The capital of Ecuador is Quito, officially called San Francisco de Quito. The country’s largest city was founded on 6 December 1534 by Sebastian De Belalcazar.
It is situated on the foundations of an Incan city at an altitude of 2850 m above sea level. It is also known as the second-highest capital city across the globe by elevation.
Currently, the population of Quito is about 2.3 million people occupying an area of 290 square kilometers.
Ecuador is known for its Galapagos Islands, Andes mountains, coastal regions, Amazon rainforests, rich nature, unique species, and nominal landmarks that call it home.
Despite being a small country, it has a vast diversity that is enough to steal anyone’s heart.
Also, for a pleasant surprise, this stunning city has many more interesting facts and things to do in Quito, Ecuador – its culture, heritage, patrimony, and cuisines.
Read the blog post to explore interesting Ecuador Quito facts and things to do there before visiting or moving.
1. When did Quito Become the Capital?
Constructed on the remains of an Incan city, the historic old town of Ecuador, Quito was made the capital of the country in the year 1534.
It then became one of the largest and most prominent precedents of colonial Spanish structure in Southern America.
It was so well-built and well-preserved, that it took no time to become the first capital city across the globe to be enumerated as a UNESCO heritage site in the year 1978.
Quito is situated 25 km south of the imaginary line of the equator.
To locate the exact equator position, a monument is built as a memorial known as La Mitad Del Mundo, also called the middle of the world or Quito half of the world.
Why is the capital of Ecuador called Quito?
The capital of Ecuador was named Quito because in the late 15 century, the original residents of this region, the Quitu, were conquered by Huayna Capac, the Inca emperor. Then, the Quitu were included in the Inca empire and were made the capital of the Northern region of the Inca empire as Quito.
Is Quito the oldest capital city in South America?
Quito is the oldest capital city of South America founded in the year 1534.
2. Facts & Things to Do in Quito
Listing out some fun, historical facts, and things to do in Quito, Ecuador that you should know before moving to Ecuador from the US or any other part of the world.
The fun facts about Quito, Ecuador are as follows:
- Ecuador is the closest point on the earth to space and the sun.
- Ecuador is the producer of the best quality cacao (chocolate) across the globe.
- Ecuador is home to various orchid species in the world. But the Rose is its national flower.
- Ecuador is a heaven for bird-watchers.
- It’s also the world’s largest producer of bananas.
- The country’s economy is based on the production and export of crude oil to various parts of the world.
- Spanish is the official language in Ecuador.
- Pasillo is the official music genre of Ecuador.
- Hornado and Guinea pig meat are the go-to cuisines in Ecuador.
- The national tree of Ecuador is the Cinchona tree. Quinine is extracted from this tree to treat malaria.
- There is no winter or cold climate here. A drop in temperature means the cold season has arrived.
- US Dollars are the currency in Ecuador.
Quito- The second-highest capital city in the world
Quito the capital of Ecuador is situated at an altitude of 2850 m above sea level making it the second-highest capital city in the world followed by La Paz.
This harms the climatic conditions in Quito. You can’t figure out any season but can recognize which weather condition is out there – dry or wet season, by checking the temperature.
UNESCO World Heritage site
Ecuador has 5 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites. It has also received the title of the American capital of culture as it is attracting travellers from all over the world to witness the nation’s treasured attractions.
These include 2 environments and three cultural sites which are as follows:
- The historic center of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca
- The Andean road system
- The Quito city
- Sangay national park
- The Galapagos Islands
Proximity to the equator, equatorial line
Ecuador’s capital, Quito is the place where the equator’s imaginary line exactly halves the earth.
The French astronomers in 1736 made an accurate measurement of the earth’s equator and proved that the earth is not a perfect sphere.
They built a famous monument outside Quito Mitad Del Mundo (middle of the world) to spot the equatorial line.
The line from the monument marks the equatorial line and it’s fun to keep one foot in the southern and the other in the northern hemisphere.
The first country to incorporate the Right to nature
Ecuador is the first country that has given the right to nature.
The act incorporates the native principle of the region, Sumak Kawsay, allowing Panchamama constitutional rights for the protection and existence of nature to thrive, and flourish throughout its generations without the interference of humans under the Ecuador constitution of 2008.
