The capital city of Ecuador
Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is located in a valley flanked by majestic mountains. At approximately 2,850 meters and despite the fact that it is only 22 km south of the Equator line Quito has a wonderful spring like climate. In1978 UNESCO declared Quito’s colonial center a World Cultural Heritage site due to the beauty of its churches, monuments, cobbled stone streets and museums.
The Presidential Palace, which boasts decorative iron balconies that once adorned the Tuileries in Paris as well as a mosaic mural painted by Oswaldo Guayasamin, (Ecuadorian master painter of indigenous origin) and the Merced Basílica (1737) with its pictorial works from Miguel de Santiago and its wood-carved altar by Bernardo de Legarda can be visited while in Quito.
It all concludes in a magic blending of indigenous and European cultures, to be found no other place in the world.
To the North, the modern city of Quito has been emerged with large shopping malls, modern buildings and avenues, local and international restaurants, movies and entertainment places are all part of this newly developed area of Quito,
Pacific Coast Villages & Beaches
Guayaquil, is the most important port in Ecuador and is considered the Economic Capital of the country.
Even though this is a very modern city, a glimpse back into the colonial times of Guayaquil is possible by visiting the colonial neighborhood of Las Peñas. Its wooden houses and narrow cobble stone streets are the most relevant in this part of the city.
Other interesting sites in the center are: The Centenario Plaza, The Art Theatre Centre, Churches (Santo Domingo, La Merced, San Agustín and San Francisco), Museums (Municipal Museum, Anthropological Museum and Museum Nahim Issaias) among others, holding some of the biggest collections of religious art in the country. Guayaquil has many interesting places to visit and after only a few hours drive, there are some beautiful beaches to enjoy and partake in the local water sports.
“Atenas of Ecuador”
Cuenca is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Ecuador and is crossed by four rivers. Authentic colonial architecture displayed in the churches (like its red marbled cathedral), buildings, houses that conserve the colonial Spanish-style is a must see.
Cuenca is a town that is enclosed by a pacific environment full of charm and elegance. Cuenca is also well admired for its finest ceramic handicrafts, straw hats (Panama Hats), silver & gold jewelry.
For its charming historical center, the churches, the small cobbled streets and colonial houses with noble facades, prim balustrades, wrought iron balconies and red tiled roofs, it was declared as World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1999.
The impressive churches in the old center are dating back to the 16th to 17th century and if you believe it, or not, this is the city of churches with 52 churches, one for every Sunday! Being in the historical center, you might get the impression that time has stood still.