GTAT-02 – QUITO
Colonial City Tour
Half Day Tour – Private
For this tour, we explore the colonial heart of Quito walking down quaint, cobbled streets that are lined with gorgeous, brightly-colored colonial houses. Each home is roofed in old tiles with balconies dressed in flowers, watched over by the winged Virgin of Quito, who sits up on the ‘Panecillo.’ The ‘Panecillo,’ so named for its bread-like shape, is a parasitic crater formed by magma from Pichincha Volcano.
From here we continue along Benalcazar Street, past the house of conqueror Sebastian de Benalcazar, and onto Garcia Moreno Street. This street, also known as the Calle de las Siete Cruces (street of the seven crosses), was an Incan route to the Panecillo, a hill thought to have been a center of worship to the sun and moon gods.
This Incan avenue was transformed into a street that was heavily influenced by Christianity when the Spanish arrived in Quito. They erected seven crosses along the path, so as to make the indigenous people believe in the Catholic God. Our tour will journey along this street to the Plaza de la Independencia.
On the south end of the square lies one of the oldest cathedrals in South America and the sacred heart of the city: The Cathedral of Quito, an impressive white-walled building with green-glazed ceramic domes. A few buildings up, we find the incomparable Church of La Compañia, a Jesuit church overflowing with Baroque art, its tragic history covered in gold to conceal the devastating fire and earthquake that shook it. (Please note that the church is closed on Sundays.)
The great Plaza de San Francisco and its church have been a center of activity since pre-Incan times, when the square was the Tianguez (main marketplace). We will search for the mythical stone of Cantuñas legend in the church’s vestibule and visit the museum, which houses four thousand pieces, including sculptures and oil paintings from the Escuela Quiteña.
After this, we will enjoy a snack at Café Tianguez, and then walk to “La Ronda.” One of the first streets of the city, it is known for the artisan workshops and restaurants located there. After La Ronda, we will go to one of the viewpoints of Quito, El Panecillo Hill. This will give us the opportunity to view all the colonial sites and take some pictures. Finally, we conclude the tour and return to your hotel.