Traditional Neighborhoods

Traditional Neighborhoods

They are our home, our identity and a way of telling how we live and feel. Visit us!

We have the best-preserved Historic Center in Latin America. Quito was the first city to be declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Here you can appreciate the colonial architecture, art, Ecuadorian food and traditions of our charming city, where at every step there is a history.


The traditional neighborhood of San Juan is considered one of the emblematic viewpoints of the city, for this reason it bears the name “Balcón Quiteño” Quito´s Balcony.

Known since ancient times for its temples in honor of the moon “Huanacauri”, from García Moreno and Matovelle Streets, the “Chaquiñán” (path) began, which connected with the temples of the sun located in the “Yavirac” (Panecillo), and in order to erase the pagan beliefs in the minds of the aborigines, seven crosses were erected along their way, being called the “Street of the Seven Crosses”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Quito began to expand its limits to the north, along the San Juan Hill, establishing different farmhouses that developed through the decades until today.

Gastronomy is a reason why locals and foreigners visit this neighborhood. Among its delights are:

  • Motes of San Juan. Between Nicaragua and Riofrío streets is the establishment of Mrs. Carmen Chasi, who inherited this traditional dish´s recipe from her grandmother, preparing the corn with firewood to give it a characteristic flavor. The mote (boiled corn grains) is accompanied by fry pork, tostado (fried corn grains) and avocado.
  • Quesadillas of San Juan. Located on Deificio Torres Street, in front of the Contemporary Art Center, several generations have maintained the traditional recipe of this Quito delicacy. This dessert shows its characteristic and special flavor due to the brick oven and its cooking time. The ingredients for the preparation are: flour, water and egg for the dough, accompanied by a filling of cheese, eggs, sugar and achira starch (a product that gives it its characteristic and particular touch).

There are emblematic sites that highlight the tourist attraction of the neighborhood, among which are:

  • Centro de Arte Contemporáneo. This building dates back to the 1900s. Over time, various institutions have operated here such as: sanatorium, military barracks, Old Military Hospital and as a family home. After a joint work between residents of the San Juan neighborhood, the Permanent Defense Committee of the Old Military Hospital and the Municipality of Quito, on August 10, 2009 the Center for Contemporary Art was inaugurated, as a space for art and culture.
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional Church. A huge Neo-Gothic style temple that breaks with the harmony of the colonial churches and chapels. The church is consecrated to the Heart of Jesus. Its interior is characterized by its pointed arches, ribbed vaults and three naves. Outside there are animals of the Ecuadorian fauna.
  • Monasterio de San Juan de Agus- Monastery of San Juan de Agustinas de la Encarnación. The San Juan Bautista of the Augustinian Order Recoleta was established in this strategic space until 1877, the year in which the closing order of the Augustinian nuns of the Incarnation came into possession.

Bibliography: | | | Iglesias y Conventos de Quito Antiguo. Corporación Metropolitana de Turismo 2006.


Traditional neighborhood of the Historic Center where art and culture are fully linked with the daily life of the neighbors. Along the Junín street, as the main road, the cultural richness of the inhabitants is evident, in grocery stores, shoe stores, tailors, museums, galleries, pharmacies, restaurants and hotels. By exploring its streets, it is possible to approach the artisan workshops, in spaces that preserve their neighborhood life. You can share with artisans and learn their knowledge, practices and the secrets of their trade. Its colonial and republican architecture represents the urban wealth of this space. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, this neighborhood maintained its commercial dynamics, but it was also the residence of artisans, painters and musicians. From 1950 to 1960, San Marcos received new neighbors, since many of the former settled in the north of the city or abroad, as a consequence of the migratory process of the time. Since 1990, the Municipality of Quito has intervened in the neighborhood with various architectural rescue works and with the rehabilitation of some of its spaces. A recovery process for its facades has also been carried out. Let´s mentions some of its most outstanding attractions:
  • St. Catherine’s Monastery. Built according to the project for the cloister monasteries in the 17th century, it was later rebuilt in the late 19th century. It includes a museum with works of great artistic and iconographic value. For believers, praying in the “bank of miracles” allows them to obtain the grace of fertility and healing illnesses Some of the recipes than can be bought through a wooden turnstile are: cakes, cookies, wines, among other products.
  • Manuela Sáenz Museum. Colonial-style house preserves objects from Manuela Sáenz, as well as paintings and sculptures of great valuable.
  • Hotel Boutique Casa San Marcos. For those who want to rest in an environment full of art and culture.
  • Museum of Architecture. Its mission is to spread, document and preserve the urban architecture of Ecuador.
  • Illa Experience Hotel. Where visitors will experience greater closeness with the Quito citizen.
  • Muñoz Mariño Museum and Galleries. Cultural space that shows the life of painter Oswaldo Muñoz Mariño.
  • Church of San Marcos. It has a single nave, with a main altarpiece under the Baroque model.
  • In the surroundings of the square, an assorted inlay workshop complements the list of traditional spaces that rescue wooden art.
  • A great variety of restaurants and cafes with a local, national and international menu, complement the gastronomic offer of the neighborhood.

