Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014
Dubbed “The Highest Capital City in the World”, Quito sits at an elevation of 9,350 feet above sea level. Quito’s central square, “Plaza de la Independencia” is only sixteen miles south of the equator; the city extends itself less than one mile of zero latitude! In fact, a monument known locally as La Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world) marks the zero degrees latitude location of the equator. It’s where Charles-Marie de la Condamine concluded in 1736 that the location where the monument stands today is indeed the middle of the Earth (zero degrees latitude). In 1978, Quito was the first World Cultural Heritage Site declared by UNESCO. Before being formed into the commercial center that Quito is today, the city was once ruled by kings. Prior to being defeated in 1462 by Túpac Inca, son of the Emperor of the Incas, The Caras tribe ruled the Kingdom of Quito for more than four centuries. With over 1.6 million inhabitants as of 2010, Quito is the second largest city in Ecuador next to Guayaquil’s 2.3 million. Most tours of the Galapagos Islands begin in Quito and end in Guayaquil, but not before cruising the archipelago of volcanic islands that make up the Galapagos. One of the most beautiful aspects of Quito is the mountain peaks surrounding the city. The mountains in Cuenca seem like hills next to the Quito’s mountain range.
Due to its elevation and close proximity to the Equator, Quito’s climate is consistently cool with an average annual high of sixty seven degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows are also consistent between forty-seven and forty-nine degrees Fahrenheit annually. Precipitation in Quito is surprisingly high at nine months or one hundred twenty eight days throughout the year.
The best time to travel to Quito would have to be during the months of June, July, and August. Precipitation is at its lowest and temperatures range between sixty-seven and sixty-eight during the day and between forty-seven and forty-eight in the evenings. The window of opportunity for travel to Quito is relatively small; planning stages should be no later than December of the previous year as hotels and tours tend to fill up fast.
As of February 2013, Quito’s newly built international airport Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre (airport code: UIO) has thirty-five busses that depart every twenty to thirty minutes daily to and from the Avenida De Los Granados in the center of Quito.
There are several sights worth seeing in Quito such as Old Town, which is regarded as the largest part of the city. Old Town is very colonial filled with museums, but due to all the renovations, some of the churches and museums may only open for a short period of time or close altogether. Most visitors flock to the Mariscal Sucre or New Town due to the selection of hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.