2 days stopover in Quito

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
47 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
South America
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 100
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
311th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Bottom 20% SUMMARY RATING: Ok if passing through


Quito is definitely worth a visit if passing through on your way to some of the world class highlights of Ecuador, like Island hoping through the main Galapagos Islands, 3 days / 2 nights hiking the Quilatoa Loop or Climbing to the summit of Cotopaxi Volcano, and especially if you need a few days to aclimatise to the altitude.  But, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t blown away by it and I think part of it had to do with not feeling 100% safe when wandering around the city centre

Taking the cable car to Volcan Pichincha to see the city spread out amongst the mountains is worth doing.  As is wandering through the Old Town and checking out some of the cool restaurants


#1 Taking the TeleferiQo up for views across the city and surrounding mountains. Make sure you go a bit off the track for wonderful views by the radio tower

#2 Wandering through the historic Old Town of Quito to see the huge number of beautiful spots still showing the colonial times and Age of Discovery

#3 Getting lost walking around the Old Town and finding unexpected majestic churches down small streets

#4 Climbing on the roof of the Basilica of the National Vote and with its views of the city

#5 Enjoying some of the very cool local restaurants around the Old Town with super cool indoor courtyards and views of the city

Rough itinerary

Depending on the time of year you visit, best ask your hotel / locals for if morning / afternoon is the best time to take the TeleferiQo as you’ll want it clear rather than covered by cloud:

  • Take the TeleferiQo (Cable car) up Volcan Pichincha for stunning views across the valleys and to see the sprawling Quito
  • Make sure you get away from the tourist masses and walk off the beaten track a little (walk back the way the cable car came from to the radio tower for the best views)
  • Head back to the Old Town for lunch at Hasta la Vuelta Senor
  • Get yourself a bit lost in the Old Town checking out the various churches and plazas
  • Finish with dinner at the slightly odd but very cool Vista Hermosa, with its great views of the city

Travel Tips

  • Safety – we’d traveled to most major cities in Latin America, but Quito was one that we didn’t feel hugely safe in. As with so many things like this, nothing happened and I’m sure many people visit Quito without having this feeling.  May have been the combo of functional city centre being combined with the old town; a lot of homeless people hanging around; dark alleys etc.
  • The TeleferiQo (cable car that goes up part of Volcan Pichincha) is a must as the views really do cover most of the cities and you can see the surrounding mountains / volcanoes. My main tip would be to get away from the tourist masses and walk back the way the cable car came to the radio tower around 100m – fantastic views!
  • The Old Town is nice – and one of the classic highlights.  I won’t go into the details of each of the various churches to visit, but as a general tip for all old town / church wandering – get lost rather than just trying to tick the places off
  • Basilica of the National Vote – if you have time, make sure to check out the main Basilica, around 800m away from the Old Town. Very impressive Cathedral and cool to walk on the roof
  • There were two restaurants that I’d really recommend:
    • Hasta la Vuelta Senor – tucked on the third floor of an indoor courtyard right off Plaza Grande
    • Vista Hermosa – wonderful views and such an unusual mix of all sorts of memorabilia
  • We stayed at Hotel Casa Montero and would recommend.  In the Old Town, not too expensive, nice views of the mountains, nice indoor courtyard and the reception are super helpful for tips for the city and surrounding area
  • The altitude – Quito is at 2850m / 9350 feet, so be prepared to get a bit more out of breath than normal and potentially for a mild headache when you go up the cable car (3110m / 13000 feet). It’s a great place thought to base yourself for a couple of days to aclimatise before going higher

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone