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Quito, Ecuador

Quito & Northern Highlands

Capital culture, high in the Andes


Perched high in the Andes, Quito, pairs a UNESCO World Heritage old town with a wealth of superb restaurants and museums. To the north in a region of volcano-framed valleys, you'll find the traditional highland town of Otavalo, a focal point for indigenous handicrafts, made by artisans then sold at colourful weekend markets.


The historic quarter of Ecuador's capital is a treasure chest of Spanish-colonial architecture framing a maze of cobblestone streets and picturesque squares. Grand churches, filled with precious art, pierce an otherwise low-rise skyline, which is itself punctuated by a ring of towering Andean peaks. If this is your arrival point, as it will be for most visitors, you'll be flying in to an altitude of almost 3,000 metres above sea level, so take time to acclimatise before heading out to explore. 

Northern Highlands

Just to the north of Quito is a world of green valleys and towering volcanoes. Nestled amid this spectacular landscape is Otavalo, whose mainly indigenous population has turned the town into a centre for traditional arts and crafts. The weekend market – housed in a building designed by 1970s Dutch architect Tonny Zwolo – is an extraordinarily colourful affair, where everything from textiles to jewellery to musical instruments are sold by local artisans dressed from head to toe in the traditional clothing. Combine a visit here with a tour to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo – Ecuador's Equator Monument.


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Top itineraries in Quito & Northern Highlands

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Mashpi Lodge & the Galápagos Islands

12-day tailor-made holiday from £7,795 pp incl. flights

Combine the history of Quito and the unique biodiversity of the Amazon with perhaps the ultimate in wildlife-watching experiences – a luxury Galápagos cruise.

Isabela Island

Quito, Otavalo & Galápagos Island Hopping‬‬

12-day tailor-made holiday from £6,770 pp incl. flights

This is a comprehensive appreciation of the Galápagos’ natural world, taking in its spectacular scenery and wildlife on a range of guided excursions. You’ll also have time to explore Ecuador’s colonial heritage and indigenous culture.

Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

Grand Tour of Ecuador & the Galápagos

17-day tailor-made holiday from £9,710 pp incl. flights

Straddling the equator, mainland Ecuador hosts colonial cities, beautiful haciendas, towering volcanoes and green, steamy jungles. Combined with the incredible diversity of nature that can only be found on the Galápagos, it's a truly compelling destination.

Turtle in Galapagos

Amazon cruise and The Galápagos Islands

14-day tailor-made holiday from £10,665 pp incl. flights

This adventure-packed holiday takes in two of Ecuador's wildlife hotspots – the Amazon Rainforest and the Galápagos Islands. Explore it all with expert-led tours and a pair of luxury cruises.

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Top places to stay in Quito & Northern Highlands

Terrace, Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador

Casa Gangotena, Quito

Historic hotel

Forming part of Quito's cultural inventory, Casa Gangotena is a historic hotel situated on Plaza San Francisco – Quito's main square, once home to several Inca temples.

Quito & Northern Highlands articles

Seal in the Galápagos

Trip report: Ecuador and the Galápagos

Galápagos specialist Debbie Mayger recently visited the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador's capital, Quito. Read her review of both for some honest insight into the accommodation, facilities and overall experience, as well as her advice for anybody thinking about going to visit.

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Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0692 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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