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Searching for a destination that has something for everyone?  We get it: we used to worry about that too until we discovered Quito, the exquisite capital of Ecuador and our search was over.  This dynamic and beautiful city unrolls for an astonishing 35 kilometers like a magic carpet, suspended high in the Andean mountains.  There are discoveries to be made all over Quito.

Quito’s modern history dates back to the 16th century when it was established by Spanish settlers, but the modern city was built on far older Inca remains which may well make Quito one of the older inhabited locations in South America.  At a dizzying altitude of 9,350 feet above sea level, Quito is officially the highest capital city in the world and many travelers and most of Quito’s 1.2 million inhabitants insist that it is South America’s most beautiful city.  Certainly it is one of the better preserved with many of its Colonial-era buildings still delightfully intact.  Quito boasts an architectural style all its own: a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish, and indigenous artistry. 

Quito’s dramatic landscape is dominated by soaring volcanos; an optical illusion makes them seem much closer than they actually are, giving one the impression that you could almost reach out and touch the Antisana, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe volcanos.  You can certainly get much closer on the breathtaking sky tram that takes you up to the base camp of the Pichincha volcano, from where you can hike to the summit.  Hiking, birdwatching, and other active pursuits are a delight in Quito’s year-round springtime climate, positioned, as it is at the "Middle of the World."

For travelers who collect destination trophies, Quito is a must: here you can stand at longitude 00-00’-00” with one foot in each hemisphere.  You can also set your watch by Quito’s sunsets - located right on the equator, each day is an even 12 hours.  And when darkness comes, it’s time to head to Quito’s Old Town.  Thanks to a concentrated program of urban renewal, this lively historic neighborhood has become the dynamic cultural heart of the city, redolent with music, culture, great food, and Quito’s unique architectural ensembles. 

Alexander + Roberts help travelers discover South America’s hidden gems on carefully-curated itineraries such as Quito + The Galapagos - 11 Day Adventure, aboard the luxurious 24-cabin La Pinta.

Posted: 3/10/2016 2:58:57 PM by Alexander + Roberts

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