Ecuador, 256,370 square kilometers in size, is geographically divided into four regions (the Amazon, the Highlands, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands). Falling on both sides of the equator, Ecuador has territories in both the northern and southern hemispheres and is one the planet’s top 17 most biologically diverse nations. With ecosystems existing from sea level to an altitude of approximately 6400m, Ecuador is home to rain forests, jungles, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. One of its main attractions is the Galapagos Archipelago and its marine reserve, which contain species unique to the area.
The country has a population of more than 12.6 million, most
of whom speak the country's official language, Spanish.
Over 90% of the population is
Roman Catholic but many communities still preserve their ancient
beliefs in the worship of nature.
Maps Satellite View of Quito
Entry on Quito
American Explorers Quito / Ecuador
Foreign Office Ecuador Advice
State Department advice on Ecuador
Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and the second highest capital
in the world at 2,850m above sea level. It is Ecuador's second
most populated city after Guayaquil and is located in
northern Ecuador, about 25 km south of the equator, on the
eastern slopes of the Pichincha (4,794 m), an active volcano
in the Andes mountains.
Due to its altitude and location, the climate in Quito is
mild to cool, fairly constant all year round, with highs of
around 20°C on any given day,
and lows of around 10°C
at night. The city experiences only two seasons: summer (the
dry season, June-August) and winter (the rainy season).
here for size
Points of Interest in Quito
In this section:
Quito has several museums dedicated to Colonial art and history
including the City Museum, the Metropolitan Cultural Center
and the Museum of the Convent of St Francis, all located in
In New Town, The Museo del Banco Central is another
renowned museum - a showcase of Ecuadorian art,
history and culture which includes an extensive collection
of pre-colonial (including pre-Incaic) potteries, sculptures,
gold and lithics; Colonial art
and contemporary Ecuadorian artists.
Quito has numerous parks thoughout the city covering a combined area of over 6km² (as a reference, New York's huge Central
Park is 3.4 km²).
You can join Quiteños
as they walk, hike, run or bike in the eucalyptus forests
of Parque Metropolitano; enjoy a game of fútbol,
básket or ecua-volley in Parque La Carolina or peruse the wide
variety of arts and handicrafts available for sale at the open-air
market held every weekend in Parque El Ejido. You can even visit
the oldest astronomical observatory in South America, located
in the middle of La Alameda park.
The "centro histórico", historical center, was appointed as
the first UNESCO
World Heritage Site in 1978. Old Town is home
to many appealing plazas and manierist and baroque
churches, including the convent and church of St. Francis
(the largest building of the Colonial era built by the Spaniards
in South America); the church of El Sagrario, the convent
and churches of Santo Domingo and of the Society of Jesus,
or "La Compañía."
Stroll the streets and soak up the surrounding colonial architecture.
La Virgen del Panecillo
In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras
was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to
build a 41 m tall aluminum monument of a madonna to be assembled
on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo, a hill overlooking
all of Quito. The monument was inaugurated on
March 28, 1976, by the 11th archbishop of Quito, Pablo Muñoz
The people of Quito proudly
claim that their virigin is the only one in the world with
wings like an angel. The monument was inspired by the famous "Virgen
de Quito" (Quito's Madonna) also known as "the dancer", sculpted
by Bernardo de Legarda in 1734, which now decorates the main
altar at the Church of St. Francisco.
Telefériqo (cable car)
Quito's cable car, known as the "Telefériqo,"
travels from the city center to the hill known as Cruz Loma
on the east side of the Pichincha volcano. The ride takes
visitors to an altitude of about 4100 m and to a number
of restaurants, coffee shops and stores in addition to numerous
Besides the cable car to Cruz Loma, the Telefériqo also houses an amusement park (Vulqano
Park), restaurants, Go Karting, Paint Ball, shopping malls and other attractions.
Mitad del Mundo
La Mitad del Mundo or 'the middle of the world' is located
aproximately 35 km north of Quito, on the equator, where visitors
can find a monument and historical museum,
in addition to a planetarium, various exhibits, and shops.
Pululahua is a volcano not far from La Mitad del Mundo, with
a caldera or crater visible from a spot easily accessible by
See our Friends of the School Page for links to other sites
about Quito and Ecuador.