*Take the Teleferico, a gondola ride up to an elevation of 4,000 feet with spectacular views of the city. Seasoned backpackers may enjoy a hike up to even higher altitudes while those looking for a more relaxing time can kick back in one of the restaurants or bars where the gondolas let off. Just make sure it?s a clear day.
*Wander around the Centro Historico, Old Quito, admire the colonial architecture, and check out a few of the many churches that dot the center, including the almost entirely gold-plated La Iglesia de la Compañia.
*Take an inexpensive private salsa lessons at one of the dance schools in La Mariscal, Quito?s tourist district otherwise known as gringolandia. Try Ritmo Tropical on Avenida Amazonas.
*Enjoy a typical Ecuadorian dish only a true adventure traveler could love, cuy ? roasted guinea pig served whole, arms and legs spread crucifixion style. If that?s not your style, a far more tame and very delicious street food is chocho y tostado ? big vinegary white beans mixed with salty toasted corn and topped with a citrusy onion sauce ? pick up a bag at a stand for about 15 cents.
*Stroll through the Artisan markets that spring up in major parks on the weekends. Buy some quality wool sweaters, silver jewelry, hammocks, belts and traditional Ecuadorian artwork for cheap. Don?t forget to haggle.
When to go
Seasons in Quito are divided into wet, October through May, and dry, June through September. Even in the wet season rains are confined to a few hours a day and clouds tend to roll in late afternoon. Temperatures are mild and constant year round and rarely dip above 80 or below 40.
How to get there
If you?re planning on exploring Ecuador, Quito is going to be your starting point. International flights arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport on all major carriers. You can travel by bus to Quito from all other points in Ecuador. Buses are cheap and convenient.
Travelers from the US, Canada, most European countries, and Israel do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. A 90 day tourist visa will be stamped in your passport at the airport.
A common tip at restaurants is 10%. Taxi drivers should not be tipped, and rates should always be negotiated beforehand when traveling by taxi after 7 at night, as the meters are turned off.