To live is the rarest thing in the world.

Most people just exist.

Oscar Wilde


The capital city of Ecuador

There is a battle between Quito and Cuenca regarding the more beautiful historic center within Ecuador. Of course, people living in Quito prefer their own. However, in my opinion, Cuenca has a much nicer historic center. And even beyond the historic center, Cuenca is a very beautiful city, whereas all other parts of Quito are rather average and industrial.

I met people who stayed in Quito even for many weeks. However, this was not because of the many things to do but because of the super cheap and big The Secret Garden Hostel offering great food and drinks for good prices as well. Moreover, whenever you visit Ecuador, you will cross Quito at one point. The main north-south path crosses Quito, and flights to Galápagos only leave from either Quito or Guayaquil.


The Historic Center

When visiting the historic center, everything is within walking distance. Thus, within the center, you don’t need any buses. In any other parts of Quito, I would rather take buses or Uber/taxis instead of walking longer distances. The main political buildings are in the center, as well as nice squares, some historic museums and nice cafés selling very specific flavors of ice cream and sweets. While I participated in a free walking tour, some important politicians were at the site. Thus, fences were built up to lock out people and armed people situated on roofs of surrounding houses.


The Panecillo Lookout

The free walking tour guide recommended visiting the Panecillo Lookout. However, one should take a taxi, because it is known that locals tend to rob tourists walking along. I took a taxi, but it took almost as much time as if I walked due to the amount of traffic. The view from the lookout is worth the visit. Without clouds — even if that is not likely — you might even spot some surrounding volcanoes like Cotopaxi.


The Mitad del Mundo

The equatorial line is located north of Quito. Actually, there is not really a gap between Quito and the next villages, just a new name-sign on the road. There are local buses from Quito’s Terminal La Ofelia towards “Mitad del Mundo”. Just be careful when visiting the equatorial line. There is the very big museum and park called “Mitad del Mundo”, which is not located at the true equatorial line. The Spaniards approximated the line to this location. However, more exact and more recent GPS measurements identified the true location of the equatorial line a few degrees further north. At the correct location, you’ll find the Intiñan Site Museum.

Middle of the World

This park is worth to be visited, for sure. Especially since from the tower you have a good view. Moreover, there are many nice shops, cafés, and restaurants within this park. Even some museums, which I skipped. I stuck to view and coffee, my favorites, before continuing to the true equatorial line.


Intiñan Site Museum

This museum offers not only a visit to the equatorial line but also shows many aspects of Ecuador. Even though the Middle of the World park is cheaper, this museum is much better. Ecuador has four main different landscapes, the coast, the highlands, the Amazon, and the Galápagos, each represented in the museum. Moreover, some old traditions of local people are shown. Additionally, you can step on the equatorial line marked on the ground. There were different options to take photos and also to play fun experiments, like the egg-experiment.


Public Transport

It is reasonably easy to get around Ecuador by public transport. Except for the route between Loja and Cuenca in the south, the prices are rather fair. As there are many touristy sights around and close to Quito, you will cross some of its bus terminals.

The Airport

Normally, an airport is not special enough to be mentioned within the context of public transport. However, I would like to highlight that flights to and from Quito are a bit special because the airport is very close to the equatorial line. With some basic physics knowledge, you know about the Coriolis force and its impact on, south and north of the equatorial line. I experienced the starting and landing (to/from the Galápagos) more shaky on average than at other airports, which I relate to the Coriolis force.

Bus Terminals

There are different bus terminals within Quito. The biggest and newest one is the Quitumbre terminal in the south. All buses entering Quito from the south stop at this terminal. There are also a few buses which head to northern Ecuador with a stopover in the second-biggest and main northern terminal, Carcelén. Quitumbre is massive and there are multiple companies offering tickets to almost everywhere. Just less frequently to northern towns and far away places.

There is a third terminal, La Ofelia, which is located in the north and reasonably close to Carcelén. At this terminal, there are few direct buses to nearby villages like Mindo while longer distance buses passing Mindo leave from Carcelén. La Ofelia is also the hub for many regional buses to nearby villages, including the Mitad del Mundo.

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