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Ways to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Quito

Ways to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Quito

Though commonly associated with Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated in many Central and South American countries, including Ecuador, where it’s known as Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Deceased). From traditional festive foods to graveside offerings, here’s what you can expect from Day of the Dead celebrations in the capital city of Quito. 

When to Go

Ecuador’s Day of the Dead is a national holiday when citizens pay respects to those who have passed away. The holiday takes place on November 2, which coincides with the Catholic feast of All Souls’ Day, though you’ll see evidence of the upcoming Day of the Dead festivities, such as seasonal pastries and drinks, in the weeks leading up to this date. 

Where to Go

Day of the Dead celebrations in Quito center around cemeteries, with families gathering beside the graves of loved ones. Though there are celebrations in the city center, more traditional festivities often take place in rural or indigenous communities such as Calderón and Otavalo.  

Ways to Celebrate

Most families hold vigils at the tombs of their loved ones, often adorning their graves with flower arrangements, candles, and decorative figurines made from bread dough. Head to one of Quito’s cemeteries or the cemetery in Calderón, about 30 minutes from Quito, to observe families celebrating the memory of the departed. 

In the weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead, you’ll see guagua de pan (a sweet bread roll decorated to resemble a baby or doll) and colada morada (a hot beverage made from blue or black corn flour, berries, and other fruits) for sale across Quito. Be sure to taste these festive specialties, which are as essential to Ecuador’s Day of the Dead as chocolate eggs are to Easter, or apples and honey are to Rosh Hashanah. 

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17 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

Quito City Tour, Equator Museum and Pululahua Crater

Quito City Tour, Equator Museum and Pululahua Crater

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11
Maximize your time in Quito with a private full-day tour that checks off three of the capital’s most popular attractions. Take in the highlights of the UNESCO-listed historic center, walk along the Equator Line at the Intiñan museum, then marvel at the views from the Pululahua crater. Tour includes lunch, hotel pickup, and all activities.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$121.59
Price varies by group size
From
$121.59
Price varies by group size

Quito Old Town Tour with Gondola Ride and Visit to the Equator

Quito Old Town Tour with Gondola Ride and Visit to the Equator

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This popular private tour hits all of Quito's top attractions. Follow your expert local guide through the capital city's historic district, stand on the equator and ride on the highest gondola in South America. This full-day experience is perfect for travelers who want to gain insight and understanding into the history and culture of Quito.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$140.00
Price varies by group size
From
$140.00
Price varies by group size

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World -

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World - "Small Group"

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17
Explore Quito’s UNESCO-listed historic center and visit the famous Equator Line on this full-day tour from Quito. Admire landmarks such as the Basilica del Voto Nacional and Independence Plaza on a walking tour of Quito; take in the views from the Mirador del Panecillo viewpoint; then walk along the Equator Line at the Mitad del Mundo. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$40.00
From
$40.00

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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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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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

Otavalo, Cotacachi and Cuicocha Tour With Optional Hotel Pick-Up -

Otavalo, Cotacachi and Cuicocha Tour With Optional Hotel Pick-Up - "Small Group"

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95
Journey through Ecuador’s incredible landscapes and stop on route for photos and to visit Otavalo Market on this tour from Quito. Head north along the Pan-American highway, taste biscuits in Cayambe, and hop out at Otavalo Market to experience the local shopping culture by bartering for handicrafts. Then, stop at Cuicocha Lagoon—a crater lake below Cotacachi Volcano—to snap photos and perhaps take an optional boat ride (additional cost).
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$49.00
From
$49.00

Old Town Quito Sightseeing, Food, Culture Small Group or Private Walking Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

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

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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

Private Quito City Tour

Private Quito City Tour

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Immerse yourself in Quito’s colonial past during this 4-hour tour of the city’s Old District and major historic sights. Explore the top attractions of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, including the churches of San Francisco and La Compañía, its main Basilica, Independence Plaza and government palace. You’ll also enjoy postcard-worthy views of the city from Panecillo Hill and learn about Quito’s history, food and culture from your guide. This half-day tour of Quito also covers entrance fees at La Compañía and San Francisco church and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.80
From
$75.80

