Founded in 1534, Quito boasts one of the largest and best preserved colonial quarters in the Americas. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the quarter is a maze of cobblestone streets, religious buildings, palaces, and manor houses. Standing above the rest
La Compañia Church and San Francisco Monastery are probably the best representatives of Baroque art in the New World. Just outside the city the Middle of the World monument marks the limit between northern and southern hemispheres.
North of Quito, Mindo Valley stands out as one of the hottest biodiversity spots in the planet. This pristine cloud forest offers shelter to hundreds of bird species and mammals and is perfect for outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, bird watching and mountain biking. Further north we find Imbabura province, an enchanted land of lakes, hills, small villages, snow-capped peaks and dramatic volcano silhouettes. The Otavalo Indian Market, one of Latin America’s most popular, is Imbabura’s main attraction. At two hours from Quito, Otavalo Market goes back to pre Inca times when tribes from the Amazon journeyed for days to barter with highlanders. Today the market offers a perfect space to watch and learn about indigenous cultures and admire their beautiful handcrafts.
Quito is located at 9,400 ft. above sea level, in a valley flanked by majestic mountains and volcanoes, one hour by air from Guayaquil. The city boasts a wonderful spring-like climate despite the fact it is only 14 miles south of the equator.