An Innsider’s Guide to Quito
Ecuador’s capital city offers so much to explore: From the colorful stalls that make up the Mariscal craft market, to the tree-lined walkways, pop-up art shows at El Ejido Park. And the Middle of the World monument that marks the earth’s equator. Tucked high up in the Andean foothills, it won’t just be the altitude that leaves you catching your breath. Discover the best of Quito in our insider’s guide and get set for the trip of a lifetime and more when you stay at the Park Inn by Radisson Quito.
In the trendy La Floresta neighborhood, a host of farm-to-table restaurants, independent art galleries, and pottery workshops are all part of this creativity community’s unique appeal. Tap into the area’s flourishing street art scene with a walking tour, where you’ll step into many artists workshops and soak up vibrant murals that paint the streets of this artistic hub.
On one of Quito’s most famous streets, Calle La Ronda, you’ll be treated to romantic courtyards, elegant restaurants and salsa clubs. But it’s also known for one thing in particular: the famous beverage canelazo. As a warm spiced cinnamon cocktail, the drink is more popular during the winter, but you’ll find locals drinking it year-round in this bohemian barrio.
Old world flavors
Make your way into Quito’s Old Town—the world’s first listed World Heritage site!—where you’ll find the bustling central market, Mercado Central. Not only is this the best preserved, least altered historic center in South America, it also has some of the best eats. Traditional, cheap, and delicious, try classics like the fritada (slow-simmered pork with all the fixings), locro de papa (potato soup served with cheese and avocado), empanadas, and the griddled potato patties known as llapingachos.
Flutes and drums
Quiteños love to dance. Whether salsa, rumba, merengue, or reggaeton—rhythm runs through their veins. The best place to head out is Plaza Foch, which features an excellent selection of bars and nightclubs, open-air concerts, and impromptu jazz ensembles. Set in the center of the Mariscal area, its alive with western backpackers, young locals, and resident expats looking for good times.
Move to the middle
Visiting the equator line outside of Quito, marked by the Middle of the World monument, is one of the most popular tourist activities. Part of the appeal are the water and balance experiments, like balancing a raw egg on the head of a nail, or the Coriolis Effect, which sees water flowing north in one tub and south in another as proof that you’re standing right on the equator.
Step into the lush world of the Mindo Valley and the Mindo Cloud Forest: the meeting point of two of the world’s most biologically diverse regions. Go bird watching, take a zip line through the lush jungle, or bathe in the Mindo cascades surrounded by exotic flowers. And while you’re there, don’t miss the Butterfly Garden: a sanctuary that’s home to over 1,000 butterfly species.
You may have already traveled a far way, but the Galapagos Islands are so close! Just a two-hour flight from Quito, the Galapagos boast an astounding diversity of wildlife. Snorkel with turtles, dive with whale sharks, get up close with sea lions, and enjoy the fantastic beaches.
The perfect hotel
Stay at the recently-opened Park Inn by Radisson Quito, located in the buzzy La Mariscal neighborhood. Featuring 55 stylish rooms and suites, free breakfast, and services like a modern fitness center, room service, and a business center, you’ve got everything in one place.