Quito's Top Attractions Pass with Airport Pick-Up (Save 10% on tickets)

Quito's Top Attractions Pass with Airport Pick-Up (Save 10% on tickets)

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See the best of Quito with this Top Attractions Pass that grants unlimited access to five of the city's top sites. Save 20 percent on entrances when you purchase this pass--and skip the lines upon arrival! It's the best way to see Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), Capilla del Hombre and Museu de la Ciudad y El Carmen Alto. Plus, use your pass to explore the city aboard The Original Quito Trolley tour and rent bikes at Quito's Bike Rental. Whether it's your first time in Quito, or you're a seasoned traveler in Ecuador, this pass is not to be missed!
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  • 2 to 180 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.00
From
$53.00

Quito at Night & Urban Legends Tour -

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

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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

Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake and Cayambe Shared Day Tour from Quito

Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake and Cayambe Shared Day Tour from Quito

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Discover Ecuador's vibrant cultural heritage, natural wonders, and Andean villages on this full-day tour from Quito. Admire traditional handicrafts at the legendary Otavalo Market, tour the Cayambe biscuit factory, visit the leather capital of Cotacachi, and marvel at Cuicocha Crater Lake. Lunch is included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$66.41
From
$66.41

Private Full-Day Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo

Private Full-Day Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo

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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

Full-Day Tour Otavalo Market, Peguche Workshops, and Cuicocha Lagoon.

Full-Day Tour Otavalo Market, Peguche Workshops, and Cuicocha Lagoon.

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Shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs at an indigenous market and enjoy gorgeous scenery during this 8-hour trip to Otavalo Market from Quito. This fascinating market features a wealth of hand-made creations produced by local Andean communities, including textiles, leather goods and more. Enjoy sublime views of the Andes Mountains and San Pablo Lake during your drive to the site before hunting for souvenirs. On your way home, you can choose to visit Cotacachi, an artisan town famous for its leather goods, or Cuicocha Lake. Your shopping and scenery trip includes a guide, entrance fees, a snack, round-trip hotel transport and an upgrade with lunch.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

Otavalo Market and Laguna Cuicocha Full-Day Tour from Quito

Otavalo Market and Laguna Cuicocha Full-Day Tour from Quito

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Discover indigenous arts and local markets during this cultural tour of Otavalo Market and Laguna Cuicocha from Quito. Escape the city and journey into Ecuador's more rural hillsides as you follow your guide through some of the area's top cultural attractions.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$59.59
From
$59.59

Private Tour: Changing of the Guard Ceremony & Government Palace of Quito

Private Tour: Changing of the Guard Ceremony & Government Palace of Quito

Gain a new perspective on Ecuador’s capital city with this half-day tour exploring Quito’s rich heritage. Wave at Ecuador’s current president and family during the changing of the guard ceremony at the palace then have a look around Quito’s Old District to discover its colonial past including visits to the ornate church of La Compañía de Jesús, and the Plaza la Independencia. Then travel further back in history at Casa del Alabado to learn of Ecuador’s pre-Columbian past before returning to your hotel.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$61.54
From
$61.54

Jacchigua Show Including Dinner + Transfer

Jacchigua Show Including Dinner + Transfer

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4
Spend a memorable night out in Quito with dinner and a performance of the renowned ‘Jacchigua’ show presented by the Ecuadorean National Folkloric Ballet. Savor a meal of haute Andean cuisine and a welcome drink before taking your seats for a brilliant display of traditional music, dancing, and costumes featuring more than 90 talented performers and special effects. Hotel pickup and drop-off makes it a safe and stress-free nightlife experience.
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  • 3 hours
From
$92.31
From
$92.31