5 Experiences You Need on Your Quito Itinerary
Not sure what to add to your Quito Itinerary?
I’ve got you covered.
Quito, Ecuador, the city in the “Middle of the World,” is rich in history, has stunning landscapes, and offers the warmest hospitality. I was fortunate to visit with a group of High School students in 2019 and again with 7 other travel content creators in 2023. Both experiences were absolutely amazing!
Here’s what stands out the most when folks ask me about things to do in Quito….
Heritage: Afro-Ecuadorian Culture
Quito has a vibrant Afro-Ecuadorian community! Connecting with their rich culture as a Black woman is an absolute must!
As in most Central and South American countries, predominately Black communities are largely found on the coast. In Ecuador specifically, Afro-Ecuadorians reside in Valle del Chota, Esmeraldas, and throughout Quito and Guayaquil.
During our visit, we had the opportunity to meet with an organizer who has uplifted the Afro-Ecuadorian community for years. This encounter left me with a deeper appreciation for the city’s diversity and a reminder of the richness of the African diaspora. I asked her what would be the one thing she would want others to know about the Afro-Ecuadorian community. Her answer was simple…
History: Quito’s Old Town
Quito’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a beautiful kaleidoscope of history and architecture that sits almost 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andean Mountains.
On both visits I enjoyed strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets on walking tours of the Old City. But let me tell you, Quito literally took my breath away. Seriously…I found myself out of breath a few times. The elevation is no joke. Be sure to bring a water bottle with you and refill it often!
I would recommend booking a walking tour with a pickup/drop off at your hotel and wearing some good walking shoes! There are tours that can be booked through Ecuador’s leading tourism company, Metropolitan Touring, as well as a few themed tours.
In 2019, the students and I enjoyed a Gothic themed tour that was narrated by the “Black Widow.” Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate that tour again.
FYI—During both of my visits to Quito, the local police escorted our tour groups around the city to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the tour. I would definitely recommend inquiring about security with whatever tour group you choose.
Based on its location in South America, Ecuador is clearly not short on beautiful views.
Teleférico is one of the highest aerial lifts in the world with an elevation of over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). The ride to the top takes you up to a scenic point where you can view Quito and a range of about 10 volcanoes – Mirador de los Volcanes.
This is the perfect place to see the kind of views that give you all the feels. For me, looking out at these views was sobering. I felt so small, but in an inspiring way!
For the adventurous spirits among us, hiking the additional route of the Pichincha Volcano (see pic below) is a thrilling challenge that leads to even more amazing views. You can also opt to chill and visit the coffeehouse at the end of the gondola ride. Either way, the views will be stunning.
The popular and vibrant Otavalo Indigenous Market is a treasure trove of traditional textiles, jewelry, and handcrafted wonders. It is the largest market in South America! Exploring this market is a great opportunity to celebrate cultural exchange, learn about indigenous traditions, try traditional street food, and pick up unique, meaningful souvenirs.
The colors, textures, and stories within the market will leave you in awe. There are also other markets that can be found throughout the city. I would recommend booking market tours with a reputable company.
The Equator: The Intiñan Museum
The Intiñan Museum – located on the equator at 0 degrees, 0 minutes and 0 seconds — was also a lot of fun. This experience included historical and cultural activities alongside interactive games to test your balance while standing on the equator.
*BONUS ~ Retreat: Mashpi Lodge
If you are up for a two hour drive outside of Quito, Mashpi Lodge in the gorgeous Ecuadorian rainforest is a perfect addition to the itinerary. Two to 3 days is enough to experience the rainforest and spend time connecting with nature. You will be able to recharge and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, both internally and externally.
Your journey to Quito as a Black woman is more than just a vacation—it’s a celebration of culture and a connection to nature that is completely off the beaten path.
Prepare your itinerary and go!! Then, join our Facebook group and let us know how your trip went!