The Ecuadorian capital Quito is an interesting and original city. The colonial architecture is fully preserved here, and the customs of the indigenous population are intricately intertwined with the Spanish traditions brought here by the conquistadors. However, it is necessary to hang around with caution. Latin America isn’t famous for security, as well as the capital of Ecuador, some areas of which aren’t safe to visit.
Top facts about Quito
- It’s one of the highest capitals in the world. Its center lies at an altitude of almost 9800 feet (3 km) above sea level.
- The climate in Quito is smooth and mild, without colds or extreme heat. In addition, there is no change in seasons. A warm summer reigns here all year round.
- The capital was named in honor of the Indian tribe Kitu who lived on this land in past. Most of the population of Quito are descendants of mixed marriages between Kitu and the Spaniards.
- The streets of Quito are quite dangerous, not for foreigners only but for locals also. There are enough districts you would better not visit even during the daytime.
- Siesta, the hottest time of the day, from noon to 2-3 hours, is a dangerous time also. Empty streets become unsafe because locals stay somewhere where they can run an air conditioner.
- About 4 times fewer people live in Quito than in New York City.
- There are very well-thought-out bus lines here. Buses go on separate lanes without interfering with other cars and carry passengers continuously.
- According to the latest census, about 96% of Quito residents are literate. Not bad 🙂
- This is really an ancient city, it is older than most European capitals. The city here appeared more than 3 thousand years ago, it was the capital of the indigenous state of Kitu.
- The first Latin American national Observatory was built in Quito in the 19th century.
- The Church of San Francisco located here is the largest building built by the Spanish conquistadors in South America.
- An active volcano called Pichincha is located not far away from Quito. You can get to the top of it directly from the city by cable car. Passengers are transported in cable cars at an altitude of about 4.1 km (13,450 feet).
- Nature here is not as diverse as in Ecuador as a whole. The reason lies in the soil impregnated with alkalis, it is a consequence of volcanic eruptions.
- Authorities of Quito promote bicycles as an affordable and environmentally friendly transport actively, but success is poor for one simple reason: we all know that bikes can be stolen much easier than any other transport 🙂
- You can see people playing football on every street and in every yard in Quito.
- Locals always look at foreigners with interest, but most of the Ecuadorians are very friendly, and they are just interested in rare guests here from Europe or the United States. Anyway, you’d better remember that tourists are always a priority for robbers.
- Local residents never carry valuables or large sums of money, even wealthy ones. And you can imagine why.
- Quito was one of the first cities in the world to be fully recognized by the UNESCO world cultural heritage.