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A visit to Quito is a rich experience of culture, art and history. You can enjoy one or two day tours in the city but there are many other spectacular places around the city. 

There are a variety of day trips departing from Quito to the Andes highlands. These exciting and short day trips from Quito are a combination of knowledge and leisure. From culture, gastronomy, history, nature, ways of life, relaxation and more.

We listed for you the best day trips from Quito.


Get to know the Quito’s old town and the Middle of the World

Your must-see first stop when you arrive in Quito is a visit to the Historic Center, the heart of the city. Here you will explore all the architectural beauty of its churches, monuments, squares. The most iconic, the Church of La Compañía, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza Mayor, and the local workshop of Luis “Cruz Verde”. 

Thus understand why it is considered the oldest and best preserved historic center of South America. 

You will also get to know “La Mitad del Mundo”, experience standing in both hemispheres and learn more about the history of Ecuador. In addition, you can enjoy a delicious gastronomy based on Ecuadorian flavors.

Visit an indigenous market and local community 

Just two hours from Quito, you’ll discover Otavalo, an Andean town renowned for its handicraft market, the most famous indigenous fair in South America.

Here you will have plenty of time to stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets full of Otavalo’s indigenous people. Dressed in blue ponchos, white pants and long braided hair. Get to explore its handicraft market, with its wonderful weavings, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and much more.

A 30 minute drive will take you to the Pija community to visit a sustainable project run by women, called Sacha Warmi. Here you will experience an unforgettable cultural encounter. Immersing yourself in the true spirit of South American women and their weaving skills. Also, you can enjoy a tasty traditional lunch prepared by local women using fresh products from the surrounding organic fields. 

Surely, this day trip will  leave you amazed and even more eager to continue exploring Ecuador.

Papallacta - Day trips from Quito

Cotopaxi Volcano expedition

South of Quito rises the imposing Cotopaxi, with a height of 5,897 meters above sea level, it is the highest active volcano in the world and the second highest in Ecuador. Located in the province of the same name, it is within the Cotopaxi National Park. A protected area, for the abundant plant life, rich fauna and Inca ruins.

The visit will begin at the natural history museum, and then make the ascent of the mountain to the parking lot at 4500 meters. From here, a short hike of 45 minutes takes us to the refuge. Descending again from the ” refuge”, we will drive across the param to Limpiopungo Lake. On a short walk around the lake, we will be able to observe a great variety of birds and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. 

You can check more details of the tour on our website. 

Be astounded at Quilotoa Crater Lake 

Embark on a full day excursion to discover one of Ecuador’s hidden gems. The dazzling Quilotoa Lagoon. The excursion begins with a visit to a local painting workshop located in Tigua, an indigenous village in the southern Andes. Here you will experience a cultural encounter and learn about their customs and their most famous painting techniques. 

Afterwards, we will head to the famous turquoise water lagoon that shows a beautiful view of the Andean mountains. The excursion includes a hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon, a shimmering emerald lake located inside the crater of the dormant volcano. The round trip hike lasts one hour.  

Don’t miss the opportunity to take this day trip and come away with some of the best photos of your life! 

Papallacta Hot Springs

Definitely the excursion to Papallacta from Quito is one of the most relaxing and gratifying. Your first stop will be Papallacta Lagoon, located in the Paramo, characterized by cold weather but with wonderful landscapes.

Then you will visit the famous hot springs and the tourist complex “Termas de Papallacta” where you can take short walks. The guide will explain the richness of this Cloud Forest ecosystem, along the trail you will find orchids and colorful birds.

Later you will have time to soak in the volcanic pools and take some optional treatments at the Spa before returning to Quito.

Mindo Cloudforest

Northeast of Quito lies the amazing cloud forest of Mindo. A true natural refuge, full of life, the perfect place to observe countless species of birds. And surely one of the best day trips from Quito. 

Visiting Mindo is a true cloud forest adventure. It can include everything from exploring an archaeological site. Walking among a collection of wild orchids and visiting a beautiful waterfall in the jungle.

Another highlight of the place is the butterfly farm, where you can observe gigantic and colorful butterflies

You can also practice the aquatic activity tubing or try the zip line. And many more activities. You can’t miss this one day experience in the Mindo cloud forest. 

As you read our day tours departing from Quito are varied and itineraries can be customized. Contact us and let us know your preferences and interests so you can enjoy a unique day excursion.

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