Bibliography: |


San Roque is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Quito and is located in the Historic Center of Quito. It was founded in 1599, it is one of the oldest in the city and has been the cradle of characters and legends, which allowed the birth of Quito. It is surrounded by Cuenca, Rocafuerte, Plaza de San Francisco, Avenida 24 de Mayo streets. It is relatively close to the skirts of the Panecillo, it houses churches and great popular markets such as San Francisco and San Roque. Clerics say that most Quito parishes took the name of a saint in order to seek divine protection.

In this neighborhood it is possible to find different characters such as, for example, practitioners of ancient medicine, fruit vendors, spice vendors, candy makers, among others. Among the places to visit is La Casa del Alabado, a pre-Inca art museum highly recommended if you like History and Archeology. Along Rocafuerte street you can see several places of tourist interest such as the church and convent of Santa Clara, which is open to the public in special seasons, to share its cultural wealth. Products made by the Poor Clares Nuns, such as ornaments, cookies, bread and fruit wine, can also be purchased permanently. As you continue your tour, your sense of smell will be sharpened as you come across shops full of herbs and spices and the aroma of guayusa and Jamaican leaves that are excellent to drink as a tea.

Breathe deeply… Now we continue uphill and we will arrive at the church of San Roque founded in 1596. Its interior houses the painting of the Virgen de la Borradora, whose presence instills deep respect in the neighborhood. Across the street is the San Francisco Market built in 1893, the city’s first market. Many Quiteños come to this place to do their shopping and enjoy a typical dish. Here the vendors wear uniforms and keep their spaces very clean, the signs of each location are trilingual: Spanish, English and Quichua since many of the buyers and sellers are indigenous. You can find many fruits from all regions of the country such as oranges, naranjilla, coconuts, which are very desirable to ingest in juices: you can also taste the famous “chicha de jora” drink made from the corn kernel. At the end of the market you can see a row of stalls where “cleanses” are offered, which according to indigenous beliefs, should be done when there is the presence of bad energy. This activity is carried out by healers who use the benefits of various sweet and bitter herbs. When you leave the place, you can go down to Chimborazo street until you reach Simón Bolívar and you will reach the Colaciones de la Cruz Verde, its owner, Mr. Luis Banda, uses a large bronze bowl hanging from the ceiling, roasting peanuts and sugar to prepare the famous sweets.


It is a neighborhood full of traditions, art and culture. It is a very quiet place where time passes slowly. There are many balconies, from which there is a privileged view of the Cumandá complex and the beautiful Chapel of the Miracles “Capilla de los Milagros”.

Each space has something to tell, wherever you are in Quito someone can always tell you an entertaining story of who we are.


La Ronda is one of the traditional neighborhoods of the city and one of the most visited in the Historic Center of Quito due to its architecture. During the day and located along the narrow Morales street, you can find craft workshops for the project: Manos en La Ronda, which offer their products to national and foreign tourists.

In this colorful street there are also some shops that offer handicrafts and also restaurants, cafes and a colonial hotel. The architecture of houses, with their balconies very close to each other, the different stories that can be told in this neighborhood and the traditional games of yesteryear that are found on the street, make it an attractive place for tourists to visit.

