If Quito, Ecuador was one of the first places declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, it must be a sight to see, right? (The answer is yes.) So, get ready as Travel Bug zips down to South America! Riddled with natural wonders like a garland of surrounding volcanoes, and dappled with marvelous man-made marvels from parks to plazas, Quito awaits you with eager arms. Let’s see what the city has to offer!
1. You may never find another place that has turtle and sloth gargoyles, so make sure to visit the Basilica del Voto Nacional. For a wee $2 fee, you can gain unrestricted access to this magnificent monument. This means tiptoeing across the roof into the bell tower, walking a narrow wooden path affixed between the roof of the nave and the ceiling, and even scampering up the rose windows!
2. We hope you brought your energy, because every other Sunday is Ciclopaseo. During Ciclopaseo, 30 kilometers of Quito’s streets are closed down to cars, and released to the jogging, biking, and rollerblading brethren of the city.
3. If you’ve got at least a week in Quito, considering volunteering at the nearby Mindo Cloud Forest. You’ll bet set to work preserving this reserve through a host of important projects, from clearing trails to planting trees.
4. Stock up on your aesthetics quotient by spending an afternoon wandering Old Quito. This historic neighborhood will regale you with its beautiful colonial style buildings and plentiful plazas.
5. Pick up some souvenirs at the weekend market at Parque El Ejido. A bit cheaper than the neighboring market in touristy La Mariscal, the booths at Parque El Ejido carry all the artisan crafts and jewelry for which Ecuador is so well known. Don’t be afraid to get your bargaining boots on here — it’s well expected!
Which of these sites sounds the most super to you?