Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re going to explore the vibrant and historic city of Quito, Ecuador. Nestled high in the Andes, this UNESCO World Heritage site is brimming with culture, adventure, and of course, cool things to do. Quito is a city that truly has something for everyone, and I’m here to guide you through some of the coolest things to do in Quito that you simply cannot miss. So, strap on your hiking boots, grab your camera, and let’s dive into the cool things to do Quito has to offer!
Exploring Quito’s Historic Old Town
Quito’s Historic Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must-visit for anyone looking for cool things to do in Quito. Here are some of the top things to do in this area:
Visit the Plaza de la Independencia
The Plaza de la Independencia, also known as the Plaza Grande, is the main square in Quito’s Old Town. It’s surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral. Take a stroll around the square and soak up the atmosphere.
Explore the La Ronda Neighborhood
La Ronda is a charming neighborhood in Quito’s Old Town that’s full of history and culture. It’s a great place to wander around and explore the narrow streets and colorful buildings. You’ll find plenty of cool things to do in La Ronda, including visiting art galleries, trying local food, and listening to live music.
Visit the Basilica del Voto Nacional
The Basilica del Voto Nacional is one of the most impressive buildings in Quito’s Old Town. It’s a Gothic-style church that’s known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings. You can climb to the top of the church for panoramic views of the city.
Take a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to explore Quito’s Old Town is on foot. There are plenty of walking tours available that will take you to all the top sights and give you a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the area. Look for tours that focus on the architecture, food, or art of the Old Town.
Visit the Museums
Quito’s Old Town is home to several museums that are worth visiting. The Museo de la Ciudad is a great place to learn about the history of Quito, while the Casa del Alabado is a museum of pre-Columbian art. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo is a must-visit for art lovers.
Exploring Quito’s Historic Old Town is one of the coolest things to do in Quito. Make sure to add it to your itinerary when you visit the city.
Thrilling Teleférico Adventures
If you’re looking for cool things to do in Quito, then a ride on the Teleférico is a must-do activity. The Teleférico is a cable car that takes you up to the top of Pichincha Volcano, offering breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Take a Scenic Ride
The Teleférico ride itself is a thrilling experience, as you ascend over 4,000 meters above sea level. The ride takes about 20 minutes, and you’ll be able to see the city of Quito from a unique perspective. Once you reach the top, you can take in the stunning views and enjoy the fresh mountain air.
Hike to the Summit
For the more adventurous travelers, hiking to the summit of Pichincha Volcano is a challenging but rewarding experience. The hike takes about 4-5 hours round trip and requires a good level of fitness. However, the views from the summit are truly spectacular and make the effort worthwhile.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities
At the top of the Teleférico, there are several outdoor activities to enjoy. You can go horseback riding, mountain biking, or take a guided tour of the surrounding area. There are also several hiking trails to explore, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks.
In conclusion, the Teleférico is one of the coolest things to do in Quito, offering a unique and thrilling experience for all types of travelers. Whether you want to take a scenic ride, hike to the summit, or enjoy outdoor activities, the Teleférico has something for everyone.
Delighting in Local Cuisine and Markets
When it comes to cool things to do in Quito, exploring the local cuisine and markets should definitely be on your list. Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with influences from indigenous, Spanish, and African cultures. Here are some must-try dishes and markets to visit:
Ceviche: This seafood dish is a staple in Ecuadorian cuisine. It typically consists of raw fish marinated in lime juice, onions, and cilantro. It’s served with popcorn, chifles (plantain chips), and sometimes avocado.
Locro: This hearty soup is made with potatoes, cheese, and avocado. It’s perfect for a chilly day in Quito.
Empanadas: These savory pastries are filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They’re a popular street food in Quito and can be found in most markets.
Markets to Visit
Mercado Central: This bustling market is located in the heart of Quito’s historic center. It’s a great place to try local dishes and buy fresh produce, spices, and souvenirs.
Casa de la Mujer: This market is run by women and features handmade crafts, jewelry, and textiles. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs to take home.
Feria Artesanal La Mariscal: This outdoor market is located in the trendy La Mariscal neighborhood. It’s a great place to buy handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry.
Exploring the local cuisine and markets is a great way to immerse yourself in Quito’s culture and try new things. Don’t be afraid to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. You never know what delicious surprises you might find!
