Nestled along the eastern slope of Pichincha, an active volcano with two accessible peaks, Guagua and Rucu, Quito is Ecuador's capital city and home to 1.5 million people. Quito is also known as the capital city to the Union of South American Nations, making it an particularly important city involved in government issues and policies of all types.
Quito is located within about one kilometer of the equator and a small monument marks the approximate position of this. Being so close to the equator, the climate of Quito is beautiful year round with temperatures hovering around 17 – 19 C or 65 – 67 F. Precipitation is heaviest during the winter months with around 30” of rainfall expected each year. This near perfect weather beckons tourists and travelers year round to come and explore the lush nature surrounding the city of Quito as well as the quaint and diverse neighborhoods of the city.
To help travelers navigate the city an extensive but easy to navigate public transportation system is available. A train system is available for use as well, but mainly draws tourists and is not as extensive or convenient as the public transportation system. Taxis and other shuttles are readily available for citizens and tourists and are easy to hail in the city if a call cannot be made. An international airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, is available for travelers and connects to New York City, Miami, Houston, and Atlanta to make North American travel to Quito, Ecuador easy.
For day trips around Quito, various national parks and forests cater to the out of county visitor and offer a one of a kind experience within the tropical jungles and forests that surround the beautiful city. An activity that is quite popular is taking the gondola lift known as El TeleferiQo, one of the highest lifts in the world. This gondola takes the tourist from an amusement park located along the edge of the city up to Cruz Loma, a lookout station. The summit offers it's own set of shops and destinations to the tourist. This summit is a great place for taking pictures of the city below as well as the surrounding scenery of the mountains and volcano.
There are many historical sites in Quito that are well worth seeing. Many tours are available for travelers and most can be arranged bi-lingually for English speakers. With a rich Roman Catholic background, there are many old churches and religious statues and fountains found throughout the city.
There are also several yearly events that take place in Quito, Ecuador that might entice the traveler who does not mind larger crowds. The Easter celebration is not to be missed with an elaborate Good Friday parade that features many members of the town. November and December bring the annual bullfighting fair to Quito and offer spectacular shows to all who attend. Bringing a large number of international guests, the Zero Latitude Film Festival is a popular activity for locals and guests alike. This festival shows mostly short films made by students and independent companies.
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