Here we tell you some of the attractions that await you in La Ronda:

Chez Tiff

A store that pays tribute to the fabulous Ecuadorian chocolate, where you can enjoy cakes and other desserts made from the best artisan chocolate. They are part of the “Farms to Bars” trend. (House 989).

 Api Real

Honey, in all its versions: products with a natural, sustainable and high-quality approach. Among its products you can find soaps, shampoos, balms and natural propolis. (House 925).

Hojalatería Silva

In Humberto Silva’s store you can find a wide variety of objects made of tin. He is one of the few tinsmiths left in Quito. Some of its iconic items include toy kitchens and ovens and garden equipment. (House 925).


Gerardo Zabala can make a wooden toy in front of you in minutes. His favorite: the spinning top; but there are many other toy designs that you are going to want to take with you. (House 925).


If you are looking for a hat store, this is the place. A traditional shop that has been around since 1920 with a hat model for all tastes. (House 925).

Talleres de los oficios de la Escuela Quiteña

Craft workshops that keep the techniques and secrets used in the Quito School (16th century).

Orfebrería Campos

Workshop where metals such as gold, silver and bronze are artistically worked with colonial designs from the Quito School. (House 989).

Artistic Forging

Craft that works the iron that is heated and shaped by hammer blows for the elaboration of bars, lanterns, chandeliers, etc. (House 989).

Wooden inlaid

Process by which wood is worked, embedding different elements in it and creating different models of bargueño boxes, jewelty boxes, chests and wooden boxes in general. (House 989).

Traditional games

An important part of the Manos en La Ronda project is the exhibition of the “traditional games” of the Quiteños, ideal for visits with children (House 925 and 989).

And when you´re hungry don’t forget to try the giant wind-filled empanadas!

Modern Neighborhoods

Modern Neighborhoods

Since 1900, the boundaries of Quito have been extended to welcome a contemporary city with various commercial and residential areas. Quito is established in what were haciendas, immense places with forests that welcomed a city in Latitude Zero, full of contrasts, surrounded by mountains.


Until the mid-nineteenth century, this sector was outside the urban limit of Quito and was made up of a set of land for agriculture and grazing, with no apparent relevance to urbanize it.

Around 1890, the Jijón Larrea family bought land from the indigenous community of Santa Clara de San Millán to build a small estate to spend the weekends. Subsequently, the wealthiest capital families seeking to leave the center of Quito, followed the same path and decided to go to a quieter sector with better planning possibilities.

General Eloy Alfaro hired the American engineer Archer Harman in 1895 to continue the construction of the railroad that would link Guayaquil with Quito. He was also in charge of providing a better service infrastructure for the city, for which he created the Anglo-French company, to which these state-owned lands were handed over to initiate the lottery.

In 1918 this neighborhood was designed, taking the idea of the «garden city», in the English style that in 1922 was renamed Ciudadela Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre. In 1914 the Mantilla brothers built the National Hippodrome on Avenida Colón and this area began to organize itself with palaces and chalets.

Between 1937 and 1945, nearly 3,000 Jews arrived, fleeing the holocaust, many of whom continued on their way to other parts of America and others settled in Quito, in the recently created Ciudadela Simón Bolívar, projected by the Pension Fund. For this reason and as a tribute to the resistance of the Czech people, the Plaza Lídece was built, in honor of the city of the same name. Later the name was changed to Plaza Quinde and finally Plaza Foch.

The “La Mariscal” sector located in the Eugenio Espejo parish in the Quito Metropolitan District of the Pichincha province, is one of the most developed sectors and concentrates the largest number of the city’s financial and commercial activities.

By the sixties, residential use still prevailed, but at the end of this decade, new changes began as commercial activities began. On Av. Amazonas opened one of the first supermarkets in the city called “La Favorita” and thus commercial activity defined this area.

In addition, a phenomenon of multinationality in the sector began, which increased in the 1970s.

Since the eighties, the evolution of this sector has become more evident due to the increase in tourism and with this the objectives of the owners have changed. Before, there were mainly houses, but little by little the spaces became the commercial and tourist center of the city.

