Quito is Ecuador’s capital and also its cultural centre. Cinemas, theatres, cafés, restaurants, galleries and museums make up a growing cultural scene that insufflates fresh air into the quiteño’s spirits. During your stay at Casa Gangotena, you will have a first-hand cultural experience of Quito’s colonial history. There is no better situated hotel in Quito for something like this. To compliment this historical experience, we encourage guests to visit some of its most prominent museums. Submerge yourself in modern art, archaeology, religious art and ethnography to get a wholesome perspective of this country’s background and its artistic potential. Here is our list of the best 10 museums in Quito Part 1. So take out your map, put on your most comfortable shoes and enjoy!
The 10 best Museums in Quito Part 1
1. Museo Casa del Alabado
Price: $4 adults, $1 senior citizens and children
Hours: Monday through Sunday and holidays (except Wednesdays): 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays: 13:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Address: Cuenca N1-41 and Bolivar
This museum, located across the street from Casa Gangotena, holds a permanent exhibit of more than 600 Ecuadorian pre-Columbian objects and artifacts. Visitors travel through the indigenous cosmogony in this carefully curated exhibit that shows as much artistic beauty and craftsmanship as it does religious and cultural idiosyncrasy.
2. Museo de la Ciudad
Price: $3 adults, $1 senior citizens and children
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Free entrance on last Saturday of every month.
Address: Garcia Moreno S1-47 and Rocafuerte. Bulevar 24 de Mayo and Garcia Moreno
This museum – located on what used to be Quito’s oldest public building, the city’s first hospital – tells the history of the capital. Who were its first inhabitants? What happened after the arrival of the Incas and how life changed with the Spanish conquest? The comings and goings of the inhabitants of Quito during the colony, its fight for independence from the Spanish monarchy, and its first steps as a democratic republic. All these questions will be answered through the museums’ interactive exhibit.
3. Capilla del Hombre and Casa-Museo Guayasamin
Price: $8 adults, $4 senior citizens, children below 12 go in free of charge
Hours: Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on holidays
Address: Mariano Calvache E18-94 y Lorenzo Chavez. Bellavista
The Capilla del Hombre Museum is a cultural space conceived by iconic Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. The Capilla (or chapel) is the main building of the Guayasamin Foundation, and it was finished in 2002, three years after the master’s death. It is home to some of his most important paintings, statues and murals, and is located in the same space as Guayasamin’s home and workshop; now also a museum and an archeological site that was discovered on the day of his death. Guayasamin is famous for the strong focus he puts into his painting’s subjects, often representative of the indigenous struggles and social injustices against which he was a strong advocate. Submerge yourself in the life of one of Ecuador’s most famous artists and enjoy one of the best views in town.
TRAVELER’S TIP: ask your hotel to arrange transportation for you or get a taxi. The museum is located in the northern part of the city at the top of a hill that will feel challenging for those not used to high altitudes.
4. Centro Cultural Metropolitano (CCMQ)
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 13:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays
Address: Garcia Moreno 887 y Espejo
At just walking distance from Casa Gangotena you will find the Centro Cultural Metropolitano, one of Quito’s finest museums. The space is located in front of Ecuador’s Presidential House – Carondelet Palace – and is home to the country’s only wax museum (Alberto Mena Caamaño Museum) and temporary exhibits. Usually it’s the temporary exhibitions that absorb all the attention, as the museum’s curators do a great job in bringing internationally acclaimed shows and organize retrospectives of Ecuadorian and Latin American art. Visitors might observe a big contrasts between the wax museum inaugurated in the year 1959, and the modern art of the exhibits. However, the physical space of the museum as a whole manages to harmoniously transition between the old colonial architecture of the original building and the modern renovations of its main inner patio.
5. Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC)
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Weekends: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays
Address: Montevideo and Luis Davila (Old Military Hospital) San Juan neighbourhood
Built in Quito’s old military hospital, the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo overlooks the modern part of town as well as its colonial neighbourhood. The renovated building keeps its original restored inner patios alongside modern halls and spaces, and acts both as a museum and a civic centre. It has an active agenda that shows solo exhibits, collaborative shows, theatre plays, concerts, and a recently-opened music bar on its ground floor where visitors can go for a coffee or cold beverage in the evenings. Enjoy the fantastic view of the Basilica and Panecillo before heading in.