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Quito attractions

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Quito old city is a beautiful area, with cobblestone streets and beautiful colonial buildings, and a tour is a must. The Plaza de la Independencia is the main square, and contains the cathedral and the Archbishop’s palace. Of the many churches in the town, the most impressive has to be the Jesuit church of La Compañia, with an incredible ornate gold-leaf interior. The Monestary of San Francisco is the oldest church in Ecuador, and the nearby Santo Domingo church is also worth visiting. A trip to the top of the Panecillo (little sugarloaf) offers the best views of the city and the surrounding volcanoes.

Quito’s setting is very impressive, with snow-capped Cotopaxi visible unless it is covered in cloud. It is sometimes possible to visit the volcano, depending on volcanic activity, and many activities are possible on the mountain, including horse riding and mountain biking. Closer is Pichincha, another volcano. A cable car from Quito can take you up the mountain, from where there are incredible views.

One of the most popular excursions in Quito is to the Mitad del Mundo, literally the centre of the world. This is where a French expedition in 1736 established the location of the equatorial line from which the country is named. There is a monument to the equator here, with a museum within the monument. The area has been built as a colonial town and there also restaurants and other leisure activities here. Very close by is the Inti Ñan museum, which claims to be on the exact equatorial line, and has different experiments and exhibitions relating to the equator.

Read our blog to find out what to expect on a tour of Quito's historic centre.