Quito, Ecuador - Polarsteps
Quito, Ecuador—sits at around 2850 meters, which is a very high 9350 feet in elevation. If you have no experience with that kind of elevation I can attest to this fact—breathing is noticeably strained, especially when doing any form of exercise, even walking up an incline. Quito is the second highest capital city in the world. La Paz, Bolivia, is the highest (1100 meters higher than Quito, quite a significant amount). The average afternoon maximum temperature is 21.4°C (70.5°F), and the average night-time minimum temperature is 9.8°C (49.6°F). And, because of its altitude, Quito receives some of the greatest solar radiation in the world, so getting a sunburn is incrediby easy, even on cloudy days.
Quito has a population of around 2.8 million people. It sits at the base of the active volcano, Pichincha. There are nine volcanos in this region of the Andes Mountains.
Archeologists say that this area has been populated since 4400 - 1600 BC. The Incas defeated the Quitu people in the late 1400s. Then the Spanish conquistadors conquered the Incas in 1534.
Quito is the closest capital city to the equator with its northern border just 1 kilometer south of the equator. The historic city center is a World Heritage Site, the entire city center. It's quite a place to visit. If you visit Ecuador you must visit Quito if you have any interest at all in historical cities and architecture.
The city has been restoring the city center for 20 years. They also converted a former airport into a city park, Parque Bicentario (200 acres). I walked through it, and being a former airport it's quite a long walk from end to end. Some of the other many parks include - La Carolina (165.5 acres), and Metropolitano (1,376 acres). And, the city is in the process, and nearing the end, of constructing a subway system.
So, my impressions: air pollution is bad, traffic is bad, weather is cold. All, in my book, are major negatives. The parks are great, so many excellent parks and in very nice condition. But, I would never spend more time here than I did - one week.
My South America Journey