. Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the highest official capital city in the world.It is located in South America Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains.With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil.It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the Metropolitan District of Quito.The canton recorded a population of 2,239,191 residents in the 2010 national census.In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least altered and best preserved historic centers in the Americas. Quito, along with Krakow, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude.A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.
Church of the Society of Jesus
. The Church of the Society of Jesus (Spanish La Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus), known colloquially as la Compania, is a Jesuit church in Quito, Ecuador.It is among the best known churches in Quito because of its large central nave, which is profusely decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings.Inspired by two Roman Jesuit churches the Chiesa del Gesu (1580) and the Chiesa di SantIgnazio di Loyola (1650) la Compania is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America.It is Quitomost ornate church and (according to some observers) the countrymost beautiful.
La Capilla del Hombre
. The painter Oswaldo Guayasamin La Capilla del Hombre (The Chapel of Man) occupies a site in Bellavista overlooking the city of Quito, Ecuador.The Capilla is a purpose built art museum dedicated to the peoples of Latin America.Construction of Guayasaminmasterpiece began in 1995 and unfortunately was not completed until 2002, after his death.Although this chapel contains fewer pieces of Guayasaminart than the nearby foundation and museum, the building he designed provides an atmosphere specific to his artwork to view his paintings.The Capilla del Hombre exhibits Guayasaminwork as a history of human suffering and violence in Latin America and the world.It includes sculptures and murals and integrates the surroundings into an artistic interpretation of the subject.
Church and Convent of St Francis
. The Church and Monastery of St.Francis (Spanish Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco), commonly known as el San Francisco, is a 16th century Roman Catholic complex in Quito, Ecuador.It fronts onto its namesake Plaza de San Francisco.The imposing structure has the distinction of being the largest architectural ensemble among the historical structures of colonial Latin America and for this reason is sometimes known as El Escorial of the New World[by whom].The style evolved over almost 150 years of construction (1534 1680) through earthquakes and changes in artistic fashion.The Church houses the citybeloved Virgin of Quito (1734).
. El Panecillo (from Spanish panecillo small piece of bread, diminutive of pan bread) is a 200 metre high hill of volcanic origin, with loess soil, located between southern and central Quito.Its peak is at an elevation of 3,016 metres above sea level.The original name used by the aboriginal inhabitants of Quito was Yavirac.According to Juan de Velasco, a Jesuit historian, on top of Yavirac there was a temple which the Indians used to worship the sun.This temple is said[by whom] to have been destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores.The street that leads up to El Panecillo is called Melchor Aymerich.
. Pichincha Spanish pronunciation is a province of Ecuador located in the northern sierra region its capital and largest city is Quito.It is bordered by Imbabura andEsmeraldas to the north, Cotopaxi andSanto Domingo de los Tsachilas to the south, Napo andSucumbios to the east, and Esmeraldas andSanto Domingo de los Tsachilas to the west.Prior to 2008, the canton Santo Domingo de los Colorados was part of the Pichincha Province.It has since become its own province, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas.
Basilica del Voto Nacional
. The basilica arose from the idea, proposed by father Julio Matovelle in 1883, of building a monument as a perpetual reminder of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart.President Luis Cordero issued the decree on July 23, 1883, and it was carried out by president Jose Maria Placido Caamano on March 5, 1884.The congress, in accordance with the yearbudget, designated 12,000 pesos for the construction 1,000 pesos per month, beginning in 1884.By the decree of July 3, 1885, the fourth Quitense Provincial Council turned the construction of the basilica into a religious commitment in the name of the country.In 1887, the Issodum Fathers began construction for five years, with the approval of Pope Leo XIII.The Oblato fathers donated the land for the basilica.To continue construction, donations were accepted from believers, who provided stones in exchange for engraving their names on them.In 1895, the state established a tax on salt to continue the building.
. The TeleferiQo (from teleferico and Quito), or TeleferiQo Cruz Loma, is a gondola lift in Quito, Ecuador, running from the edge of the city centre up the east side of Pichincha Volcano to lookout Cruz Loma.It is one of the highest aerial lifts in the world, rising from 3,117 m (10,226 ft) to 3,945 m (12,943 ft).The ascent takes about eight minutes, traveling 2237 linear metres.
Cotopaxi National Park
. Cotopaxi National Park (Spanish Parque Nacional Cotopaxi) is a protected area in Ecuador situated in the Cotopaxi Province, Napo Province and Pichincha Province, roughly 50 km south of Quito.The Cotopaxi volcano (supposedly meaning smooth neck of the moon) that lends its name to the park is located within its boundaries, together with two others the dormant Ruminawi volcano to its north west and the historical Sincholagua volcano (last major eruption 1877) to the south east.Cotopaxi is among the highest active volcanoes in the world its last significant eruption took place in 1904.
Parque La Carolina
. Parque La Carolina is a 165.5 acre (670,000 m2) park in the centre of the Quito central business district, bordered by the avenues Rio Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, Eloy Alfaro, and de la Republica.This park started from the expropriation of the farm La Carolina in 1939. The design of the park was made by the Direccion Metropolitana de Planificacion Territorial (DMPT).Pope John Paul II headed a great Catholic mass in the park during his visit to Ecuador in 1985, and a giant Christian cross has been built in this place.
