Three-Day Travel Guide to Quito: Tips, Routes, and Must-See Places

what-to-see-in- Quito

Quito is a charming city located in the heart of the Andes Mountains. With its colonial architecture, rich culture, and stunning natural beauty, it is a perfect destination for any traveler. In this three-day travel guide, we will show you the best things to do and see in Quito, along with some travel tips, recommended routes, and suggestions for accommodation and food.

what-to-see-in- Quito

Day 1: Exploring the Historic Center

On your first day in Quito, start your adventure by exploring the city’s historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is home to some of the most important colonial buildings and churches in South America.

What to see:

  • The Plaza de la Independencia: This central square is the heart of the historic center and is surrounded by important buildings such as the Presidential Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Archbishop’s Palace.
  • The La Compañía de Jesús Church: This baroque church is considered one of the most beautiful in South America. Its interior is decorated with gold leaf and intricate wood carvings.
  • The San Francisco Church: This impressive church dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its ornate facade and beautiful interior.
  • The Plaza San Francisco: This charming square is located in front of the San Francisco Church and is surrounded by cafes and shops.


You can follow the «Historic Center» route, which covers the main landmarks in the area, or you can take the «Panecillo» route, which includes a visit to the famous statue of the Virgin Mary located on a hill overlooking the city. Both routes are easy to navigate and offer plenty of opportunities for taking photos and enjoying the sights.

Where to sleep:

For a comfortable stay in the historic center, we recommend the Casa Gangotena hotel, located on Bolivar Street. This 5-star hotel offers spacious rooms, excellent service, and stunning views of the city.

Where to eat:

For a taste of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, head to «Café Plaza Grande» restaurant, located on the Plaza de la Independencia. This elegant eatery serves dishes such as locro soup, ceviche, and grilled meats, and has a cozy atmosphere.

Day 2: Nature and Culture

On your second day in Quito, explore the city’s natural and cultural attractions. Quito is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, so there are many opportunities for outdoor activities.

What to see:

  • The TeleferiQo: This cable car takes you up to the top of the Pichincha volcano, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Quito and the surrounding mountains.
  • The La Carolina Park: This large park is a great place to relax and enjoy the local vibe. You can walk or bike along the trails, have a picnic, or visit the botanical garden.
  • The Casa del Alabado Museum: This museum showcases the pre-Columbian art and culture of Ecuador, and is located in a beautifully restored colonial house.


You can take the «Nature and Culture» route, which covers the TeleferiQo and the La Carolina Park, or you can combine it with a visit to the Casa del Alabado Museum for a longer day. Both options offer a great mix of outdoor and indoor activities.

Where to sleep:

If you want to be close to the La Carolina Park, we recommend the Swissotel Quito hotel, located on Avenida 12 de Octubre. This elegant hotel offers spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and a spa.

Where to eat:

For a modern and trendy dining experience, head to «Zazu» restaurant, located on Avenida 6 de Diciembre. This fusion eatery serves dishes such as ceviche with mango and passion fruit, pork belly with miso glaze, and beetroot risotto.

Day 3: Adventure and Relaxation

On your last day in Quito, combine some adventure with some relaxation. Quito is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and also offers some great spas and wellness centers.

What to see:

  • The Cotopaxi National Park: This park is located about 2 hours south of Quito and is home to the Cotopaxi volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. You can hike or bike along the trails, visit the interpretation center, and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
  • The Papallacta Hot Springs: These natural hot springs are located about 1.5 hours east of Quito and offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. You can soak in the thermal pools, enjoy a massage, or try some of the local cuisine.


You can take the «Cotopaxi» route, which includes a visit to the national park and a stop at a local market, or you can take the «Papallacta» route, which includes a visit to the hot springs and a stop at the Cayambe volcano. Both routes offer a great mix of adventure and relaxation.

Where to sleep:

If you want to be close to the Papallacta Hot Springs, we recommend the Termas de Papallacta hotel, located near the hot springs. This rustic hotel offers comfortable rooms, thermal pools, and spa services.

Where to eat:

For a taste of traditional Andean cuisine, head to «El Crater» restaurant, located on the Panamerican Highway. This restaurant offers stunning views of the Pululahua volcano and serves dishes such as quinoa soup, llama steak, and guinea pig.

Travel Tips in Quito

Before you visit Quito, here are some travel tips that can help you make the most of your trip:

  • Be prepared for the altitude, as Quito is located at 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level. Drink plenty of water, take it easy on the first day, and avoid alcohol.
  • Be careful when walking at night, especially in less touristy areas.
  • Use taxis or Uber for transportation, and negotiate the price before getting in.
  • Bring warm clothes, as the temperature can drop quickly, especially at night.
  • Learn some basic Spanish phrases, as not everyone speaks English.

Free Tours in Quito

If you want to explore the city with a local guide, there are several free walking tours available in Quito. These tours are led by volunteers and are a great way to learn about the city’s history and culture. Some of the most popular tours include:

  • The Old Town Tour: This tour covers the main attractions in the historic center and lasts about 2 hours.
  • The Street Art Tour: This tour takes you through the colorful neighborhoods of La Floresta and Guápulo, and shows you some of the best street art in the city.
  • The Food Tour: This tour introduces you to the local cuisine and takes you to some of the best street food stalls in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about traveling to Quito:

  • What is the best time to visit Quito? The best time to visit Quito is from June to September, when the weather is dry and mild.
  • Do I need a visa to visit Ecuador? It depends on your nationality. Check with the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate in your country.
  • Is Quito safe for tourists? Quito is generally safe for tourists, but like any big city, it has some areas that are more dangerous than others. Avoid walking alone at night and be aware of your surroundings.
  • What is the currency in Ecuador? The currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
  • What is the official language in Ecuador? The official language in Ecuador is Spanish, but many people also speak English.


Quito is a wonderful city that offers a unique mix of history, culture, nature, and adventure. In this three-day travel guide, we have shown you some of the best things to do and see in Quito, along with travel tips, recommended routes, and suggestions for accommodation and food. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, you will find something to enjoy in this beautiful and welcoming city.

For more information on Quito and other destinations in Ecuador, visit the official tourism website:

Other travel guides