Quito: Worlds Highest Capital City

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Basilica del Voto Nacional

Quito: Worlds Highest Capital City

As I wandered through the old town of Quito I almost forgot where I was. The old town has a very European feel to it and looks just like I would imagine Spain to be. Beautifully maintained and restored colonial buildings surround you and the only thing that brings you back to the fact you are in South America is the local musicians and artisans.

Independence Square Quito

Independence Square Quito

High in the Andes Mountains Quito is the worlds highest official capital at 9,350 ft (2850 m.) At this altitude it doesn’t feel like you are just a few miles south of the equator. Average daytime highs are in the mid 60’s but when the sun is out it is quite warm.

Some people will warm you about the old town being unsafe and that you would be better off staying in “gringo town” but I would recommend staying in the heart of the old town to experience all the charm that Quito has to offer. Not once did I feel unsafe walking around the old town even at night. As usual you just have to be aware of your surrounding and use common sense.

La Ronda Quito

La Ronda

Wandering around Quito

While I would have been happy just wandering around the old town seeing all the beautiful architecture and views of the surrounding mountains there is so much more to see and do around Quito. If you are on a budget like me and don’t like to spend a lot of money on tours and attractions you will still get a good sense of the city if you know what to look for.

One highlight that you have to experience is climbing the Basílica del Voto Nacional. It only costs $2 to climb to the top of the towers and you will have some of the best 360 views of the city and surrounding area.

Basilica del Voto Nacional Quito

Basilica del Voto Nacional

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There are numerous restaurants where you can experience the local flavors for $1.50 for a 3 course lunch or spend a little more for something a little more unique.

Even better views at the top of the TeleferiQo or Panecillo

For better views over the city of Quito you can take a gondola ride up to the top of Cruzloma at an elevation of, depending on who you trust, 13,500 ft. From there you can continue to climb up to the top of Rucu Pichincha at 15,728 ft. It is supposed to be a good day hike, but unfortunately we were leaving Quito that afternoon to go further south to the town of Latacunga which is the base for a more epic hike called the Quilotoa Loop which I will write about next.

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Rucu Pichincha

Rucu Pichincha

Similarly you can walk up a very long flight of stairs to get to the top of a hill that resembles a loaf of bread and thus was named Panecillo by the locals. It has a statue of the Virgin Mary at the top that you can climb also.

Panecillo

Panecillo in the distance

Panecillo Quito

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Brooks

Brooks

I am traveling the world focusing on adventure and photography.

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