Quito is a city full of gorgeous views. Since you can’t walk more than a few blocks in this UNESCO World Heritage city without going up or down hill, that means that if you follow some of these hills to their peaks, you’ll be rewarded with some excellent Quito views.
During our week in Quito, we sought out as many viewpoints as we could, and here we’ve compiled our top three, in reverse order.
#3 TeleferiQo, La Comuna Alta
Probably the best known place in Quito to get a view over the city is on the side of Pichincha volcano, which can be reached by the TeleferiQo, a cable car that ascends 2.5km above the city, reaching 4053 metres above sea level, so don’t go on your first day in the city if you’ve arrived from sea level!
The problem with being so high is that you’re likely to be above the cloud cover, unless you go on a perfectly clear day. Unfortunately, we didn’t, and so once we got out of the cable car, we saw mostly just clouds. The landscape was quite stunning, though.
If the cloud does clear, as it did very briefly for us, you can see all the way to the new airport. But not in this shot!
Details: Foursquare; $8 for a return ride
#2 El Panecillo, Panecillo
Just south of the historical centre of Quito is a hill with a statue of the Virgin atop, which is visible from most parts of the old town. In the base of the statue is a small chapel, and for $1, you can climb up to the feet of the statue.
To get great views over the city, you needn’t climb the statue though, as there is plenty of open space around the top of the hill for unobstructed views.
And looking away from the centre of the city, you realise just how green the surrounding countryside is.
Details: Foursquare; free entry (but you might want to take a taxi up there to save your breath, which should cost around $3 and take 10 minutes from the historical centre.)
#1 Centro Deportivo, San Juan
I found that the best views of Quito were from the most unsuspecting place in the city: the area around a sports centre about seven blocks north-west of the Basilica, uphill. To get there from the Basilica, follow Calle Carchi five blocks north-west, then turn left on to Calle Nueva York. At the end of the street, climb the two flights of steps to a pedestrian bridge and then follow the path through the playground up and to the right above the playground. On your left with be the sports centre through a fence, and on your right is a restaurant overlooking the city. This is the view you’ll get once you pass the restaurant.
And you’ll be able to see the Basilica where you started and the mountains in the background if it’s a clear day.
Sunset is a wonderful time to come up here, especially if there are just a few clouds in the sky. This is the panoramic view from the area before passing the restaurant, with El Panecillo clearly visible on the right.
Details: you could take a taxi to the end of Calle Nueva York from the Basilica to save yourself the heart-pounding effort, and it should cost around $1.50.
Below is a map showing the locations of these three viewpoints. Click on the blue pins to see the names.
View Quito Views in a larger map
What is your favourite view of Quito or any other city, hilly or otherwise?