Few cities have a setting to match that of Quito, nestling between Andean volcanoes at an altitude of 10,000 feet, it really is worth spending a few nights here. We recommend having 24 hours on arrival to acclimatise. It is an amazing city geographically as it is only 2-3 miles wide and 20 miles long. Old Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 and is the ideal base to explore the city and surrounding area. It abounds with cobblestone streets, parks, plazas, wonderful old colonial architecture and a good choice of small colonial style hotels.
The city is ideally situated for exploring the highlights of Ecuador; you can head north to Otavalo, west to the Mindo Cloud Forests, east to the Amazon, and south to the Avenue of Volcanoes. Nine miles north of Quito is La Mitad del Mundo, the centre of the Earth. Here you can walk the equatorial line and have your photograph taken with one leg in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere! Quito offers an array of hotels, we tend to recommend staying in the historical part of the city but the modern area also has some good options.