Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, and the main gateway for international travel. We highly recommend staying in Quito at least two nights before your trip to the Galapagos or elsewhere to give yourself a time cushion in case of flight delays. Quito is a vibrant city, with a lovely colonial Old Town, lively neighborhoods, and the perfect base for exploring most places in Ecuador, including going to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon basin. 

However, if you just don’t have the extra time, and you can only spend one night in Quito between your international arrival and heading off on another flight to the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon, you should stay close to the Quito Airport. The airport is located about 45 minutes (more or less depending on traffic) from the city center. If you’re flying in late at night and departing early the next morning for the Galapagos or elsewhere, skipping all that driving and staying close to the airport is the way to go.

If you’re joining up with a trip that explores mainland Ecuador without flights, those generally tend to start in the city center. If you’re not sure on the best way to meet up with your trips, just ask your Detour trip advisor! 

A common question for folks going to the Galapagos Islands is if you should route through Quito or Guayaquil. Guayaquil is the second largest city in Ecuador, and has the only other international airport. You have to spend at least one night in either of these cities before going to the islands. Quito has the bigger airport and has more choices for international flights. Guayaquil sometimes has really good deals on international flights, and it’s closer to the islands, but it’s not as interesting to explore as Quito. You can read more about the two cities here: Going to the Galapagos, Should I Fly Into Quito or Guayaquil? 

Outlined on the page below are our recommended hotels, tours, and other details for planning your stay in Quito. 

  • Rates are in US Dollars
  • Hotel rates are per room / per night, and include all taxes, fees, and breakfast at the hotel. 
  • Transfer rates are per person, and include private transportation with a Spanish-speaking driver. These rates are tiered, and will change based on the group size. Transfers are optional, it’s also safe and easy to catch a taxi.
  • Tour rates are per person. All of the tours include an English speaking guide. 

1 NIGHT IN QUITO

We recommend staying near the Quito Airport. Usually, if you just have one night in Quito, your flight is arriving in the evening and you have a quick turn around the next day to your next destination. The Quito city center is about 45 minutes (give or take with traffic) from the airport, so it’s not worth all the driving if you’re just having one quick night in Quito. 

If you’re staying more than one night in Quito, we recommend staying in the city center. There’s not a whole lot to do around the airport, but the city is really fun to explore and there is a ton to see and do. See the next section for hotel suggestions in the Quito city center. 

Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel

Like any international chain hotel you’ll feel like you could be just about anywhere in the world. The location (5 minutes from the airport), free airport shuttles, and clean, quiet accommodation make it the closest airport hotel and very convenient for short layovers.

2020 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $185.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $205.00 per night 
  • Junior Suite (single): $300.00 per night 
  • Junior Suite (double): $332.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $178.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $198.00 per night 
  • Junior Suite (single): $233.00 per night 
  • Junior Suite (double): $252.00 per night 

Included: Airport shuttle, taxes & fees, breakfasts

Hacienda Su Merced

Hacienda Su Merced is a charming, boutique hotel about 20 minutes from the Quito Airport. It is a farmhouse built over 400 years ago, and it’s steeped in the art and history of Ecuador. With extensive, walled off gardens, this hacienda is an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the Quito area. 

2020 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $128.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $153.00 per night 
  • Family Suite (single, double, triple, or quadruple): $225.00 per night 
  • La Casita Suite (double, triple, or quadruple): $257.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $132.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $153.00 per night 
  • Family Suite (single, double, triple, or quadruple): $232.00 per night 
  • La Casita Suite (double, triple, or quadruple): $263.00 per night 

Included: All taxes & fees, breakfasts
Not Included: Airport transfers

Rincon de Puembo

A hotel built in the style of traditional haciendas, about 25 minutes from the Quito Airport. Great for families that have a slightly longer layover time in Quito, as there is a pool and lots of amenities.

