Quito Scenic View
Photo by: waldopics, Creative Commons

Tourists visit the country of Ecuador mainly to explore its rugged terrain and to marvel at the sheer natural wonders of this diverse country. It is a common sight for a casual observer to note the dozens of young European or North American tourists who roam around the city of Quito, Ecuador on their way to distant expeditions. Many of them just stay in the city for short periods before embarking on more extensive journeys.

However, the city of Quito, Ecuador can be a destination by itself. It is nestled in the Ecuadorian highlands give it a constantly pleasant and spring-like temperature throughout most of the year in spite of its location right on the equator. The city can offer a diverse experience to first-time visitors who can quickly take a glimpse of the city whether from a pre-Hispanic, colonial or modern point of view.

The El Panecillo Hill in the middle of the city is an example of the interesting layers of pre-Colombian era culture and colonial heritage that permeates the city. The hill has ruins left from the original Ecuadorian Indians who had placed a ceremonial significance to the area due to its strategic location within the Inca Empire. These days it is more commonly associated with the city’s most famous landmark – a monument of the Madonna which was built in 1976.

Quito, Ecuador is also recognized by UNESCO for having the biggest historic center in Latin America, dating back to the earliest years of the country’s colonial history and measuring more than 3.2 square kilometers. It is so well preserved that it became the very first city to be included in the initial list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers can easily spend an entire day or two admiring the colonial structures and houses within this area which is located right in the middle of the city.

For those who would like a taste of modern Ecuadorian flair, a visit to the northern area of the city will not disappoint. It is home to upscale residential neighborhoods, the financial district, and high end shopping centers. The area has a great selection of bars, clubs and restaurants that showcase the cosmopolitan flair of Quito residents.

From the ancient to the modern, the city of Quito, Ecuador can offer a quiet respite for backpackers tired from exploring the country’s diverse landscape and for tourists who want to taste a slice of the highland city lifestyle of urban Ecuadorians.

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