Recognized by National Geographic Traveler as 2013’s Best Destination, Ecuador offers the Andes mountain range, the Galápagos Islands, relaxing farmlands and large cities with more than just native shopping and restaurants. Among these cities is the capital Quito, which I recently had a chance to explore its diverse offerings and see how its history is preserved, but for the adventurer, you’ll want to go just outside of the city.
First a couple city musts. Filled to the brim with religious and artful history, and as it should be since the whole city is UNESCO World Heritage site, the historic center of town is where a first timer would want to start his or her visit. Here you’ll find colonial plazas, museums, monasteries, convents and churches, including the gold-studded Iglesia de la Compania (below).