Quito’s Top Attractions for a 2-Day Visit
If you’re planning a trip to Quito and only have two days to explore, don’t worry! The city has plenty of sights and activities to offer that will give you a taste of its history, culture, and nature. In this article, we’ll guide you through the top attractions to visit during your two days in Quito, from strolling through colonial streets to hiking a volcano and experiencing local cuisine.
Day 1: Exploring Old Town and its Historic Sites
Your first day in Quito should start with a visit to its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. This area is home to some of Quito’s most important historic sites, museums, and churches. Begin your tour by visiting the San Francisco Museum and Church, one of the oldest and most significant religious complexes in the city. Here, you’ll learn about the history of the Franciscan order in Ecuador and admire the impressive Baroque architecture of the church.
Visit the San Francisco Museum and Church
After exploring San Francisco, head to the Basilica del Voto Nacional, a stunning neo-Gothic church that dominates the skyline of Quito. Climb to the top of its towers for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Next, take a stroll through Plaza Grande, the main square of Quito, where you’ll see the Presidential Palace, the City Hall, and the Archbishop’s Palace. Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony that takes place here every Monday at 11 am.
Lunch Break: Traditional Ecuadorian Cuisine
For lunch, try some traditional Ecuadorian cuisine at one of the many restaurants in Old Town. Some popular dishes include Llapingachos (potato cakes stuffed with cheese), Fanesca (a soup made with grains, beans, and fish), and Ceviche (a seafood dish marinated in lime juice). After lunch, head to the Middle of the World Monument, located just outside Quito. Here, you can stand on the equator line and learn about the science and culture behind this geographical phenomenon.
Day 2: Outdoor Adventures and Culture
On your second day in Quito, it’s time to explore its nature and culture. Depending on your preferences, you can either hike the Pichincha Volcano or take the Teleferico, a cable car that offers stunning views of the city and the Andes. If you choose to hike, make sure to bring appropriate gear and start early in the morning to avoid the midday heat. The Teleferico is a great option if you want to enjoy the scenery without too much physical effort.
Discover Quito’s Art Scene at La Capilla del Hombre
After your outdoor activity, head to La Capilla del Hombre, a museum dedicated to the work of Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. Here, you’ll see some of his most powerful paintings and sculptures that reflect the social and political issues of Latin America. The museum is located in the Bellavista neighborhood, which also offers trendy cafes and boutiques.
Experience Local Culture at Mercado Central
For your last activity in Quito, visit Mercado Central, a vibrant market that sells everything from fresh produce to handicrafts. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of the daily life of Quito’s inhabitants and taste some of the local snacks, such as empanadas, humitas, and helados de paila (ice cream made in a copper pot). Don’t forget to bargain with the vendors and buy some souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
Conclusion: A Perfect Two Days in Quito
In conclusion, Quito has a lot to offer for a two-day visit, from its colonial architecture to its natural wonders and cultural attractions. By following this itinerary, you’ll get a taste of the city’s history, cuisine, and art scene, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, a camera, and an open mind to fully enjoy your time in Quito.