2020 Rates

  • Premium Room (single): $150.00 per night 
  • Premium Room (double): $169.00 per night 
  • Deluxe Room (double): $183.00 per night 
  • Deluxe Room (triple): $260.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Premium Room (single): $145.00 per night 
  • Premium Room (double): $164.00 per night 
  • Deluxe Room (double): $182.00 per night 
  • Deluxe Room (triple): $219.00 per night 

Included: Airport shuttle, taxes & fees, breakfasts

2 OR 3 NIGHTS IN QUITO

If you have two to three days to spend in the Quito area, we suggest staying in the city of Quito in either Old Town or La Mariscal Districts and taking a half day tour of Quito. With three days, you can go on a full day tour of Otavalo Market (an Indian craft fair in the mountains outside Quito) or horseback riding at Cotopaxi Volcano (tours are outlined further below on this page).

Declared an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, Old Town Quito is the oldest and best preserved capital in South America. Patterned in traditional Spanish fashion, adobe whitewashed buildings border narrow cobblestone streets and lovely parks. The Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Presidential and Municipal Palaces, encircle the main square (Plaza de Indepedencia). Rich in history, many buildings date back to the 1500’s. Old Town is bustling during the day, but can be quite dead in the evening. 

Originally, La Mariscal District is where wealthy families built mansions. Many of which have been converted into hotels and quaint hostels. Definitely the tourist heart of the city, filled with fun nightlife, internet cafes, art galleries, bookstores, coffee shops, and restaurants. This part of the city is more lively than Old Town in the evening. 

If you’re thinking of spending more than three nights in Quito, then you might want to consider getting out of the city for a bit! There are some amazing places that you can visit just outside of the city. Instead of just going to Otavalo Market on a day tour, considering spending a night at a traditional working hacienda in the area, to experience the culture more in depth. You can check out all of our trips in mainland Ecuador here

Hotel Patio Andaluz

This elegant Boutique hotel is located just off the Main Square – Independence Plaza in Old Town Quito – in a converted colonial style home from the 16th century. Not only does this hotel have a great location for checking out historic Quito, but the hotel itself is an official National Treasure that holds centuries of history within its walls. The hotel is Rainforest Alliance certified, so it is very sustainably operated. 

2020 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $203.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $225.00 per night 
  • Duplex Room (single): $238.00 per night 
  •  per night Duplex Room (double): $255.00
  • Additional Bed (to make a Duplex Room a triple): +$69.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $203.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $225.00 per night 
  • Duplex Room (single): $238.00 per night 
  • Duplex Room (double): $255.00 per night 
  • Additional Bed (to make a Duplex Room a triple): +$75.00 per night 

Included: All taxes & fees, breakfasts
Not Included: Airport transfers

Hotel Real Audiencia

Located in the heart of historical colonial Old Town Quito, the hotel is just across the plaza from the beautiful Santo Domingo Church. This hotel also does its part for the environment. Their bathrooms are heated by solar power (thanks to the abundance of sunlight in Ecuador), they recycle everything, which has led them to reduce waste by 70% and all their cleaning products are biodegradable. This hotel consistently gets great reviews and their restaurant, which has great food, also has a great view of the city!

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $65.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $105.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (triple): $153.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (quadruple): $185.00 per night 
  • Junior Suite (single or double): $125.00 per night 
  • Suite (single or double): $175.00 per night 

Included: All taxes & fees, breakfasts
Not Included: Airport transfers

Hotel Vieja Cuba

Despite being in the heart of La Mariscal, this converted old mansion is very peaceful and every room is unique. It consistently gets applauded for their helpful staff and delicious and healthy breakfast. Vieja Cuba is a home away from home!

2020 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $75.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $88.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (triple): $113.00 per night 
  • Suite Room (single or double): $138.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $80.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $90.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (triple): $115.00 per night 
  • Suite Room (single or double): $138.00 per night 

Included: All taxes & fees, breakfasts
Not Included: Airport transfers

Hotel Casa Aliso

This small, beautiful hotel is similar to a bed and breakfast and offers all the style and comfort of a small luxurious home. It is located in a quiet and pretty section of Mariscal District. This family owned hotel has very attentive service and is a true home-away-from-home! It has a good breakfast, but is also close to a lot of great restaurants if you want to venture out!

