Nestled between the Andean volcanoes of Pichincha, Antisana, Cotopaxi and Cayambe, 2,800 metres above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in Latin America. Its enormous old town spans over 320 hectares, making it the largest on the American continent. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, the old town of Quito boasts an array of churches, chapels and Colonial monasteries and convents, as well as squares, museums, Republican buildings and interesting examples of early 20th century architecture.
Take one of our cheap flights to Quito, a city with a prime geographical location and beautiful architectural heritage, which merits the praise it has been given in the past few years by prestigious media sources, such as the New York Times. Although this city used to be just a stopover point for tourists heading to the popular Galapagos Islands, they are now spending more time here, gladly losing themselves in its valleys, hills, alleyways, squares and avenues lined with history and legend. Impressive monuments, such as the Basilica of National Vote (the largest Neo-gothic temple on the American continent), the Church of Company (built in the 17th and 18th century, based on the Church of the Gesu in Rome), and the Church of San Francisco (the largest architectural site of those existing in Latin American old towns), stand alongside bohemian neighbourhoods, such as the Guápulo district.
Its rural and wild landscape, along with its bohemian atmosphere, makes Guápulo a fairytale town, despite being in the middle of the city. Renowned for its church, nightlife and traditional festivals, this is also where Gonzalo Pizarro departed on his expedition in 1541, which led him to discover the Amazon. To take in the city from above, head to Cerro del Panecillo, a natural elevation 3,000 metres above sea level, offering the best views of the ‘jewel in Ecuador’s crown’.
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