When I arrived in Quito six years ago for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. After all, it was my first time setting foot on foreign soil. My trip was short but I craved to understand as much of the country as possible.
Thankfully, I had a local to show me the magnificence of the country by whisking me around the city to the must-visit sites, in what she called her “Quiteño crash course”. Since then, I have been back several times, bringing friends and family members to the country to share a similar experience.
More reading: Where is Quito located?
7 Things to Do in Quito Ecuador (Weekend Trip)
Here is my crafted itinerary of things to do in Quito – so you can appreciate it’s history, culture, gastronomy and scenery in as little as a weekend trip. We begin on Friday afternoon…
Friday in Quito
3PM: Teleférico Start your journey 500 meters above the city to enjoy the view of the sprawling metropolis. The Teleferico is a twenty minute cable car ride that runs alongside the Pichincha Volcano. Afterwards, you can grab snacks before making your way back down.
5PM: Capilla del Hombre Perched on top of the city is the breathtaking art museum of Ecuador’s famous Oswaldo Guayasamín. Considered one of Quito’s best attractions, Capilla del Hombre allows you to explore two sites.
- First, a museum that the artist designed himself featuring solely his own work. Guayasamín’s collection goes through many stages, depicting the suffering of indigenous people and calls for peace and human rights.
- Second, the grounds also features the home of the late artist. Here you can join a guided tour to understand his life and the history of the city.
8PM: Dinner at Cafe Mosaico Enjoy an Ecuadorian and international menu on one of the best balconies in the country. This locally sourced restaurant features live music, an enchanting ambiance, and a delicious spread.
Saturday in Quito
9AM: Quito Tour Bus Quito’s first and only double-decker bus starts at Boulevard Naciones Unidas to begin an action-packed day in the historic center.
This city tour allows you to see the city with convenient, reliable transportation, while exploring at your own pace. Make your first stop at La Mariscal for some shopping in the artesan markets. Stop six, the Basilica features the most iconic church in the city. For a small fee, you can climb the towers of church and lookout on the impressive downtown.
Reload the bus to head to the Historic District, where you can spend the afternoon visiting the Presidential Palace, admiring the gilded Iglesia de la Compañía, learning history at Museo de la Ciudad, and making chocolate at the Quinde Store.
A final ride on the tour bus will take you up to the Panecillo, the statue of the Virgen de Quito that watches over the city.
6PM: La Ronda After a trip to el Panecillo, the bus will take you back down to the base of the hill, where you can stop at La Ronda, a lively street known for live music, food and drinks. Try a glass of Canelazo, a warm spiced cinnamon cocktail from the Andean region while listening to guitar players in the street.
Read more about Quito’s top tourist attractions.
Sunday in Quito
10AM: Mitad del Mundo On Sunday morning, head out of the city to the middle of the world, just north of Quito. At this equatorial monument you can stand on two hemispheres at once, taking fun photos and learning the science behind the equator. The complex has nine ethnographic museums, an outlook at the top of the monument, exhibits, shopping and places to snack.
2PM: Comida Típica For lunch, head across the street to eat fritada. This traditional Ecuadorian dish is made from fried pork typically served with potatoes, corn, tomatoes and plantains. Make sure to have some fresh juice while you are in the area, as much of the produce is grown regionally.
Read more about typical Ecuador food.
If you have more time to spend in Ecuador, leave from Mitad del Mundo to Mindo, a town known as the cloud forest. Bucket Pass offers a bundled pass here where you can enjoy a day zip lining, hiking to waterfalls, learning the production of chocolate, and much more.
About Karissa Jobman: Karissa is the cofounder of Bucket Pass, a company that provides online ticket sales to the top attractions in cities around the world.