Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Quito, Ecuador

Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:16pm EDT
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By Eduardo Garcia

QUITO (Reuters) - Peppered with parks and crafts markets, Quito's status as a UNESCO world heritage site and its sweeping Andean panoramas have made this highland city an up-and-coming tourist destination.

The main attractions of Quito, which caters for all tastes, are its colonial center, magnificent churches, cobblestone streets and quaint squares.

Visitors can enjoy cycling on the growing network of paths, or a stroll in the massive La Carolina park or the Parque Metropolitano, a eucalyptus forest overlooking the city.

Quito is also an ideal destination for craft hunters, art lovers and those eager to discover the distinctive flavors of Andean cuisine.


6 p.m. - Board a cable car to climb to 13,500 feet for a bird's eye view of this bowl-shaped city. Looming above is the summit of the Pichincha volcano, which belched ash as recently as 1999.

7 p.m. - Soak in colonial-era ambience with a drink outdoors at Tianguez, at the foot of twin-towered San Francisco monastery, whose facade recalls Spain's Escorial.

8 p.m. - Dine at El Ventanal, which offers spectacular views of Quito's colonial center and an international menu that includes grilled octopus and fish carpaccio, as well as some local dishes including quinoa salad.   Continued...

A view shows the historic center at downtown Quito, April 12, 2012.REUTERS/Guillermo Granja/Files