On our way to the Galapagos Islands, we stayed a few days in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Quito is a highland area, its elevation is 9,350 feet. Even though we lived in Denver, Colorado for 14 years (5,280 feet), we found ourselves getting tired quickly and experiencing headaches. But we did not let that detour us from getting out and exploring the city.
We booked a city tour, which was about a 6 hour tour that showed all the highlights of Quito. If you visit, I suggest you do the same, as Quito is a very large city — spans almost 30 miles and has 1.5 million residents. Quito is an old city and certainly shows it’s age. It has some beautiful Spanish architecture, but like many large cities, it has become dirty and sports a lot of graffiti. But we certainly enjoyed our short stay here.
If you wish to see a photo slide show of our Quito trip, click here.
We started our tour visiting the statue of the Virgin Mary. She has a dragon at her feet and is said to protect the city from volcanoes. Quito is built around a volcano — so I can see why they needed this protection!
We then traveled to La Rhonda, the first area of land settled in Quito. La Rhonda is supposed to mean “walk around”, as many people who lived here in the early days liked to take walks after eating.
Quito has many churches and beautiful plazas. Most of the population is Catholic.
It was also very cool to see some of the indigenous people walking around in their best dress. Everyone in Quito was very friendly. Lynn and I are beginners in the Spanish language but was surprised at how well we managed to ask for directions, order food, and make small talk.
We also visited the stunning Basilica del Voto Nacional, this is a very large church, built in a Gothic style. We were able to go into the church and climb stairs up to the top of the towers where it afforded us an incredible view of the city.
We ended our tour by visiting the center of the earth. Quito Ecuador is located at the very center of the earth (0 degrees longitude). They showed us some cool events that happen.
If you pour water into a sink while sitting on the center, it flows directly down without any swirling. If you step a few feet to the Northern hemisphere, the water drains with a counter-clockwise swirl. Step a few feet into the Southern hemisphere, the water drains with a clockwise swirl. I was shocked that it happened right in front of us!
Next we will be traveling to the Galapagos Islands. If you wish to see a photo slide show of our Quito trip, click here