2020 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $135.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $153.00 per night 
  • Additional Bed (to make a triple room): +$53.00 per night 

2021 Rates

  • Standard Room (single): $142.00 per night 
  • Standard Room (double): $161.00 per night 
  • Additional Bed (to make a triple room): +$56.00 per night 

Included: All taxes & fees, breakfasts
Not Included: Airport transfers

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

Private transportation between Quito airport and the Quito city center. You’ll have a Spanish speak driver (an English speaking driver is extra). The rates are one way not roundtrip. If you’re picked up at the airport, your driver will be waiting for you with a sign with your names on it. If you’re being picked up from your hotel, the driver will be waiting for you in the lobby. 

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • 1 Traveler: $75.00 per person
  • 2 Travelers: $37.50 per person
  • 3 Travelers: $27.50 per person
  • 4 – 9 Travelers: $25.00 per person
  • 10+ Travelers: $19.00 per person

Taxis in Quito: It’s also very easy and safe to take taxis. At the Quito Airport, only registered taxis are allowed at the airport. When you collect your luggage and leave the airport, you’ll see a taxi line, with people directing you. Taxis have a flat rate of $30.00 (total, not per person, and subject to change) between the airport and the city center. Be sure to have your hotel name and address written down to show your driver. You will pay the driver directly when you get to your hotel. If you need a taxi to pick you up at your hotel, you can have the front desk staff arrange one for you. When you’re out and about in town, and need a taxi, you can hail one from the street, but only get in if is a registered taxi. There will be paper work and a meter. 

QUITO AREA TOURS

We are happy to arrange a guided day tour for you if you would like to explore the surrounding area on your layover day in Quito. Here are some of our favorite options. If there’s a particular place that you want to go and it isn’t mentioned here, just let us know! 

If you’re thinking of spending more than three nights in Quito, then you might want to consider getting out of the city for a bit! There are some amazing places that you can visit just outside of the city. Instead of just going to Otavalo Market on a day tour, considering spending a night at a traditional working hacienda in the area, to experience the culture more in depth. Or you can go to the Amazon Basin or cloudforest for the incredible ecosystem and unique wildlife found in those places. You can check out all of our trips in mainland Ecuador here.

Quito Colonial Walking Tour

We will walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the monastery of San Francisco which was started 5 days after the founding of the city in 1534. We will also visit Independencia Plaza, La Compania de Jesus Church, and La Ronda street – one of the most authentic of the historical center. In the 19th century bohemian artists and poets settled together, rebelling against the bourgeois class. La Ronda breathes local flavor from traditional artisan workshops, galleries and eateries. This tour is private, lasts 3 – 4 hours, and is offered every day. 

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • 1 Traveler: $98.00 per person
  • 2 Travelers: $60.00 per person
  • 3 Travelers: $48.00 per person
  • 4 – 5 Travelers: $44.00 per person
  • 6+ Travelers: $38.00 per person

Included: English speaking guide, taxi transportation, and entrance fees for Compañia and San Francisco
Not Included: Tips, meals

Quito City Tour and the Middle of the World 

Join us in discovering one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. With its charming colonial architecture and welcoming people, prepare to be captivated by Quito’s history and culture. In fact, it was declared one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. On our tour, you will take in some of the most impressive places the city has to offer – San Francisco Square, the Plaza de la Independencia, La Compania de Jesus Church, historical streets and panoramic views of Quito and the surrounding volcanos. Continuing your tour, we will visit the Middle of the World, the place where the equatorial line divides the globe in two hemispheres. Take part in entertaining experiments that you can only do at Latitude 0°, and learn more about the local indigenous culture. This tour is private, lasts 7 – 8 hours, and is offered every day. 

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • 1 Traveler: $255.00 per person
  • 2 Travelers: $160.00 per person
  • 3 Travelers: $129.00 per person
  • 4 – 5 Travelers: $117.00 per person
  • 6+ Travelers: $107.00 per person

Included: Private transportation, English-speaking guide, entrance fees to Panecillo, Iglesia de la Compania, Inti-Nan Museum & Middle of the World compound, and lunch
Not Included: Tips

Day Trip to Cotopaxi National Park and Lunch at Hacienda 

We will visit Cotopaxi National Park. From here, weather permitting, you will be able to see the snow capped summits of both the Cotopaxi and the Antisana volcanoes. Visit Cotopaxi Interpretation center to learn about the history of its major eruptions as well as the local flora and fauna. Above the tree line you will reach the desolate plains that have been flooded by mudflows when Cotopaxi’s violent eruptions melted the glaciers. Boulders and other debris are strewn along the dirt road. This arid tundra is home to semi-wild horses, carunculated caracaras, Andean condors, white-tailed deer, Andean foxes and even the elusive spectacled bear & pumas. Warm up with lunch from a local hacienda. This tour is private, lasts 7 – 8 hours, and is offered every day. 

