Quito & Environs
(page 3 of 4)
Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World City) and its
monument to the Equator are a popular site for locals and a must stop
for tourists visiting Ecuador. Located approximately 20 minutes to
the north of Quito, the site straddles the equator. Here you can, among
other things, place one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other
in the southern hemisphere. And yes, you weigh less here at the equator.
Among the attractions here are an Ethnographic Museum,
a Planetarium, a fantastic miniature model of Quito, handicraft stores
and restaurants. On weekends, Mitad del Mundo's central plaza is host
to varied musical and cultural presentations.
Ruins contain remains of pre-Incan origin.
Found 4 km to the north of the town of San Antonio de Pichincha, the
Pucará de Rumicucho was a military fort used strategically
by the Incans in their conquest of the northern Andes. From here,
they could observe the impressive Ecuadorian capital, an ideal site
to become part of the pre-Colombian history of Quito.
Reserve is a volcano located on the western
slope of the Andes, only 14 kilometers north of Quito. Its 3,383 hectares
include the crater and ten volcanic domes that enclose it. The walls
are covered with vegetation and form the crater which opens towards
the west impeding the formation of a lake as is the case of Cuicocha
or Quilotoa. From pre-Colombian times, this geological fact has allowed
the settlement of humans who have cultivated the fertile soil in the
floor of the volcano. The views are unsurpassed and can be seen
from a lookout found in the Reserve.
Pasochoa Wildlife Reserve
Just one hour south of Quito is a reserve with primary Andean
forest. though the reserve only has an expanse of 500 hectares, it
is home to a large number of birds, mammals and native Andean plants.
Around 120 classes of birds live here such as blackbirds, silver hummingbirds
and eagles. Pasochoa is filled with native plant life such as "pumamaquis",
alders and polylepis. Two types of trails, self-guided and guided,
with different levels of difficulty, provide visitors access to the
park's treasures. The reserve also offers guides, souvenir shops,
interpretation center and camping sites.