La Virgen de Quito, El Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

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El Panecillo


Topped by a 41m-tall aluminum mosaic statue of La Virgen de Quito (Virgin of Quito; completed in 1976), with a crown of stars, angelic wings and a chained dragon, the hill to the south of the Old Town called El Panecillo (the Little Loaf of Bread) is a major Quito landmark. From the summit there are marvelous views of the sprawling city and the surrounding volcanoes. Climb steps up to the base of the Virgin statue for an even loftier outlook.

The best time for volcano views (particularly in the rainy season) is early morning, before the clouds roll in. It's possible to walk via the stairs at the end of Calle García Moreno, but the neighborhood dogs can be a problem and muggings have occurred. A taxi from the Old Town is a better way to go.

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