2020 & 2021 Rates: 

  • 1 Traveler: $358.00 per person
  • 2 Travelers: $198.00 per person
  • 3 Travelers: $144.00 per person
  • 4 – 5 Travelers: $123.00 per person
  • 6+ Travelers: $103.00 per person

Included: Private transportation, English speaking guide, lunch
Not Included: Tips, national park entrance

Day Trip to Otavalo Market and Cuicocha Crater Lake

Today we will head to the town of Otavalo. This is truly one of the most interesting towns in Ecuador, where the local Quichua indigenous culture is not only plainly visible, but in the ascendancy. Every Saturday the provincial town of Otavalo fills-up with the bustling and best-known street market of Ecuador. It is a commercial and social meeting place. Besides crafts, clothing and household items, exotic fruits, vegetables, species and meat are traded. On the early morning cattle market you can even find guinea pigs, a local delicacy! For the other days of the week there is a handicraft market on Plaza Poncho, where skillful native merchants wait for you to play the game of bargaining on alpaca sweaters, ponchos, hammocks, pan flutes and other souvenirs. This region is famous for its woven textiles.

At its outskirts you will walk to the waterfall of Peguche that is locally considered as sacred, and a spot for shamanistic ceremonies at special dates. On the way back we will stop at Cuicocha Crater Lake. Cuicocha Crater Lake was created when its former cone collapsed during latest violent eruption (about 3,000 years ago). Entering the rim, you are suddenly surrounded by the enormous bowl of the remaining caldera. Note both new-born islets in the middle of the emerald lake, which alkaline waters support very little wildlife. Make an optional boat ride around the islets and spot aquatic birds and releasing gas bubbles. Or hike a part of the crater rim and enjoy the flowering highland vegetation (including wild orchids and the endemic pumamaqui-tree). You even might catch a glimpse of giant hummingbirds.

This tour is operated on a private or group basis, lasts 7 – 8 hours, and is offered every day for private tours and Saturdays and Tuesdays for group tours. 

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • Group Tour (Saturdays & Tuesdays): $75.00 per person
  • Private Tour (any day)
    • 1 Traveler: $288.00 per person
    • 2 Travelers: $173.00 per person
    • 3 Travelers: $130.00 per person
    • 4 – 5 Travelers: $115.00 per person
    • 6+ Travelers: $99.00 per person

Included: Private transportation, English speaking guide, lunch
Not Included: Entrance fees, tips

Day Trip to Papallacta Hot Springs

From Quito, take a day trip to visit the wildlife of mainland Ecuador and relax in hot springs. Visit Papallacta Lagoon, located in the beautiful area of Paramo, a region of hot springs and Guango lodge which is a paradise for hummingbird lovers and photographers. Seeing 14 species of hummingbirds within an hour is not uncommon. After this amazing visit we are headed to Termas de Papallacta resort to relax in the hot springs and enjoy other optional activities such as nature hiking and a spa. Optional treatments (sauna, massages, hydrotherapy, body aesthetics) preferably are reserved in advance (not included). Meanwhile the chief has prepared an excellent 3 courses lunch for you in the stylish restaurant. Local fresh trout is speciality, but the kitchen also prepares Ecuadorian or international dishes. This tour is private, lasts 7 – 8 hours, and is offered every day. 

2020 & 2021 Rates

  • 1 Traveler: $298.00
  • 2 Travelers: $200.00
  • 3 Travelers: $160.00
  • 4 – 5 Travelers: $148.00
  • 6+ Travelers: $132.00

Included: Private transportation, English speaking guide, lunch, entrance, and La Isla trail hike
Not Included: Tips