Quito is the kind of place that takes awhile to appreciate its charms. We had been warned that Quito was a dangerous place and so were wary visiting it. However, it has proven to be very charismatic as long as you use your street sense.
Quito is at an altitude of 2800 metres and so takes some getting used to. While we huffed and puffed our way around the city, the locals cruised around with ease.
One of the best things to check out in Quito is the Basilicia del Voto Nacional. It's an enormous gothic church built in the early 1900's and you're permitted to climb to the tops of the steeples (open stairways hundreds of feet up...liability?....pshaw!).
The Basilicia itself has a very ominous feeling with its gothic facade. However, the views were well worth the trek up the stairways.
Another surprising thing about Quito is that they have a fair amount of downtown space dedicated to green spaces. This is a very good thing as the air quality is so poor in this city that it rivals Hong Kong. Your lungs hurt after two days in this place.
Just a few kilometres outside Quito is the official Equator line. Although it may seem a bit silly, it was really cool to stand on each side of the hemispheres.
The visitor's centre had lots of scientific experiments to play with to show the effects of the magnetic fields at the Equator. The best one was balancing an egg on the top of a nail to show the central pull of the Equator which was very cool!
The people in Quito are quite guarded which is a big change from Colombia. That said, once you break through their guard they are a happy folk.
We've spent a few days in Quito chilling out in the city and checking out options for visiting the Amazon Jungle. We've found a great ecolodge to visit in the Cuyabeno Reserve and so will be heading into the jungle for a week to experience the chaos of the Amazon. It should be amazing!