Palacio de Gobierno

Top choice in Quito

The low white building on the northwestern side of Plaza Grande is the seat of the Ecuadorian presidency. Visitors can enter by joining a free guided tour in Spanish and English which leave every 20 minutes; bring photo ID to the ticket office on Espejo to reserve a space. The President lives and works here, so sightseeing is limited to rooms that are not in use.

Inside the palace, the tour begins in the excellent new Museo de la Presidencia, with exhibits celebrating Ecuador's history, human rights and social justice themes and the country's biodiversity, and also displays of some of the 11,000 official gifts received by former President Rafael Correa. On the tour of the palace you'll see Andalusian patios (where bullfighting once took place), the cabinet room, banquet room, balcony and Presidents' room, where the portraits of Ecuador's constitutional presidents are displayed. At the staircase, don't miss Guayasamin's brilliantly hued mosaic depicting Francisco de Orellana's descent of the Amazon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Quito attractions

1. Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño

0.03 MILES

Get a glimpse of Quito’s early colonial history through wax figures depicting the city's key events, including the massacre of August 2, 1810 when some…

2. Centro Cultural Metropolitano

0.04 MILES

Just off Plaza Grande, this beautifully restored building houses the municipal library and lecture rooms, and hosts temporary art exhibitions.

3. Plaza Grande

0.04 MILES

While wandering around colonial Quito, you'll probably pass through the Plaza Grande several times. Its benches are great for soaking up the Andean…

4. Catedral Metropolitana

0.04 MILES

On Plaza Grande's southwest side stands Quito's cathedral. Although not the most ornate of the Old Town’s churches, it has some fascinating works by…

5. Iglesia del Sagrario

0.06 MILES

Beside the cathedral on García Moreno stands the 17th-century Iglesia del Sagrario.

6. Palacio Arzobispal

0.06 MILES

On the northeast side of Plaza Grande, this former archbishop’s palace is now a colonnaded row of small shops and restaurants, located between Avenidas…

7. Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús


Capped by green-and-gold domes, La Compañía de Jesús is Quito’s most ornate church and a standout among the baroque splendors of the Old Town. Free guided…

8. Iglesia La Merced

0.14 MILES

This 18th-century church boasts the highest tower in colonial Quito and a wealth of fascinating art, including paintings that show volcanoes erupting over…