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How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

Ecuador’s capital city is a South American gem, filled with colonial architecture, surrounded by mountain peaks, and blessed with a mild climate year-round. Even if you only have limited time in Quito, you’ll still be able to enjoy the highlights. Here are some ideas for how to make the most of your 24 hours.

Morning: Colonial Quito

Start your day with a sightseeing tour of Quito for an introduction to the capital’s history, culture, and well-preserved colonial architecture. Walking tours of the historic city center typically include visits to Independence Plaza, the Archbishop’s Palace, gilded La Compañía church, and the Church and Monastery of St. Francis. Cover more ground (and explore at your own pace) aboard the Quito hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. The 11 stops around town include the Botanical Gardens of Quito, El Ejido craft market, the imposing basilica, and foodie-friendly La Ronda.

Afternoon: El Panecillo and Mitad del Mundo

No trip to Quito would be complete without a visit to the top of El Panecillo, a prominent hill topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary standing watch over the city. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Cotopaxi volcano. Many city sightseeing tours make a stop here in the afternoon before heading just outside the city to another notable landmark, Mitad del Mundo. The Middle of the World Monument sits near the equatorial line—a popular spot for a photo op with one foot in either hemisphere. Alternatively, head to another Quito vantage point by riding the Teleferico Quito gondola to the top of the Pichincha volcano.

Night: Foodie Tour

This evening, join a local foodie for a tasting tour on foot through Quito’s Old Town. Learn about local food and culinary history as you sample specialties such as mote con chicharrón (corn with fried pork), empanadas, and salchipapas (fries with sliced sausage on top). Alternatively, catch a performance by the Ecuadorian National Folkloric Ballet over a dinner of haute Andean cuisine.

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8 Tours and Activities

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Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo

Full Day Quito City Tour Including Teleférico and Mitad del Mundo

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133
Get a sense of the architecture, history, and culture of Quito during this private tour visiting the city’s top sights. Start with an exploration of the historic city center of this Ecuadorian capital, visiting its main Basilica, Independence Plaza, and many more colonial-era sites. Then take a trip aboard the Teleférico to a peak more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above the city for sublime views, finishing your day at ‘Mitad del Mundo,’ a monument marking where the earth’s equator splits the world into north and south.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$118.00
From
$118.00

The Original Quito City Tour in Trolley with Hotel Pick-up -

The Original Quito City Tour in Trolley with Hotel Pick-up - "Small Group"

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81
Experience the best of Quito on this replica traditional tram tour. Trundle through the Ecuadorian capital’s colonial and modern neighborhoods; and hear tales of the city’s history and culture you might miss if alone. See the Plaza Grande and Basilica of the National Vow; admire panoramic views, and savor local ice cream (own cost). Monday tours bring the chance to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$15.00
From
$15.00

Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

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252
Tour the capital city of Quito at your leisure aboard this popular hop-on hop-off bus tour. Enjoy hassle-free double-decker transportation through narrow city streets as you make your way to numerous city attractions and landmarks. Choose to get off at any of the stops and make the most of your time in Quito.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$15.00
Price varies by group size
From
$15.00
Price varies by group size

Private Tour: Middle of the World & Pululahua Crater. All entrances included!

Private Tour: Middle of the World & Pululahua Crater. All entrances included!

star-4.5
27
Straddle two different hemispheres during this half-day visit to the equator at Ecuador’s famous ‘Mitad del Mundo.' Try out some unique physics experiments demonstrating the influence of the earth’s poles at the Intiñan Museum. This trip includes a guide, Intiñan Museum entrance fees, round-trip hotel transport, and an optional upgrade for a private tour.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Old Town Quito Sightseeing, Food, Culture Small Group or Private Walking Tour

Old Town Quito Sightseeing, Food, Culture Small Group or Private Walking Tour

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37
Discover the rich culture and history of Old Town Quito on this 3-hour guided walking tour. Hear the stories and legends behind the Ecuadorian capital’s most iconic landmarks that you visit, including Independence Plaza, Government Palace, the Independence Monument, and the Archbishop’s palace. On this tour, you don’t just sightsee — try your hand at making traditional ice cream, too., using uniquely South American ingredients Visit the market where every kiosk tells a story, and uncover local culture and customs as you explore the heart of Old Town. Plus top off this fantastic day with a stop at an old-school ice cream shop, and sample delightful flavors.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.00
Price varies by group size
From
$35.00
Price varies by group size

Quito at Night & Urban Legends Tour -

Quito at Night & Urban Legends Tour - "Small Group"

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14
Discover the sights and lights of Quito at night with this evening tour of its historical, UNESCO-listed heart. Ride by illuminated churches and landmark sites such as the Basilica of the National Vow and Plaza Grande; and hear urban legends and insights into the city's cultural heritage you could easily miss otherwise. Finish by admiring views of the sparkling city from the hilltop viewpoint of Mirador del Panecillo—the perfect finale.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$20.00
From
$20.00

Private Full-Day Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo

Private Full-Day Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo

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29
Enjoy a sampling of the natural, cultural and historical sights found around Quito during this comprehensive full-day tour. Take in gorgeous hilltop views of the city from Panecillo Hill and San Juan Mirador. You’ll also explore Quito’s historic city center by visiting several of its churches and colonial-era buildings. After lunch experience life on both sides of the earth’s equator at the Middle of the World monument before finishing your day with the amazing landscapes of Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve. Your comprehensive Quito trip also includes a guide, some site entrance fees and an optional private tour upgrade.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.00
From
$125.00

Private Quito City Tour with Teleférico

Private Quito City Tour with Teleférico

star-4
7
Combine a city tour of downtown Quito with a ride on the teleférico during this 6-hour experience. Get panoramic views of the area around Quito from the cable car and learn about the city's history through visits to the historic center's squares, churches, and significant buildings. Round-trip transportation from select Quito hotels included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$115.83
From
$115.83