This process also increased the number of large and small restaurants and businesses aimed at providing food, recreation and socialization services to all users, including: office workers, public employees, artists, merchants and students.

Research source: / Fabián Amores / MEDIARTE


La Carolina is one of the green lungs of the city of Quito. It is the ideal place for tourists who love nature and outdoor activities. The park with more than 600 thousand square meters of land, is divided into seven large areas for all members of the family and the possibility of doing different leisure and recreation activities. There are shopping centers and the financial area of the city. This growing neighborhood has also been a space for attractive cafes, excellent bakeries and good restaurants … it is also a space for the social development of adolescents visiting the shopping centers and movie theaters that are in the sector.

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Quito, this area looks tempting due to its location, you can reach the downtown area and the valleys of the city in less than 15 minutes.

Its most important tourist attractions are:

  • The Botanical Garden of the City
  • The Nautical Park
  • The Museum of Natural Sciences
  • La Carolina Park: Here is the famous Pope’s Cross, the place where the Holy Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass in 1985 during his visit to Quito.

In the area you will easily find small businesses that serve local dishes, and in the vicinity of La Carolina there are dozens of cafes and restaurants with a greater variety of menus. In the Iñaquito neighborhood to which La Carolina belongs, the financial towers of the most important multinationals of Quito and headquarters of nine embassies, including those of Mexico, Belgium and China, converge.

It is a place that offers shopping options: it has at its disposal an exhibition center, two markets with food sales and six shopping centers with stores of the most exclusive brands.

Moving to the area is easy. The visitor can use the Quito metro, with the La Carolina station or the Trolleybus that also has a stop in the sector. There are always enough taxis and public transportation, go ahead and discover one of the modern areas of Quito!


Guápulo, is a picturesque neighborhood of Quito, located to the east of the city. Its history goes back to the colony, since the expedition of the Spanish conquistadors Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana in search of “El País de la Canela” left here. On this trip, the Amazon River was discovered and to commemorate this event, one of its main roads in the sector is called “the Avenida de los Conquistadores”.

Guápulo is one of the gateways to Quito. It is a beautiful small town with narrow streets that contain a peculiar charm and where cozy places have been opened that receive visitors for unforgettable experiences. In Guápulo you can find delicious food, places to enjoy with your friends and family, beautiful shops where you will always get a souvenir of the place or simply the ideal gift.

Guápulo has two sites that stand out: the viewpoint, which is a few meters from Av. González Suárez in the commercial sector of the city and the descent towards the sector, a place where many locals and tourists stop to enjoy the spectacular view of the Tumbaco Valley that extends non-stop towards the eastern mountain range and which, on clear days, allows us to see its majestic snowcapped mountains.
Due to its style and age, Guápulo has one of the most important churches in Quito, which dates from the 16th century and is the first Marian Shrine instituted in Ecuador in 1620.

The Guápulo Church is one of the most coveted temples for celebrating weddings and baptisms, which is why for many years, on weekends the influx of visitors to the sanctuary has increased notably.

Inside this church guarded by the Franciscan friars, the Virgin of Guadalupe and Guápulo are venerated, whose original image from the 16th century is the work of the Spanish sculptor Diego de Robles.
Guápulo is one of those many places in Quito that you should not miss.


La Floresta is a traditional neighborhood in the north center of Quito. It was one of the first to develop outside the colonial center of the city. Its name, its beautiful tile roofs, the landscaped residences that still stand, suggest a residential area surrounded by nature and tranquility and one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the modern city at the same time.

In itself, the neighborhood is suitable for walking. Residents have no greater need to venture to other sectors of the city to meet their basic needs, since almost everything is at hand. Over the years, La Floresta has attracted artists, writers, and musicians, which has given the area a lot of character, especially with the murals that adorn the public space. Walking through its streets is a pleasant adventure, among alternative and specialized stores, unique cafes and other trendy businesses … Be sure to visit it!

La Floresta is the culinary neighborhood par excellence:

For those who do not live in the neighborhood, La Floresta is the area where the best national and international food is eaten, with a variety of prices for expensive and elegant restaurants, as well as for a snack or takeaway.

