Cultural Tour of Quito | First UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Basilica of National Vow in downtown Quito.

Amazing view of Basilica of National Vow in Quito’s old town.

Discover the breathtaking secrets of Quito through this unique Cultural Tour!

Cultural Tour of Quito Information

A tour dedicated to exploring the lives, beliefs, cuisine, and traditions of Old Town Quito, the first city named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, and a revelation to all who visit it. The tour is all about ‘living Quito like a local’, visiting shops, exploring markets, meeting local herbal healers, wandering the streets, learning skills from artisans, and enjoying a lunch of great Ecuadorian cooking at the sophisticated Casa Gangotena hotel.

Itinerary Description

We head out for a walking tour of the Old Town, intent on understanding more about the people who live in the largest and best-restored historical center in the Americas. We begin by meeting our local resident guide, part of a grassroots NGO organization that has created a walking tour of its Quito neighborhood, called San Roque. The guide takes us through the nearby streets, stopping to meet artisans, shopkeepers, hat makers and sweet confectioners. Up the hill on Calle Rocafuerte, we explore the San Francisco Market, one of the oldest in the capital. Here, we learn all about the fruit and vegetables produced in Ecuador and some culinary traditions. We also have the chance to meet and learn from one of the local herbal healers who have locales in the market.

San Francisco Market in downtown Quito.

Experience Quito like a local!

From the market, we walk downhill to the emblematic street of La Ronda, considered one of the flagship regeneration projects in the city. It’s a quiet, cobbled street with typical balconies overflowing with geraniums. Here we visit the Manos en La Ronda project and meet artisans in the workshops. We then visit the chocolatier on the ground floor, where we enjoy a snack and have a chance to discover and taste the finest chocolate in the world – which, of course, comes from Ecuador..!

From La Ronda, we walk northwards through the handsome streets of the Old Town to the Plaza Grande, the political heart of the city. Following a brief explanation, we stroll to the Jesuit church of La Compañía with its stunning gold-leaf interior. Returning to Plaza San Francisco, we visit the church, choir and pretty patios of the Franciscan order before arriving at Casa Gangotena, on the same square, for a lunch of Ecuadorian specialities prepared by the hotel’s talented chefs.

Plaza San Francisco's view from Casa Gangotena's terrace.

Beautiful view of San Francisco church and Quito’s old town.

In the afternoon, we cross the street to the excellent Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum. It houses a fantastic collection of pieces dating back some 5,000 years, arrayed beautifully within a restored 17th-century colonial mansion.

This tour also includes a visit to a panoramic viewpoint to appreciate Quito in all its Andean splendor.

  • The order of the visits may vary - depending on weather conditions and the day of the week.
  • This tour includes walking at altitude
  • Daily (minus Sundays).
  • Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, and coat).
  • Rain protection
  • Sun protection (SPF 40).
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Great photo ops, don't forget your camera
  • Tour with guide and driver, full day program, daily in Quito (minus Sundays), including lunch mentioned.
  • Drinks not mentioned, personal expenses, tips.

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