Casa del Alabado

This archaeological museum is set in a former private home in Old Town Quito. The building has been beautifully renovated but its layout remains, offering a rare glimpse into what traditional homes used to look like. Rather than displaying artifacts chronologically, the curators have chosen to group them by theme, use and mediums, allowing for a more in-depth study. Don’t miss the flourishing fig tree that grows in a tiny inner courtyard. The museum has an excellent gift shop.

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Guayasamín Museum

Off the beaten path in the city’s northern area, this museum occupies the former home of celebrated contemporary artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. The selection features Guayasamin’s work, most of which focuses on Latin American life and class struggle, as well as the extensive collection of pre-Colombian artifacts the artist collected during his life, offering a fascinating picture into Ecuador’s pre-colonial past.

La Compañía de Jesús

This Jesuit church is considered to be one of South America’s most beautiful, thanks to its green- and gold-tiled domes. With special permission (contact Indagare for an introduction) visitors can climb to the roof and enjoy views of the nearby Plaza San Francisco and all of Old Town Quito.

Manuela Sáenz Museum

This museum tells the fascinating story of Manuela Saenz, Simon Bolivar’s mistress. Born out of wedlock to an aristocratic British father, Manuela later divorced her wealthy Anglo husband to join the revolution. Shortly after she met Bolivar, she allegedly stopped one assassination attempt against him and saved his life at least three times. Saenz received the Order of the Sun for her role in the revolution (which includes fighting in the Battle of Pichincha), but when Bolivar died her political enemies drove her exile. For the next 25 years she lived in the Peruvian town of Paita, where she sold tobacco and translated love letters for American whalers until she died destitute at age 58. The museum’s three floors tell the forgotten story of one of Latin America’s foremost liberators, and also display the love letters Saenz and Bolivar sent one another.

National Museum of Colonial Art

Housed in an old mansion in Quito’s Old Town, this museum provides a window into the city’s rich colonial past. Paintings date from the 16th century and a variety of ornate furnishings are on display. Non-Spanish speakers should plan on hiring one of the museum’s informative guides–none of the information on the collection is written in English.

Exterior View - Plaza de San Francisco , Quito, Ecuador - Courtesy Casa Gangotena

Plaza de San Francisco

Ecuador’s oldest church, founded in the 1500s, anchors this magnificent square in the center of Quito’s Old Town. The Catholic complex extends over 8 acres and includes the San Francisco cathedral, monastery and numerous chapels. The hotel Casa Gangotena is located directly on the square.

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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