Quito is very close to the equator and located on a high altitude, so temperatures remain fairly steady but moderate, between 10 and 21 degrees Celsius, all year. There is a cool, dry season between June and September, which is the peak season for tourism and when most travellers book flights to Quito. Another peak period occurs from late December to early June. Every year on the 6th December people gather in the streets to celebrate the Fiestas de Quito which to commemorate the day the Spanish laid the foundation of the city. Expect to see large crowds dancing and having fun under a spectacular display of fireworks. The electric carnival atmosphere is really worth the visit. This corresponds with the most popular holiday times for European and North American visitors.
Travelling to Quito outside the busy June to December and Christmas period peak times will save you money as this is when cheap flights to Quito will be available. Carnival time, on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, is also an expensive time. Ecuadorians unite to celebrate Carnival is their own special way through throwing water balloons, flour bags, and eggs at one another.
It may be cheapest to book a flight to Quito during the less popular rainy season from December to March.
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and dates from 1533, when it was built on the ruins of the Inca capital conquered by the Spanish. The city is sited high in an Andean valley and at 9,350 feet above sea level (2,800 metres), it is the second highest capital city in the world. Quito’s historic Spanish-colonial city centre is fantastically well preserved and was key in the city becoming the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Here you will find wonderful areas like the church and square of Santo Domingo, the Street of the Seven Crosses and San Francisco Square. The oldest street is La Ronda, which bustles with eateries, art and nightlife. The Plaza Grande is the city’s main square and is lined with impressive official buildings. La Mariscal, meanwhile, is the area to visit for entertainment and is a cosmopolitan mix of visitors and locals, all enjoying wonderful food, drink and dancing together. To the north of this historic centre, modern northern Quito has lots of nightlife, urban parks and museums and is well worth a visit. The city is centrally located in the centre-north region of Ecuador and makes for an ideal base to explore other areas of the country, from the Amazon, to the Cloud Forest and the fascinating Galapagos Islands. Quito has something for everyone, from an active nightlife and cultural scene, to rich history and stunning architecture. The city has undergone a substantial preservation and restoration project and remains an architectural jewel of South America.
Three different bus networks serve the city and they are very inexpensive. Taxis are also relatively reasonably priced, and cycles and scooters are available to rent for fair fees.
Flights to Quito are served by Quito International Airport (UIO) which is located some 16 miles (25km) to the northeast of Quito. Traffic can be heavy and transfer times can be up to 90 minutes. There is a public bus service into the city. This will take you to Rio Coca, where you can take the Metro to Mariscal. There is also an express bus and taxis available from the airport.