At almost 9,500 ft., the capital of Ecuador, Quito, is in the Ecuadorian Andes on the slopes of Pichincha, an active volcano. It’s the second highest capital city in the world with a population of close to 3 million. Quito’s historic center, also known as old town, is the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved in the Americas. Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
My hotel is in between the old (south) and new (north) parts of Quito and there are several large, beautiful parks nearby, including the botanical gardens in Parque La Carolina. Quito has many beautiful churches, twelve museums, and a rich cultural heritage. Some major sites I’ve enjoyed include La Basilica, Independence Square, La Mariscal District, Plaza Grand, Iglesia de San Francisco, and Panecillo. Next on the list is a cable car ride to the base of the volcano. You can walk to the top from there.
Quito is on the equator and its moderate climate is usually the same most of the year – 70s during the day and 40s at night. It can feel hot or chilly depending on where you’re standing at the moment. It’s taking me time to adjust to the altitude and even after a few days I still get winded more easily than usual.
Will be in Quito until January 14 when I head for a jungle eco lodge in Tena, a small town in the Western part of the Amazon rainforest. Tena is surrounded by a pristine stretch of Amazon jungle and the Llanganates Mountains. The area is a popular location for many activities including hiking, birding, and whitewater rafting.