Among its tourist attractions we have:

  • Trude-Sojka Cultural Center (Toledo and Coruña)

It is the closest thing to a holocaust museum in Quito, located in a beautiful residence from the middle of last century, where the sensitive work of the Jewish migrant artist Trude Sojka is exhibited.

  • Ochoymedio (Valladolid and Vizcaya)

This is the cinema art projection room of Quito. Cultural works, independent national and international festivals are shown here.

  • Casa Toledo (Toledo, between Coruña and Zaldumbide)

A great theater house with rooms to see plays and a wonderful place to enjoy the performing arts and, of course, an excellent excuse to enjoy art like the people of Quito do.

Despite the time, the sector maintains its traditional essence, since in its surroundings there are countless shops, shoe stores, tailors, bakeries, etc. Likewise, the neighbors still know each other, especially those who have lived in the area for more than 50 years.

Since the last century, several illustrious residents of Quito’s art, music and culture world and its beautiful neoclassical low houses have made this neighborhood an important part of the city’s heritage.


The neighborhood is located on the slopes of the Itchimbía hill, on the eastern edge of the Historic Center of Quito. It extends over 54 hectares and is surrounded by traditional neighborhoods such as El Dorado, La Tola and San Blas. It is a unique viewpoint for Quito and its surroundings.

The conquistadors used it as one of their hunting and military training fields, perhaps contradicting the sacred function that both the Incas and their Quitu-Caras predecessors had given to this long hill, from which the Sun God loomed glowing every day.

The Itchimbía is an observatory and center of Andean wisdom; known as “the pharmacy of Quito”, for its medicinal herbs. It became a hacienda until the middle of the 20th century. The Casa de Hacienda Piedrahita was the headquarters of the first commercial TV station in Quito, Channel 6.

The Piedrahíta, Girón, Verde Cruz, El Bosque Haciendas, among others, were the green spaces that were later divided up to accommodate the newly born neighborhoods of the center-north of the capital, at the beginning of the 20th century; among them, El Dorado. At that time, the idea of a modern Quito was born, since the overcrowding and reduced space in the Historic Center made several families decide to move to areas surrounding the La Alameda Park, El Ejido and La Mariscal. At the same time, the neoclassicism characteristic of Spanish, French and American urban planning was booming, so the houses of the wealthy people who migrated from the center in those days, were beautiful palaces with large gardens.

Like every traditional neighborhood in Quito, it is full of legends and tales of strange beings that prowled in its ravines and caused terror in the children and bohemians of this neighborhood.

According to the older residents of this traditional neighborhood, in the eastern part of the “Loma” there were tunnels that crossed the entire mountain and connected to the Machángara river and it was said that in these tunnels lived the “Witch of Itchimbia”, a woman who wore a ragged black suit full of dirt and grime. This mysterious woman is said to have disappeared among the secret tunnels, when the residents of the neighborhood dared to follow her. The Witch of Itchimbia was greatly feared by the children of the neighborhood since, according to the popular legends of the area, this enigmatic woman took children who played late in the neighborhood’s streets and did not listen to their parents. This was the excuse for having the children well behaved.

Research source: / Fabián Amores / MEDIARTE


If you have a morning:

  • Artisans of La Ronda
  • Museums and Artisans of San Marcos
  • Art in La Floresta
  • Panecillo

If you have a day:

  • Guápulo Church and Viewpoint + Art in La Floresta + La Mariscal Routes
  • Gastronomy in San Juan + Museums in San Marcos + Artisans of La Ronda
  • Itchimbía Viewpoint + Walk through La Tola + Capilla de los Milagros in Mama Cuchara + Panecillo

If you have two or three days:

  • Iñaquito + Guápulo + La Floresta + Itchimbía
  • La Mariscal + San Juan + San Marcos
  • San Roque + La Ronda + La Tola + Panecillo
  • +593 2993300
  • Passage Oe3 Río Amazonas N51-20 & Street N50B
    Old airport, Quito

© All rights reserved

Quito Turismo - Visit Quito

  • +593 2993300
  • Passage Oe3 Río Amazonas N51-20 & Street N50B
    Old airport, Quito

© All rights reserved

Quito Turismo - Visit Quito