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.

SAN JUAN

This neighborhood is considered one of the traditional viewpoints of the city, and bears the name “Balcón Quiteño” Quito´s Balcony.

Known since ancient times for its temples in honor of the “Huanacauri” moon, from García Moreno and Matovelle Streets, the “Chaquiñán” (path) connected the temples of the sun located in the “Yavirac” (Panecillo), and seven crosses were erected along their way, to erase the sins of the aborigines. That is why it was named the “Street of the Seven Crosses”.

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

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 a very special flavor because it is prepared in a brick oven with a certain cooking time. The ingredients for the dough are: flour, water and egg, with a filling of cheese, eggs, sugar and achira starch, a product that gives it its characteristic and particular texture.

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, a sanatorium, military barracks, Old Military Hospital and even a family home. With the cooperation of neighbors of the San Juan area, the Permanent Defense Committee of the Old Military Hospital and the Municipality of Quito, inaugurated on August 10, 2009 the Center for Contemporary Art.
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional. A huge Neo-Gothic style temple, very different from other colonial churches and chapels. The church was consecrated to the Heart of Jesus. In the interior, you will find pointed arches, ribbed vaults and three naves. Outside, there are animal figures of the Ecuadorian fauna.
  • 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:

http://biblioteca.clacso.edu.ar/Ecuador/ciudad/20180108043256/unda.pdf | https://www.goraymi.com/es-ec/pichincha/quito/gestores-gastronomicos/motes-san-juan-a3yfj5y9r | https://lahora.com.ec/noticia/1102021513/quesadillas-de-san-juan-el-sabor-de-la-tradicin | Iglesias y Conventos de Quito Antiguo. Corporación Metropolitana de Turismo 2006.

SAN MARCOS

A traditional neighborhood of the Historic Center where art and culture are part of the daily life of the neighbors. Along the Junín street, the main road, the cultural richness 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 traditional essence. You can share with artisans and learn their knowledge and the secrets of their craft. The colonial and republican architecture represent the urban wealth of this space. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, this neighborhood maintained its commercial nature, but it was also the residence of artisans, painters and musicians. From 1950 to 1960, San Marcos welcomed new neighbors, since many of the former settled in the north of the city or abroad. Since 1990, the Municipality of Quito has restored some of this neighborhood spaces with various architectural rescue works. A recovery process for its facades has also been carried out.

Let´s mentions some of its most outstanding attractions:

  • St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was built under the rules for cloister monasteries in the 17th century. It was later rebuilt in the late 19th century and includes a museum with works of great artistic and iconographic value. For the believers, sitting and pray in the “bank of miracles” allow them to obtain the grace of fertility and healing, and for all the curious, there are products that can be bought through a wooden turnstile like cakes, cookies, wines, among others.

  • Manuela Sáenz Museum. Colonial-style house where objects from the revolutionary heroine Manuela Sáenz are preserved, as well as paintings and sculptures of great value.

  • 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 closeness with local citizens.

  • Muñoz Mariño Museum and Galleries. Cultural space to be in touch with the life of painter Oswaldo Muñoz Mariño.

  • Church of San Marcos. With a single nave and a main altarpiece under the Baroque style.

  • Around the square, there is an inlay workshop that rescue wooden art.

  • A great variety of restaurants and cafes with a local, national and international menu, to assure the gastronomic offer of the neighborhood.

Bibliography:

https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/quito/san-marcos-destino-cultural-centro.html | https://www.iberiaplusmagazine.iberia.com/articulos/2017/7/arte-quito/

SAN ROQUE

San Roque is located in the Historic Center of Quito. It was founded in 1599, and it is one of the oldest in the city, where characters and legends have become part of the tradition. It is surrounded by Cuenca and Rocafuerte streets, Plaza San Francisco and 24 de Mayo Avenue. It is close to the skirts of the Panecillo and houses churches and great popular markets such as San Francisco and San Roque. Clerics say that most of 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 practitioners of ancient medicine, fruit vendors, spice vendors, candy makers and many others. Among the places to visit is La Casa del Alabado, a pre-Inca art museum highly recommended if you are interested in History and Archeology. Along Rocafuerte street you will find very interesting places. Like 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… to continue uphill and finally arrive at the church of San Roque founded in 1596. Virgen de la Borradora is inside and her 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, citizens of Quito, 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 will find fruits from all regions of the country: oranges, naranjillas, coconuts, which are the main ingredients for delicious 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 “energetic cleanses” are offered, which according to indigenous beliefs, should be done when some bad energy is around. This activity is carried out by healers who trust the benefits of sweet and bitter herbs. When you leave the place, you can go down Chimborazo street until you reach Simón Bolívar to find 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.

