1 Day In Quito: Free Walking Tour In Quito Old Town
I always try to fit as much in a day as I possibly can, especially while traveling. I want to see it all and then move on to the next adventure. So with 1 day to explore Quito I decided a free walking tour in Old Town Quito was the way to go! I spent all morning and afternoon of my first day in Ecuador exploring the capital's streets and historical monuments. A travel adventure company, Ecuatraveling, that helped plan my time in Quito sent me on a walking tour in Quito. Though I typically avoid super touristy things, the walking tour, organized through Community Adventures, ended up being informative. One day in Quito is more than enough to get a good feel for the city and take beautiful photos that show off the city's colonial atheistic appeal in and around Old Town Quito! So here's what you'll see!
Plaza Grande is considered the main square in Quito around which the rest of the city was built. If you're in Quito on a Monday, you'll have the pleasure of seeing the celebratory procession during the raising of the flag. Ecuador's president with other government officials come onto the palace balcony while the crowd, big and loud, waves. (Remember to remove your hat while the flag is raised during the national anthem.) The president is disabled and in a wheelchair so it's hard to miss him. He is also the first president to not live in the palace, because as he says, "I am not royalty." Gotta respect a man like that! Take in the excitement of Plaza Grande and enjoy it for the cultural experience it is.
Santo Domingo Church
Like many of the gorgeous churches in this city. See featured image above for the photo ops!
Metropolitan Cultural Center (The MET)
The Metropolitan Cultural Center is what you'd expect from a city center museum. I didn't stay long because dogs are not permitted. But the design was pretty!
La Compania Church
The Catholic Church, grand in its stature, is covered in gold. My tour guide informed us that Wikipedia says the church has over 7 tons of gold, but it's more like 65 kilograms of gold. The church took nearly 150 years to build—from 1605-1765. A $5 entry lets you explore the church daily from 9a-530pm. On the last Sunday of the month, it's free to enter.
Old Building of the Central Bank of Ecuador
On the steps of the Centran Bank of Ecuador, I learned all about Ecuador's controversial, troubled economic history. A past president, who was a Harvard Business Grad, even embezzled millions of dollars of Ecuadorians' hard-earned money. Today, the entire country runs off the US dollar, which makes traveling that much easier for Americans. No need to exchange currency.
San Francisco Church
The picturesque architecture and artistry vibe of La Ronda will immediately draw you in. Filled with colonial homes, restaurants, and stores, this neighborhood's narrow, colorful streets are a must if in Quito.
Seeing Ecuador's president, world famous colonial churches, the picturesque neighborhood streets—not bad for a day's work!
If you want to join a walking tour in Quito, check out Community Adventures. They organize tours Monday through Saturday at 10:30am and 2:30pm. Did I mention it's FREE?! (Not a sponsored post; I just think it's a great resource for fellow travelers!)