Top 5 Must Do's in Quito

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San Francisco de Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is best known as Quito and it is one of the two first Cultural Heritage Sites declared by the UNESCO  World Heritage Committee in 1978. If you take a look at these Top 5 Must Do's in Quito, Ecuador you'll understand why this place is so special.

1. Visit the Monuments of Ecuadorian History

Visit the middle of the world literally at the Mitad del Mundo village, just 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Quito. Here you will find a large monument  (10 meter high) built right on the site where the equator line crosses according to the findings of a French expedition team led by Charles Mariede La Condamine in the early 1770s. The results were confirmed again at the end of 18th century and later in 1936 this wonderful monument was erected. The Mitad del Mundo village offers an ethnography museum featuring all native cultures from Ecuador, several exhibits, live performances, restaurants and souvenir shops. Travelers from around the world visit this village to take a picture in each of the four hemispheres of the world.

2. Witness the Creative Genius of Quito's Madonna

Look no further than the Virgen de Quito (Quito's Madonna), located on the top of the El Pancecillo Hill at about 9,895 feet (3,016 meters) above sea level. This 134.5 feet (41 meters) tall aluminium moment of a Virgin was assembled on a high pedestal and built together with about 7,000 individual pieces of aluminum. Standing on top of a chained crocodile, the Virgen de Quito monument symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. This monument is famous not only for being one of the few images of a Virgin with wings, but also because of the suggested movement of the piece.

3. Experience the Community at La Carolina

La Carolina is a 165.5 acre (670,000 square meter) park in the center of Quito that spans over the avenues Rio Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, Eloy Alfaro and de la Republica. To get a good idea of what La Carolina looks like, think of New York City's Central Park. This impressive park has been the stage for several big events such as the great mass that the Pope John Paul II hosted during his visit to Ecuador in 1985. You can see a giant cross built on the place where he stood. During the weekends locals head to La Carolina to practice all forms of sports that range from soccer to skating to cycling. There are several paved walkways and there is also a botanical garden and an exhibition center.

4.  Get a View of the Whole City

Quito is located about 9,350 feet (2,850 meters) above sea level in a valley surrounded with volcanoes, some of them snow capped and mostly visible on clear days. However, you can even higher than that! Take the aerial tramway station at Cruz Loma to reach an altitude of 13,400 feet (4,100 meters) above sea level at the Teleferiquo Park. If the incredible ride itself wasn't reason enough to head to this park, you can find a number of restaurants, coffee shops, stores and hiking trails. Be aware that the sudden increase in altitude may cause some sudden dizziness and shortness of breath. You will have plenty of time to catch your breath with panoramic views from Quito like no others.

5. Learn About Living in a Volcano Crater

Would a town inside a volcano crater interest you? Visit the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, just a couple of miles northwest by car from Quito. This is a perfect activity to be combined with your trip to the La Mitad del Mundo village. The Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve is a local's favorite spot to take out of town visitors because it never ceases to amaze its visitors how it is possible to have a town inside a volcano's crater.

August 06, 2009 change by damiandavilarojas

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