth spending a few hours exploring this unique area, wandering among the narrow, cobbled streets with their many plazas, churches, and museums.

Once in colonial Quito, allow yourself to wander through history. Experience the religious influence of the Catholic Church as it mixes with ancient indigenous traditions and modern life. Colonial architecture, cobblestone byways and busy street vendors add to the ambiance. Remember, the sights and sounds are incredible enough, but the real adventure lies in the stories and history behind them. Learn well. The sites listed below are among the highlights and are relatively easy to navigate with a simple map, and even easier with a knowledgeable guide.

Plaza de la Independencia

This is a good starting point for a walking tour of colonial Quito. The Plaza de la Independencia is an attractive plaza, complete with palm trees, gardens, and a great view of the Virgin of Quito statue. There are plenty of benches on which to relax and watch the world go by. The plaza covers one square block and is the location of the Presidential Palace and Cathedral. From here, you can stop and absorb a bit of history, but be aware of pickpockets.

Along the southwest edge of the plaza is the massive Cathedral, completed around 1565 and built of wood and adobe. The huge stone walls were erected much later, in the 1600s. Although less adorned than many of the other religious sites in Quito, the Cathedral is well decorated with works by some of Ecuador’s finest early artists from the School of Quito. Historical plaques, presidential remains, and paintings reveal the city’s rich and tumultuous history. The tower was added in the 20th century, and pictures of the construction period offer interesting insights. The Cathedral is open daily, except for a long midday lunch closure.

Situated on the northwest side of the plaza is the Palacio de Gobierno, or Presidential Palace, which was built in the 1700s and then later remodelled in the neoclassical style. Take note of the armed guards dressed in 19th-century uniforms (but carrying very modern semiautomatic weapons). You can enter the main courtyard, but that is all. The guards may not be smiling, but they didn’t seem to mindmymother taking their picture. In fact, this is a great photo spot looking out over the plaza.

Plaza de San Francisco

As an alternative, this is another good starting point for a walking tour of colonial Quito. From here, you can visit the most interesting colonial churches, museums, and other buildings within just a couple of blocks in any direction. Each site is an amazing piece of the past in Ecuador’s historical puzzle.

The plaza itself is a one-square-block cobblestone affair surrounded by typically whitewashed colonial buildings. While here, visit the impressive Monastery of San Francisco, which includes a remarkable display of churches, a school, a convent, and several courtyards. Construction on the buildings began in 1535 and was completed 70 years later. The site itself dates back to Inca royalty, having housed Huayna-Capac, his son Atahualpa, and Atahualpa’s children before the city came crumbling down. You may wander through the magnificent church during services, but be considerate of the worshipers. You have entered the oldest church and largest colonial building in Quito. To the southeast is Plaza de Santo Domingo, with the church and monastery of the same name. The Plaza is located on Benalcazar between Bolívar and Sucre.

La Compañía

There are numerous churches, monasteries, and cathedrals in Quito, a testament to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Ecuador. La Compañía is by far the most ornate church in Quito and is a great source of pride for Quiteños. This church, built by Jesuits between the 17th and 18th centuries, took over 160 years to finish. It has been described as “Quito’s Sistine Chapel,” with awesome paintings on the vaulted ceilings and gold leaf-covered altars. The incredible amount of wealth required to create such a lavish manifestation of religion is obvious. It is easily one of the most magnificent churches in all of Latin America.

La Compañía is one block from the Plaza de la Independencia on Calle García Moreno.

Vírgin of Quito

Agreat view of the city and surrounding countryside can be had at the statue of the Virgin of Quito on Panecillo Hill, or Cerro Panecillo. This landmark also provides for a good point of orientation from other sections of town. Note that Panecillo used to be a fairly dangerous hill to climb, as tourists were often assaulted in this relatively poor part of the city, but it is now guarded at the top and quite nice for an early morning panoramic photo. The statue of the Virgin looks minor from a distance but is quite impressive up close, especially as you climb the steps to the observation balcony.

Last updated November 23, 2007
Posted in   Ecuador  |  Quito
No votes yet
Explore the Destination
Amenities and Resources
Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.