To really appreciate the colonial heritage of Ecuador, you have to travel up into its highlands for a night or two and stay in a hacienda. For horse lovers, a great way to explore the undulating countryside is to ride from one hacienda to another along the cobbled roads laid by the Incas.
Saskia, Original Traveller
Surrounded by the Andes, Quito has a dramatic setting and is overlooked by the Virgin of Quito, a statue atop the Panecillo hill above the Old Town. The city has been transformed in recent years as there has been restoration of old mansions and streets, installations of dramatic lighting and increased security and cleanliness. The colonial heart of the city is the old town where there are fun markets and horse and trap rides to take you round the sites.
Why we think you’ll love it
- Quito is the second highest capital city in the world (pop quiz - name the first?) and was the first city to be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
- The city also boasts one of the largest and best preserved historical quarters in all of the Americas
From the gallery
Quito and The Highlands: The Detail
Ecuador is one of the most rural countries in South America, and this is very evident in its Highlands region, where the pace of life is slow, the way of life simple, and the scenery beautiful. The two Andean mountain ranges that run parallel and cross Ecuador from north to south create everything from volcanoes and snow capped mountains to green valleys, lakes and rivers.
Dotted about this landscape are impressive colonial cities like Quito (which is second highest capital city in the world and was the first city to be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) and Cuenca, quaint Indian villages and markets, farmlands and traditional haciendas, many of which are boutique hotels, making a lovely trip out from the city.
As well as this 16 miles north of Quito, the Equatorial Monument 'Mitad del Mundo' marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere. This makes for a memorable holiday destination.