Sights in Quito
In the former home of world-famous painter Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919–99), this wonderful museum houses the most complete collection of his work. Guayasamín was also an avid collector, and the museum displays his outstanding collection of more than 4500 pre-Colombian ceramic, bone and metal pieces from throughout Ecuador. The pieces are arranged by theme – bowls, fertility figurines, burial masks etc – rather than by era or cultural group, and the result is one of the most beautifully displayed archaeological collections in the country.
If you're short on time head straight to the old town. It's here that Quito distinguishes itself from all other cities in the world. Be certain to see the Plaza and Monastery of San Francisco, the Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande), La Compañía de Jesús and the Museo de Arte Colonial.
With its narrow streets, restored colonial architecture and lively plazas, Quito's Centro Histórico (aka the old town) is a marvel to wander. Built centuries ago by indigenous artisans and laborers, Quito's churches, convents, chapels and monasteries are cast in legend and steeped in history. It's a bustling area, full of yelling street vendors, ambling pedestrians, tooting taxis,…