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Quito & Environs
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Ciudad 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.

 

Rumicucho 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.

Puluahua Geo-botanical 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.


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