Mi pasatiempo favorito es viajar, pero en este momento es un poco difícil (My favorite hobby is traveling, but it’s a little difficult at the moment). I’m sure many of you feel the same way. In the meantime, I’m leading some virtual tours of Spanish-speaking countries here on the blog. Hoy vamos a hacer un viaje virtual a Ecuador (Today we’re going to take a virtual trip to Ecuador).
Empecemos por la capital. Quito es la segunda capital más alta del mundo (Let’s begin in the capital. Quito is the second-highest capital in the world). At an elevation of 2,850 m (9,350 ft) above sea level, it’s behind only La Paz, Bolivia.
También es la capital más antigua de Sudamérica. La ciudad tiene un centro histórico bien conservado (It’s also the oldest capital in South America. The city has a well-preserved historic center). That’s why it was one of the first World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978 along with Krakow, Poland.
El Centro Histórico de Quito es considerado uno de los más importantes conjuntos históricos de América Latina (The Historic Center of Quito is considered one of the most important historical sites in Latin America). At the heart of this area is la Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square), which is colloquially known as Plaza Grande.
En el centro de la Plaza Grande es el Monumento a la Independencia, conocido también como Monumento a los Héroes del 10 de agosto de 1809 (In the center of the Plaza Grande is the Independence Monument, also known as the Monument to the Heroes of August 10, 1809). It commemorates el primer grito de la independencia (the first cry of independence) in the struggle against the Spanish.
El presidente de Ecuador vive en el Palacio Carondelet (The president of Ecuador lives in the Carondelet Palace). It’s also a museum that’s open to the public with guided tours. Be sure to sign up for one if you ever get the chance to visit Quito.
Todos los lunes, se puede ver la ceremonia del cambio de guardia frente al palacio (Every Monday, you can see the changing of the guard ceremony in front of the palace). It starts at 11 AM but it’s best to get there a bit early. You can even catch a glimpse of the president!
Hay muchas iglesias hermosas en Quito, como la Catedral Metropolitana, la Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, y la Basílica del Voto Nacional (There are many beautiful churches in Quito, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the Basilica of the National Vow). The latter is especially fun to visit as you can actually climb up in the tower to take in the views. See for yourself…
Do you see that statue on the hill in the distance? It’s la Virgen de el Panecillo, also known as the Virgin of Quito. Fun fact – at 41 m (135 ft), it’s actually taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. It’s well worth the trip up the hill to enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
Un lugar divertido para visitar en la ciudad es la Calle la Ronda (A fun place to visit in the city is Calle la Ronda). This cobblestone alley is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the time of the Incas. Today it’s a popular spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife.
When in Quito, you must take a day trip to la Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World City). This monument is located right on the equator. Did you know that’s where Ecuador gets its name from? It turns out the monument was actually built about 200 meters away from the equator, so they went and built another one. Both are easily visited on a half-day tour from the city.
Aquí puedes equilibrar un huevo sobre un clavo o ver cómo el agua que va a un desagüe gira en diferentes sentidos (Here you can balance an egg on a nail or see how the water that goes to a drain rotates in different directions). These are just a few of the fun activities you can do here!
Last but not least, be sure to take a ride on TelefériQo. The name is a combination of teleférico (cable car) and Quito and it’s one of the highest aerial lifts in the world. It takes about 20 minutes to climb to 3,945 m (12,943 ft) on the east side of Volcán Pichincha. This is a great spot to go for a hike, but just be sure to bring plenty of water and layers.
Of course, there are plenty of amazing markets, restaurants, cafes, and bars here in this bustling capital city. Be sure to check out our guide to Ecuadorian food to get acquainted with the most famous dishes in the country.
My wife and I spent a week in Quito during out 7-month trip around South America as digital nomads. Definitivamente fue una de nuestras ciudades favoritas (It was definitely one of our favorite cities). In fact, I’d love to go back and stay for a month or more next time! I’ll end this post with a question for you:
¿Quieres visitar Quito? ¿Que quieres hacer ahí?
Do you want to visit Quito? What do you want to do there?
Photos taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.