Quito, Ecuador

Following an almighty spruce-up in the mid-noughties, Quito’s old town is back to its colonial splendour of grand churches, colourful houses and buzzy little plazas. Take in the Museo de Arte Colonial, Plaza Grande and Monastery of San Francisco, then head to the vibrant Mariscal Sucre in the new town, the city’s hub of dining and drinking.

When to go

The altitude keeps temperatures to a pleasant low 20s centigrade all year round. Winter is cooler and dry, and runs from June to September. Summer is from December to March and brings a few showers.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Mariscal Sucre International Airport (www.aeropuertoquito.aero) is an hour’s drive from the centre of town. There are direct flights from Miami (American Airlines), Atlanta (Delta), Madrid (Iberia), Amsterdam (KLM) and several South American airlines.
  • Trains

    Following a $280 million investment, Ecuador’s train network (http://trenecuador.com/en/) has risen from the near dead, with a cross-Andean service that takes in spectacular scenery (and has some very pretty steam trains).
  • Automobiles

    A car is not required, or particularly easy to manoeuvre around these narrow, cobbled streets. The old town is great to cover on foot.
  • Taxis

    Licensed taxis can be hailed from the street, or book in advance with www.easytaxi.com/ec.