MAMA CUCHARA

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”.

Every space around this neighborhood, has something to tell. Wherever you are in Quito there is always an entertaining story of who we are.

LA RONDA

Calle Morales

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

In this colorful street there are also some shops that offer handicrafts and, of course, there are restaurants, cafes and a colonial style 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 present on the street, make it an attractive place for tourists to visit.

Some of the attractions in La Ronda include:

Chez Tiff

A store that pays tribute to the fabulous Ecuadorian chocolate, where you can enjoy cakes and other desserts prepared with 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 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).

Zabalartes

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).

Humacatama

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.

LA MARISCAL

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

IÑAQUITO / LA CAROLINA

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

This picturesque neighborhood of Quito, is located to the east of the city. Its history goes back to the Colony times, since the expedition of the Spanish conquistadors Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana in search of “El País de la Canela” started right here. On that trip, the Amazon River was discovered and to commemorate the event, one of the main roads is called “Avenida de los Conquistadores”.

Guápulo is one of the gateways to Quito, a beautiful small town with narrow streets, a sweet charm and cozy stores where you will always get a souvenir and create unforgettable experiences. Here, you can find delicious food and places to enjoy with your friends and family.
Two spots stand out in Guápulo: the viewpoint, which is very close to Av. González Suárez in the commercial, and the descent towards the sector, a place where many locals and tourists stop to enjoy the spectacular view of the Tumbaco Valley which goes towards the eastern mountain range. On clear days, you will be lucky to see its majestic snowcapped mountains.

In Guápulo, you will find one of the most important churches in Quito, which dates from the 16th century and is the first Marian Temple in Ecuador, built in 1620. Inside, the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Virgin of Guápulo are venerated. The original 16th century image of Virgin of Guápulo, is the work of the Spanish sculptor Diego de Robles. The beauty of this church has turned it into a favorite for wedding and baptism celebrations. For many years, on weekends, you will see many visitors around.

LA FLORESTA

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 to a holocaust museum in Quito, located in a beautiful house, from the middle of 20th century, where the sensitive work of the Jewish migrant artist Trude Sojka is exhibited.

  • Ochoymedio (Valladolid and Vizcaya)

House of cinema art in Quito. Independent national and international festivals are shown here, among other cultural expressions.

  • Casa Toledo (Toledo, between Coruña and Zaldumbide)

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

Around La Floresta, there are countless shops, shoe stores, tailors, bakeries, etc. and the neighborhood has attracted illustrious residents, people from the art, music and culture world!

ITCHIMBÍA

This is a traditional neighborhood in the north center of Quito. It was one of the first to develop outside the center of the city. This is a residential area surrounded by nature and tranquility and one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the modern city at the same time. The beautiful neoclassical houses have made this neighborhood an important part of the city’s heritage.

This is a neighborhood you can discover walking. Residents find everything at hand, so they don’t really need to go outside to meet basic needs. Walking through its streets is a pleasant adventure, with stores, cafes and other trendy businesses. The murals in the public space are very attractive as well. Be sure to visit it!

La Floresta is a culinary destination: the area where the best national and international food can be discovered, with a variety of prices, from expensive and elegant restaurants, to an inexpensive snack or takeaway.

The Piedrahíta, Girón, Verde Cruz and El Bosque Haciendas, among others, were later divided up to let the neighborhoods of the center-north of the capital to be born, in the early 20th century. One of them, El Dorado. At that time, the overcrowded and reduced space in the Historic Center, made several families decide to move to the north, 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 who migrated from the center in those days, were beautiful palaces with large gardens.

This neighborhood is full of legends and tales of strange beings that prowled in its ravines, causing terror in the children and night life lovers, who wandered these streets.

According to the older residents, in the eastern side 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 Itchimbía”, a woman who wore a ragged dirt black suit. This mysterious woman is said to have disappeared into the secret tunnels, when the neighbors dared to follow her. The Witch of Itchimbía was greatly feared by children. The popular legend said that this enigmatic woman took away children who did not obey their parents. So, this became the perfect excuse for having the children well behaved.

Research source: https://eltelegrafo.com

SHORT PLANNER

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
  • mercadeo@quito-turismo.gob.ec
  • Passage Oe3 Río Amazonas N51-20 & Street N50B
    Old airport, Quito

© All rights reserved

Quito Turismo - Visit Quito

  • +593 2993300
  • mercadeo@quito-turismo.gob.ec
  • Passage Oe3 Río Amazonas N51-20 & Street N50B
    Old airport, Quito

© All rights reserved

Quito Turismo - Visit Quito