Travel south out of Quito to an area dubbed by the 19th century German explorer Von Humbolt as the "Avenue of the Volcanoes". Cotopaxi National Park is at the heart of this area and is deservedly Ecuador's most-visited mainland national park.
Quito City Tour
Quito City Tour, Ecuador
Visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Your stroll starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace.
You also visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior before continuing on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World. It has an impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.
Lunch is taken at one of the excellent restaurants in Quito or the equator area before continuing to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles north of Quito, which marks the Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere. There is the chance to visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator!
Please note that this is a walking tour at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) and involves some climbing of stairs.
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These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.