At 2,850 meters above sea level (masl) and on the slopes of Rucu Pichincha, San Francisco de Quito nestles between mountains. Its geographical location not only makes it the second highest capital in the world, after La Paz – Bolivia,it is also a natural viewpoint par excellence, thanks to its geographi callocation.
To observe the colonial Quito, full of religiosity and history, it is enough to visit the viewpoints that its low elevations such as El Panecillo or It chimbía offer, to appreciate the prolonged growth towards the south and north ends, the view from Cruz Loma is privileged, after climb in one of the touris tattractions of the capital: the Cable Car.
And although from El Panecillo (3,000 masl) and Itchimbía (2,910 masl) several elevations of the Inter-Andean alley are visible, there is no more beautiful place to recreate the view of a part of the Andes than the Rucu summit (old, in Kichwa) , at 4,696 meters above sea level.
Quito, the capital of postcards, paradoxes and chaos
From the Rucu, elevation that is also a must for the mountaineers of the capital as beginners or to maintain the height, as the mountaineer and climber Diego Quinchimbla says, you can go over the peaks of more than fifteen elevations.
Covered with snow or rocky colors and with a clear sky, mountains like Cayambe, Sincholagua, Los lllinizas, Cotopaxi, Puntas, Chimborazo and Carihuairazo, among others, are visible.
The Panecillo is a viewpoint that has one of the most representative sculptures of Quito: the winged Virgin, from whose balcony you can see the north and south.In December, the site becomes Christmas because the Municipality of thedistrict builds metallic figures that light up at night and recreate the birth of Jesus.
El Panecillo became a more touristic place since the location of food places for high and low budgets was allowed, as in It chimbía, where there is also a glassstructure used for events.
The gastronomic offer in It chimbía includes typical dishes of the mountains, the canelazo and is combined with large glass walls in its restaurants that allow to observe in detail the tile houses, the streets structured in standardized ized blocks and the domes, illuminated in the night, of most churches, located in the center of Quito.
If thenight view is spectacular, touring the colonial style streets is a magical experience, especially at night, neighborhoods such as La Ronda or San Blashave become fun spots with bars, clubs and restaurants. When leaving, the walkers can enjoy the silence in illuminated and empty streets, which allows to do a historical route, because in several houses of the center there are explanatory plaques of the people who lived or the events that took place there.
María Dolores Alcívar, who lives in Quito for professional reasons several months ago, says that the Historic Center seems “incredible.” “Walking through these streets is like being in an old movie, going to museums, tochurches with their bell towers, they transport you to the past,” added Alcívar.
Attractions of the rural parishes of the capital
The Metropolitan District of Quito has 33 rural parishes that, because of the climate and varied geographic location, allow to enjoy diversity in gastronomy,landscapes and traditional activities, at different times of the year.
In El Quinche there are traditional walks to visit the Virgin in November, in Guayllabamba the closest zoo to the capital, where you can see the mostre presentative Andean bird: the condor (kuntuk, in Kichwa).
Alangasi with his devils, a tradition that takes place in April for Easter. Pifo,surrounded by moors where you can camp, fish and do other sports.
If the intention is to change the cold climate of Quito, the valleys are minutes away,there are the parishes of Cumbayá, Tumbaco and La Merced, with thermal water complexes, in Los Chillos. On the northwestern side, the climate is also warm:Nangal, Pacto, Nanegal, Nanegalito and others with waterfalls, rivers and unique landscapes that invite hiking and rafting. (I)