+44 1273 676712
Ecuador mindo hummingbird 2 chris bladon

Ecuador

Exceptional holidays, beautifully local & certifiably responsible

Quito

Sprawled out in a banana shape along a tectonic fault and ringed by volcanoes, Quito is steeped in history and home to perhaps the best-preserved Spanish colonial centre in South America...

Looking out across Quito's vast basilica

Quito, capital of Ecuador, is located 2,850m above sea level at the foot of Pichincha Volcano. The city is divided into two parts - the old colonial centre in the south and the modern city to the north. More often than not, these days you want to stay in the historic centre, which has undergone a great deal of renovation and regeneration over the last couple of decades.

As pretty as Quito is to look at, we really need someone to bring it all to life for you. For that, we entrust our wonderful local guide Estéban to show you around on a tour flexible to you, and a small collection of characterful hotels to make you feel right at home. From our many visits to the city, we've also amassed considerable first-hand experience of the city's best sights and restaurants, gathered together in your Pura Holiday Guide.

For now, here's a couple of memories to whet your appetite, and some advice on how to slot Quito into your Ecuador holiday.

In great Compañía
This is one such example of somewhere we love to share - Quito's La Compañía Jesuit church. The only appropriate reaction when you walk in is a sharp intake of breath, a slow loop of the head upwards and a prolonged, hushed "wow". It is genuinely astonishing. Genuinely. Everything is covered with gold, no expense spared. But as Esteban explains, it has a story to tell. Look closely and do those symbols not have a touch of the Inca about them? Rather than sweeping away all pre-colonial beliefs and religions, might the Spanish have instead tried to integrate them into their gilded churches, a bridge from the old to a new world? It puts a slightly different spin on Spanish imperialism.

A family home

You need a good place to stay too, right? Somewhere which gives you a true sense of place and identity. Somewhere like Illa Experience, perhaps. Marcel is proud of his hotel. It's a journey through Quiteño history, from colonial to republican to modern eras. But more than that, it's a family hotel. Grandma's special coffee is served each afternoon, roasted with orange peel, lime, egg shells and who knows what else. Embroidered throws and handmade rugs recall her family home. His daughter's name appears on the wine. His son wanted a Harry Potter-style false door put in, so they did. And the name of the hotel is Quechua for Buenavista, his great-grandfather.

It's a hotel with a hundred and more stories to tell.

Ecuador quito c chris bladon pura aventura2
The intricate Baroque façade of Quito's La Compañía
Ecuador quito illa experience hotel lobby area
Somewhere special to stay in the heart of the old town


How to visit Quito with Pura Aventura
It's unlikely that you're going to come to Ecuador and not spend a couple of nights in Quito. Whether you're headed off to the Galápagos or starting off on a tour around the mainland, the capital is the natural starting point to orient you and introduce you to the country. From here you have a number of our favourite places in Ecuador within easy reach, including the tropical cloud forests of Mindo and Cotopaxi Volcano and its national park. Each warrants at least two or three nights. Then you have the Amazon Rainforest, a short hop in a plane away and a place you probably won't want to leave, even after three or four nights. And the Galápagos, reached via a scenic flight over the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Guayaquil and out to the archipelago.

Make of those options what you will, but do let us know when we can put something together for you. For a starting point, please take a moment to have a browse through the itineraries below.

Ecuador galapagos islands close up of feet of a blue footed booby

Ecuador & Galápagos Wildlife Wonders Holiday

  • £7,990 pp
  • 17 days
Peru machu picchu in sunlight c michael edey pura

Machu Picchu & Galápagos Holiday

  • £8,750 pp
  • 18 days

Travel Positive with Pura Aventura

Exceptional holidays in exceptional places.

Exceptional Holidays

From the moment you start planning to the lifelong memories you bring back, your holiday will be truly exceptional and tailored to a degree that is difficult for others to achieve.

Beautifully Local

Your holiday will be deeply rooted into its local surroundings, from the people you meet and the places you stay, to the food on your plate and the wine in your glass.

Certifiably Responsible

As one of the first travel companies in the UK to certify as a B Corp, we ensure your holiday will have a positive impact for the planet, our partners and the places you visit.

Logo atol Logo feefo platinum 2020 Logo abtot Bcorp logo