Welcome to Ecuador! You will be met after passing through customs and immigration and transferred to Casa Gongotena for overnight.
On the morning of day 2 your private guide will pick up for a full day exploration of Quito. You will begin with a scenic drive around the residential part of Quito, passing several of the city’s beautiful parks and modern cultural highlights. Then head to the old city center to begin a walking tour that will take you to the highlights of Quito’s beautiful colonial town, including Plaza de la Independencia, also known as Plaza Grande, the heart of Quito’s old town, and La Compañia, regarded by many as the most beautiful church in Latin America. Only two blocks away is San Francisco, another 16th century church. Although far less lavish than its neighbor, San Francisco is notable for its beautiful plaza and the Spanish architecture of its adjacent monastery, which we enter and tour briefly.
After visiting a few more sites, you will drive up to the Panecillo to enjoy a panoramic view of Quito and view the famous “Virgen de Quito” statue. Make a quick stop at a fair trade artisan shop for souvenir shopping before heading 30 kilometers north of the city to the Equatorial City Complex, a collection of monuments and museums built around Latitude Zero. Here visit the complex called Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, with its main attraction the Equatorial Monument. As well, you will be able to stand on the “real equatorial line” and do all sorts of magical equator-like things such as balancing an egg on the head of a nail, do a strength test trying not to fall sideways as you attempt to walk the line with your eyes closed, see how the Coriolis effect works in both hemispheres, and many more. Late this afternoon you will return to Casa Gangotena for overnight.