Unwinding in Quito’s Beautiful Parks
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Quito has plenty of beautiful parks to explore. Here are some cool things to do in Quito’s parks:
Parque La Carolina
Parque La Carolina is one of the largest parks in Quito, and it’s a great place to unwind and relax. You can take a stroll around the lake, have a picnic on the grass, or even rent a bike and explore the park on two wheels. There are also plenty of cool things to do in Parque La Carolina, such as visiting the botanical garden, the planetarium, or the modern art museum.
Parque Metropolitano is another great park to visit if you’re looking to unwind. This park is located on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and offers stunning views of the city. You can take a hike on one of the many trails, have a picnic, or even go camping. There are also cool things to do in Parque Metropolitano, such as visiting the butterfly farm or the zoo.
Parque Bicentenario is a newer park in Quito, but it’s quickly becoming a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. This park is dedicated to Ecuador’s bicentennial and features a variety of monuments and sculptures. You can take a walk around the lake, have a picnic, or even go for a swim in the pool. There are also cool things to do in Parque Bicentenario, such as visiting the museum of urban art or the planetarium.
No matter which park you choose to visit, you’re sure to find plenty of cool things to do in Quito’s beautiful parks. So pack a picnic, grab a book, and enjoy a relaxing day in nature.
Discovering Quito’s Vibrant Art Scene
Quito is not only known for its stunning architecture and rich history, but also for its vibrant art scene. If you’re looking for cool things to do in Quito, exploring the city’s art scene should definitely be on your list.
Visit the Guayasamín Museum
One of the must-visit places for art lovers in Quito is the Guayasamín Museum. This museum is dedicated to the works of Ecuador’s most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín. The museum houses a vast collection of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings. You can also explore the artist’s former home, which has been preserved as it was when he lived there.
Check out the Street Art
Quito’s streets are filled with colorful murals and graffiti, making it a great place to explore street art. Head to the La Floresta neighborhood to see some of the best street art in the city. You can also take a street art tour to learn more about the artists and their work.
Visit the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana
The Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana is a cultural center that showcases Ecuadorian art and culture. The center has several galleries that feature contemporary and traditional art, as well as a theater that hosts performances and events.
Explore the Historic Center’s Art Galleries
Quito’s historic center is home to several art galleries that showcase the works of local and international artists. Some of the must-visit galleries include the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, the Museo de la Ciudad, and the Galería Ecuador.
Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for cool things to do in Quito, exploring the city’s vibrant art scene is a must. From museums to street art, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Venturing Beyond Quito: Day Trips and Excursions
While Quito has plenty of cool things to do, there are also many exciting day trips and excursions to explore beyond the city limits. Here are some of the best options:
1. Mindo Cloud Forest
Just a couple of hours from Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest is a nature lover’s paradise. With its lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can go hiking, birdwatching, or even zip-lining through the forest canopy.
2. Otavalo Market
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, head to the Otavalo Market. This colorful market is one of the largest in South America and is famous for its textiles, handicrafts, and traditional clothing. You can also sample some of the local cuisine and watch traditional dance performances.
3. Cotopaxi National Park
For adventure seekers, a trip to Cotopaxi National Park is a must. This stunning park is home to the Cotopaxi volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. You can hike to the summit, go mountain biking, or even horseback riding through the park’s beautiful landscapes.
4. Papallacta Hot Springs
After a day of exploring, relax and unwind at the Papallacta Hot Springs. Located just a short drive from Quito, these natural hot springs are the perfect place to soak your tired muscles and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a unique cultural experience, these day trips and excursions from Quito offer something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these cool things to do in Quito and beyond!
In conclusion, my fellow travelers, Quito is a treasure trove of experiences just waiting to be discovered. From the rich history and culture to the breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures, there’s no shortage of cool things to do Quito. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many corners of the world, but Quito holds a special place in my heart.
So, whether you’re a history buff, an adrenaline junkie, or a nature lover, you’ll find plenty of cool things to do Quito that cater to your interests. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this beautiful city. Quito is truly a destination that offers something for everyone, and I hope my Suitcase Stories have inspired you to embark on your own journey to this incredible place.
As you plan your trip, remember to keep this list of cool things to do Quito handy, and don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path to create your own unique experiences. After all, the best stories come from the unexpected moments and the unforgettable memories we make along the way. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to explore all the cool things to do Quito – I promise you won’t be disappointed!