Last updated: 10:04 AM ET, Tue November 29 2016

5 Must-See Attractions In Quito, Ecuador

Tour Operator | Latin Trails | Lisa Iannucci | November 29, 2016

5 Must-See Attractions In Quito, Ecuador

PHOTO: Quito, Ecuador, at night (Photo via Thinkstock

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and is the highest capital city in the world at a steep 9,350 feet.

Just imagine the views atop its El Panecillo, a hill of volcanic origin, looking over the city filled with some of the most beautiful 16th- and 17th-century churches in the world.

And touring this incredible country with Latin Trails gives you incredible insight into this gorgeous country.

Here are five great things you must see if visiting this quaint old town:

Churches: La Compañía de Jesús is Quito’s ornate Jesuit church that took an incredible 160 years to finish construction. Its exterior is made entirely out of volcanic stone, and the exquisite interior is made with gold leaf. Another Quito church that is an impressive architectural masterpiece is The Basilica of the National Vow, a neo-Gothic structure with animals, such as armadillos and iguanas, carved into the building. The Basilica was completed in 1909 with donations from the townspeople who had their names engraved into the rocks. Today, you can go to the top of the Basilica’s towers and see the panoramic views of Quito. Last, but not least, is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, located in Independence Plaza, a late Gothic church that also combines Baroque, Neoclassic and Moorish touches throughout. It took almost 300 years to reach its final form and is a sight to behold.

Independence Plaza: Not only is the Cathedral located at Independence Plaza, but on your visit you will tour the Government Palace, Independence Monument and the Archbishop’s palace. Independence Plaza was built because the Incas were afraid that someone might poison their water supply so they wanted a protected area. Today, it serves as the home of The Government Palace, City Hall and The Archbishop's Palace, and you can take a peek inside all of them. Think about taking a nighttime stroll when everything is all lit up.

Food: Of course you’ll want to taste true Ecuadorian food while you are here, such as morocho corn ice cream and quinoa. Take a culinary tour of Quinto where you’ll stop and enjoy delicious samples along the way of tamales and pastries, or dig in and try a cooking class and learn the secrets of making these tasty dishes when you return home.

Fundación Guayasamín: Oswaldo Guayasamín is one of Ecuador's most famous artists and this museum is dedicated to his work. The museum is made up of several small galleries that hold his work including "La Edad de la Ira" ("The Age of Anger"), and "Homenaje a Vi­ctor Jara" ("Homage to Victor Jara").

Museum fun: At Museo Alberto Mena Caamano, think Madame Tussaud’s meets your history class professor. It’s a former jail turned into a wax museum. You’ll learn about the process of Ecuador’s independence, although it’s important to know that everything in the museum is in Spanish so be sure to bring your dictionary or translation app. If you would prefer a different museum experience, visit the Intian Museum, where you’ll see such fascinating hand-made items as a hut Huaorani, built by a huao community that lived for two weeks in the museum. 

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