Cathedral of Quito
. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito (Spanish Catedral Metropolitana de Quito), known simply as la Catedral, is the Catholic cathedral in Quito, Ecuador.Located on the southwestern side of the Plaza de la Independencia (La Plaza Grande), it (and its predecessor building) served as a seat of the Diocese of Quito from 1545 until 1848 when it was elevated to Archdiocese.In 1995, it was elevated to the Cathedral of Ecuador, making it the seniormost Catholic church in the country.
Parque El Ejido
. Parque El Ejido is a park located along Avenue Patria in the Old Centre part of Quito, Ecuador.It is the third largest park in the city.Estadio El Ejido is located nearby.The park hosts exhibitions on the weekend.
. Vulqano Park is an amusement park in Quito, Ecuador.The park is part of a much larger entertainment complex named the TeleferiQo.
Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve
. Reserva Geobotanica Pululahua (Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve) is a protected area around Pululuhua Volcano in the north of Quito Canton, Pichincha Province, Ecuador.It is 17 km north of Quito, in the northwestern part of the Pomasqui Valley.
. Atacazo is a volcano of the Western Cordillera, southwest of Quito, Ecuador.It lies 25 kilometers south west of Quito.Southwest of Atacazo is another volcano known as Ninahuilca.The Atacazo is a stratovolcano.It was formed by the action of a Late Pleistocene to Holocene caldera.The last eruption of the Atacazo was nearly 2300 years ago.
. Ilalo is a volcano (eroded and no longer active) between San Pedro River to the west and Chiche River to the east, in Quito Canton, Pichincha Province, Ecuador.Ilalo is surrounded by the rural parishes Cumbaya, Tumbaco, La Merced and Alangasi.
. Cotopaxi is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft).The volcano has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, which starts at the height of 5,000 meters (16,400 ft).Its snow covered peak is clearly visible from Quito.Cotopaxi is also one of the highest active volcanoes in the world with more than 50 eruptions since 1738, although its present activity is limited to a few steam fumaroles.
Nariz del Diablo
. The Nariz del Diablo, or Devil Nose, describes the train line between the towns of Alausi and Sibambe.The track gets its name from the great cost of human life that it took to complete the train line.One of the most astounding engineering projects ever undertaken in the mountainous Andes, the stretch of track offers visitors sweeping panoramic views of the countryside.A series of switchbacks slowly takes the train up a steep ascent to Alausi.
. The small city of Banos lies at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua.Named after the hot springs fed by the thermal waters of the volcano, Banos is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ecuador.Known as the Gateway to the Amazon, Banos is a favorite departure point for jungle tours.Waterfalls cascading thousands of feet down deep river gorges attract sightseers as well.The thunderous Pailon de Diablo waterfall, surging over a gorge where the Rio Verde and Rio Pastaza meet, is the most impressive.
. Situated in the Amazon rainforest region of Ecuador, for tourists, Tena serves as a launching point for jungle adventures.Missionaries founded the town, and a cinnamon industry helped the city survive.The Tena River joins with the Masahualli River, and then with the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon.Adventure enthusiasts cite Tena as one of the best places in the world for whitewater rafting and kayaking.
. Ecuador southern coastal region boasts scenic shorelines and world famous beach resorts, including the popular Montanita.Montanita Town was a sleep fishing village until the international surfing community discovered the area exceptional surfing conditions.Montanita is known for its nightlife as well, with nightclubs, bars and cafes to entertain locals and visitors alike.
. The colonial city of Cuenca is the third largest in Ecuador, popular for its year round temperate climate.The New Cathedral of Cuenca, or Catedral Nueva, is the city most recognizable landmark.Construction of the church began in the late 1800s and continued for nearly a century.With a fa?ade crafted from alabaster and marble, the Catedral Nueva is most notable for the its three immense domes, each covered in blue glazed tile imported from Czechoslovakia.
. Part of the fun of traveling in Ecuador is exploring the handiwork crafted by local artisans, and there no better place to see and purchase local arts, crafts and clothing than at the markets in the small town of Otavalo.The city is known the world over for the handiwork of its indigenous people, the Otavalos.Every Saturday, in the city Plaza de Ponchos, a broad array of jewelry, wood and stone carvings and woven clothing are offered for sale.
San Francisco Church
. Located in Quito Old Town district, the Iglesia y Monesterio de San Francisco features several masterpieces, including a sculpture of a winged Holy Virgin by Legarda.Construction for the church began in 1550 on land where the palace of the Incan ruler Atahualpa once stood.The church complex is massive, covering nearly two blocks, and includes an adjoining museum.San Francisco Church and the surrounding Old Town area are considered one of the most important cultural centers in Latin America and are one of the main tourist attractions in Ecuador.
. The Galapagos Islands are a small archipelago of volcanic islands belonging to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean.The islands are quite remote and isolated, lying some 1000 km (620 miles) Ecuador.The Galapagos are world renowned for its unique ecosystem which was the inspiration for Charles Darwin Theory of Natural Selection.Giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and different bird species can all be seen and approached.Strict controls on tourist access are maintained in an effort to protect the natural habitats and all visitors must be accompanied by a national park certified naturalist tour guide.