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Built atop the foundation of an ancient Inca city in the Andes Mountains, Quito is the capital of Ecuador and the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. The city was founded in 1534 and is home to more than two million people. Located just to the south of the equator on the lower slope of the Pichincha Volcano, Quito is the oldest of all of the capital cities in South America.
With its cobblestone streets, peaceful monasteries, and ancient ruins kept sacred all these years, Quito has become quite the tourist attraction. While many come for the cultural and historical sites, many more come to party. The Plaza Foch Zone is a hot spot for those searching for night clubs and bars as well as fine dining and shopping.
Outdoor sports are popular here as well, with an average temperature of 60 degrees year-round. The city never seems to get too hot or too cold, so the many parks here get a lot of visitors. The Tandayapa Cloud Forest Reserve has 370 acres of wild space that boasts over 1,700 species of birds as well as bears, pumas, and other wild critters. You may also enjoy the Cotopaxi National Park, where you can climb the mountainous volcano, see all sorts of wildlife, and take selfies by the lagoons.
Don’t drag your bags with you all over Quito. Bounce has locations all over the city where you can leave your luggage for safekeeping while you explore. No matter how many bags you have or how big they are, just download the Bounce app and book them in at the closest spot. Bounce is ideal for locals, too. Drop off your belongings after work, before a night on the town.
Top Things to Do in Quito
Where else can you stand in two different hemispheres at the same time, climb a volcano, and see a working archeological site? Quito is quite an eclectic city, and you will be amazed at the fun things you can find to do here. Take a cable car to the Pichincha Volcano, and get your spirit cleansed all in one day.
Enjoy 53 museums and galleries in Quito. Many of them are old churches built in the 1500s and 1600s. There are also some unique places like the Middle of the World and the Water Museum.
Middle of the World: You have to visit the Middle of the World while you are in Quito. The Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) is located right on the equator, exactly in the middle of the world. Well, actually, it is about 785 feet off the mark, but there is a 100-foot tall monument built there, with a yellow line that divides the hemispheres. It is a great place for selfies of you standing in two different hemispheres, right? The real middle of the world has another monument and a museum to visit. It boasts all kinds of interactive activities, unique tricks like balancing an egg on a nail, and exhibits of Ecuadorian culture.
Museos Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana: This is a long name for a triple museum. This museum is actually three in one with the Museo de Arte Moderna, Museo de Instrumentos Musicales, and the Museo Etnografico. With thousands of displays and exhibits, you can explore the religion, theater, culture, music, and art of Ecuador. See musical instruments made by ancient locals, paintings by both local and international artists, and interactive fun, including video equipment, mapping, and holograms.
Museo Nacional del Banco Central: Also known as the Central Bank Museum, this is one of the most popular museums in the country. There are paintings, sculptures, coins, pottery, and many other artifacts from 4000 BC to 1533 AD. The most visited attraction here is the ceremonial gold mask and all of the gold figurines and other items used by local tribes. Located on Patria Avenue, you will need at least three hours to see all of the collections in this vast exhibition.
Don’t just head for the mall or department stores. Much of Quito’s best shopping is found on the streets. Local street vendors and open-air markets are everywhere and have some of the best bargains and most unique items. Of course, they also have malls and department stores if you would rather go there.
Mariscal Artisans Market: Also known as Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal, you can visit this section of the city on Jorge Washington Street for some true market shopping. There are hundreds of vendors spread out over a large area with handmade as well as modern items to show off. If you are looking for unique clothing, crafts, and art for sale at reasonable prices, this is the place to be.
Ecuador Galleria: Two stories of shopping awaits you near Plaza Foch on Reina Victoria. This large shopping mall has thousands of Ecuadorian-made items from rugs to jewelry, chocolate, and wine. There are over 350 shops, kiosks, and stalls at the Galleria from local indigenous women to companies selling their wares. It is nicknamed the “Zone” because it is the hub of the city for many shoppers as well as artisans selling their handiwork.
Centro Comercial Inaquito: The largest and most popular mall in Quito is located on Amazonas Avenue and boasts over 180 stores and vendors. They also have an ice-skating rink, a multiplex theater, and a few large food courts with 30 eateries to choose from. There’s even a fitness club and a game room called Happy Time. Whether you are looking for something specific or just want to browse, this is the place to do it.
An interesting thing about dining in Quito is that you can get just about any meal for a much lower price than you would normally pay. Even the so-called high-priced restaurants are reasonable here. From snacks to steaks and burgers to burritos, they have it all in Quito.
Fried Bananas: This casual and inexpensive café uses bananas in ways you have never even thought of. How about some fried bananas with shrimp and vodka? Or flambe’ bananas with cinnamon and honey? You can also get other local faves like rice and prawn soup or huevos rancheros, which is burritos with chilies, peppers, and tomatoes topped with eggs. Be sure to order a milkshake to cool your tongue because many of the dishes are spicy. Fried Bananas is located on Mariscal Sucre by the Mariscal Foch in New Town.
San Blas Café: How about some Italian food? San Blas Café on Jose Antepara y Vicente Leon near Los Rios has the best pasta and pizza in town. The slices are scrumptious and extra-large, and the ingredients are local and fresh. You can also get soup, sandwiches, or a salad. The matron will even come out and meet you if you like. Come early, because they fill up fast.
Zazu: Whether you want lobster, salmon, shrimp, or any other type of seafood, Zazu on Mariano Aguilerra has what you want. You can also get a steak or pasta in this versatile and modern restaurant. They even have fried guinea pig braised in peanut oil or morocho. Located on Aguilera in New Town, you can find this place easily because the bar in the back is a favorite hangout for the locals.
How much does luggage storage cost in Quito?
The price for luggage storage in Quito is just $5.90/bag for the entire day.
Where are there luggage storage locations in Quito?
There are multiple locations all around Quito which can be booked through the Bounce platform including near Basilica of the National Vow, Quito Old Town, El Panecillo and many other areas.
Is it safe to store your bags in Quito?
Yes. Every bag is tagged with a security seal and comes with the $5,000 Bounce Guarantee. Every location is required to uphold tight security precautions. You may be asked to show ID and you will be required to use a credit card to book through Bounce in advance. With hundreds of thousands of bags stored, you can count on Bounce to handle your baggage in Quito.
Are there storage lockers in Quito?
Yes. There are storage lockers and many other luggage drop off points in Quito. Bounce has multiple locations throughout Quito where you can conveniently store your luggage with full security and the $5,000 Bounce Gurantee.
Where are the best places to stay and eat while in Quito?
The most popular restaurants to visit are Vista Hermosa, Mama Clorinda, and San Telmo. Additionally, the highest ranked hotels within Quito are Hotel Plaza Grande, La Gangotena, and Hilton Colón.
Where are the best parks and nature attractions in Quito?
Quito offers several scenic parks including Independence Square, Ejido Park, and Parque Urbano Cumanda.
Where can I find tourist information and guideposts in Quito?
You can find local tourist information at Mercado artesanal La Mariscal, Quito Visitors Bureau, and IROUTES REDTA-EC.
What are the best museums and historical attractions in Quito?
If you're looking for a good museum in Quito, we recommend Chapel of Man, City Museum, Quito, and Sucre House Museum. If you prefer to be outside, you can give yourself a walking tour and see some of Quito's most popular historical attractions including Basilica of the National Vow, Church and Convent of St. Francis, or Palacio Arzobispal and monuments like Statue of Francisco de Orellana, Independence Monument, or Temple Museum of the Nation. Lastly, you can enjoy the local ruin of Pucará de Rumicucho / Quito / ECUADOR, Molino de las Almas, or La olla.
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