It also says that the people are bound to act on these rights as a representative of nature. The nature here is called the defendant.
Unique microclimate with mild temperatures year-round.
Ecuador doesn’t have any seasons based on climate.
As it is in proximity to the sun, space, and equator, the country receives 12 hours of sunlight and the temperature ranges from 10° and 20° throughout the year.
The sun rises and the sun sets from around 6 am-6 pm every morning to night. It only has two seasons: dry season and wet season.
The dry season is termed as the winter season in Ecuador which is from June to September and the wet season is termed as the summer season that lasts from October to May.
In between, you might get 9 to 15 rainy days per month during the wet season and 5 to 8 rainy days per month during the dry season.
If you are planning a vacation, the best month to visit Ecuador is from December to April.
Rich cultural heritage
Ecuador is a multilingual nation having residents of European, African, and indigenous heritage.
The 2.6 lakh population comprises Costeros, Serranos, and El Oriente residents settled in coastal, mountainous, and eastern regions of the country.
These people encourage their civilization, culture, and tradition on their level of suaveness.
From all these, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas are the most well-known civilizations that are widely renowned and celebrated countrywide.
With various socio-political frameworks and languages, these groups have developed and flourished.
Home to impressive Spanish colonial architecture
Ecuador is home to some of the impressive Spanish colonial architectures that are still influencing the larger countries.
The Old Town, situated in the middle of Quito and the Galapagos is one of the first UNESCO-secured sites built on the remains of an Incan city during the 16th century.
The structures and towns have withstood many natural calamities and still stood tall being the well-protected architecture in Latin America.
Mindo’s Cloud Forest
Ecuador is home to one of the most biodiverse locations on the earth- Mindo cloud forest, which is an adobe to diverse flora and fauna, butterflies, birds, beautiful air plants, and enchanting waterfalls.
Mindo has also discovered a new mammal – Olinguito – into its world which is quite good-looking and adorable.
It’s also a great outdoor recreation spot full of escapades, activities, and chocolate.
Cotopaxi – The symbol of Ecuador
Cotopaxi is the most active volcano in Ecuador which is situated 6 km south of the capital city.
It is present in the Cotopaxi National Park which spreads over an area of 3 territories.
It has a perfect mountainous shape having an altitude of 5897 m that remains snow-capped all year round.
Pro-hikers can have a great time hiking the summit for 2 days or can simply have a mountain bike ride for fun.
Gateway to the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are one of the important attractions of Ecuador. This unique destination in the universe has more than 10,000+ species present in its islets and 20 islands.
The right of nature law in Ecuador has protected and nourished this island and has made it one of the most cherished spots across the globe.
It was Galapagos Island from where the “Theory of Evolution” findings were formulated by Charles Darwin which was presented in his book, ” The Origin of the Species”.
The most populated Ecuadorian city
One of the Quito facts is it’s the most populated Ecuador city having a population of around 2,800,000 people living in the city according to the current census.
It was established on 6 December 1534. The city hosts the Quito International Airport, Old Town, Mariscal Artisan Market, Mitad Del Mundo, and Teleferiqo.
Quito is also the highest constitutional metropolis in the world.
What is the capital of Ecuador FAQs
Does Ecuador have 2 capitals?
Ecuador doesn’t have two capitals. But it has 2 major cities rich in population, surface area, and commerce – Guayaquil, which is called the port city of Ecuador, and Quito, which is called the capital of Ecuador.
What is the population of Quito?
As of 2022, the population of Quito, Ecuador is 20.6 lakhs.
What religions are in Ecuador?
The religions followed in Ecuador are:
- Other Christians
- Other religions/none
This was all about Quito, it’s interesting facts, information, and things to do or visit in Ecuador. Ecuador is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live and worth a visit.
Although small, Ecuador has a highly diverse nature that will offer you a handful of experiences to encounter.
No other country can claim to have such vastness and uniqueness of the islands, mountains, coastlines, and the Amazon, unlike Ecuador.
So, if you are planning to visit Ecuador, check out our related blog posts to get a wealth of experiences in the country.