Honey, Let's Go See Quito, Ecuador's Charming Capital

By Wesley Vanderhill

Maybe you have considered traveling to the most charming capital of South America?Find out why you definitely want to get to know Quito.

The capital of Ecuador has been one of the first cities to be nominated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, but in spite of that, in has not become a well-known travel destination until quite recently. For those living in Quito in the the seventies, it would have been hard to believe that in a few decades, the city would become the most graceful capital of the continent with gorgeous old strolls and well restored monuments.

While Lima was the administrative center of the Spanish colonial empire in South America, Quito, the capital of Ecuador was the religious center with many cathedrals, churches and monasteries, most of which have survived the countless temblors and the general wear of the centuries. Now wonderfully restored, Quito, the capital of Ecuador has architecturally wonderfully designed plazas that are interconnected by romantic narrow strolls, where people of all ages stroll unconcerned through this peaceful paradise of majestic monuments, local shops, marvellously restored and redesigned mansions that now serve as restaurants and colonial hotels. What I like so much about Ecuador's capital Quito is that it is a city dominated by its own people. Parents with their children play and picnic on the lawns and in the parks. Tourists are present but not in overwhelming numbers.

It would probably be a good idea to take a half day's city tour to get familiarized, but to really enjoy the city one should stroll through the alleys afterwards without a guide and sample a few cafs on your own, emerge in Quito by night (yes police is still present) and enjoy the illuminated monuments or simply watch as the Quitenos go about their business. To Ecuadorians, historical Quito or "Casco viejo" as they call it, is the embodiment of their rich history.

Some of the nicest streets and squares are mainly for pedestrians and all of the old center can be best visited walking which really is the nicest way to enjoy the different plazas and monuments. The entire old city can be explored on foot in relatively brief strolls. When you feel tired, there are little cafs everywhere and prices are very cheap.

With so many lovely old churches one can't name them all, but one really stands out: The Compania Church is the most beautiful and oldest colonial monument of the capital of Ecuador. The interior of the church is covered with real gold and is full of statutes and late medieval paintings. Arguably, it the could be considered the most delightful church of the Americas.

A center fold story in the travel section of the New York Times in 2008 placed Quito it in the 53 finest cities worldwide to be visited. Samantha Brown dubbed it the "Passport to Latin America" considering it the the departure place for traveling to other Southamerican countries. These stories finally generated the appreciation Quito deserves and it has been subject to a variety of television shows (e.g. CBN and NBC). Since then many international magazines and newspapers have published stories about Quito, raving about Latin America's most gorgeous capital.

It is not surprising that more and more tours start out in Quito to to then continue to destinations like Peru and other destinations that can be easily reached from Ecuador.

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