THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM QUITO
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, a city full of culture, art and history, offers its visitors the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities. Quito has a number of attractions that can be explored in a day or two, but there is also a lot to see around Quito.
There are a variety of day trips that depart from Quito city to the Andean highlands. These exciting and short day adventures from Quito are a mix of knowledge and entertainment. From culture, gastronomy, history, nature, ways of life, relax and more.
Here are some fun day trips that you can enjoy in Ecuador.
QUITO HISTORIC CENTER – HALF OF THE WORLD
Your first must-see when you arrive in Quito is a visit to the Historic Center and the Half of the World.
This excursion will allow you to explore a truly unique experience in the heart of Quito. You will discover all the beauties of the oldest and best preserved Historic Center in Latin America.
Walk through the narrow streets visiting the most iconic architectural buildings such as; Church of La Compañia, San Francisco Square, Plaza Mayor, and at the same time visit the local workshop of Luis “Cruz Verde”. A well known artisan whose family has been preparing the local sweet “Colaciones” for the last 100 years keeping alive the tradition of Quito.
You will also get to know “La Mitad del Mundo”, experience standing in both hemispheres and learn more about the history of Ecuador. In addition, you will taste the delicious Ecuadorian gastronomy.
Otavalo city is located just two hours from Quito. Otavalo is well known for its handicraft market which is the most famous indigenous fair in South America.
In this town you will have plenty of time to stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets full of Otavalo Indians, wearing blue ponchos, white pants and long braided hair. And to explore its handicraft market, with its wonderful weavings, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and much more at bargain prices.
In this town you will also have the opportunity to be part of a sustainable project run by women, called Sacha Warmi, located in Pijal. Here you will experience an unforgettable cultural encounter, immersing yourself in the true spirit of South American women and their weaving skills. You’ill also enjoy a tasty traditional lunch in which the local women have used fresh products from the surrounding organic fields.
So for sure this day tour will leave you amazed and even more eager to continue touring Ecuador.
QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE
This full day excursion will give you the opportunity to get to know one of the jewels of Ecuador, the Quilotoa Lagoon. The tour begins with a visit to a local indigenous market in Saquisili.
Then head to the famous turquoise lagoon. The tour includes a hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon, a shimmering emerald lake inside the crater of the dormant volcano. The return hike lasts one hour.
As you hike you will witness the breathtaking scenery and unique natural beauty. Don’t miss the opportunity to take this day tour and leave with the best pictures of your life.
COTOPAXI VOLCANO EXPEDITION
South of Quito rises the imposing Cotopaxi, with a height of 5,897 meters above sea level, it is the highest active volcano in the world and the second highest in Ecuador. Located in the province of the same name, it is within the Cotopaxi National Park. This protected area is home to abundant plant life, rich fauna and Inca ruins.
The visit will begin at the natural history museum, and then make the ascent of the mountain to the parking lot at 4500 meters. From here, a short hike of 45 minutes takes us to the refuge. Descending again from the ” refuge”, we will drive across the paramo to Limpiopungo Lake. On a short walk around the lake, we will be able to observe a great variety of birds and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
You can check more details of the tour on our website.
PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS
The Papallacta excursion from Quito is one of the most relaxing and gratifying. The first stop will be the Papallacta Lagoon, located in the Paramo vegetation, with a cold climate but with beautiful landscapes.
Then you will visit the famous hot springs and the tourist complex “Termas de Papallacta” where you can take short hikes. Here the guide will explain the richness of this ecosystem called Cloud Forest, along the trail you can find orchids and colorful birds. Later you will have some time to soak in the volcanic pools and take some optional treatments at the Spa before returning to Quito.
Northeast of Quito lies the Mindo cloud forest, a place teeming with amazing plant and animal life, perfect for a day trip. For those ornithologists, Mindo is a birding paradise.
This day tour in Mindo’s cloud forest is a true day of adventure in the wilderness. It can include everything from exploring an archaeological site, walking through a collection of wild orchids and visiting a beautiful waterfall in the jungle.
Another highlight of the place is the butterfly farm, where you can observe gigantic and colorful butterflies.
You can also practice the aquatic activity tubing or try the zip line (navigate one of the 13 zip lines over the beautiful treetops of the cloud forest). And many more activities. You can’t miss this one day experience in the Mindo cloud forest.
As you read our day tours departing from Quito are varied and itineraries can be customized. Contact us and let us know your preferences and interests so you can enjoy a unique day excursion.