QUITO, ECUADOR- MARCH 20, 2015: Inside La Carolina park in Quito, Ecuador. Beautiful green outdoors with some tall office buildings marking the city presence.; Shutterstock ID 320378906; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

Shutterstock / Fotos593

Parque La Carolina


North of Mariscal Sucre lies expansive Parque La Carolina. The attractively landscaped park fills on weekends with families who come out for paddleboats, soccer and volleyball games, and to exercise along the bike paths.

The most popular attraction is the Jardín Botánico with native habitats covering páramo (high-altitude Andean grasslands), cloud forest, wetlands and other areas, plus an orquideario (orchid greenhouse), ethnobotanical garden (exploring the plants used by indigenous groups) and Amazonian greenhouse. There’s also a kids' play/discovery area.

Also in the park is a Vivarium, where you can glimpse (and even handle a few) reptiles and amphibians. Nearby is the snoozy Museo de Ciencias Naturales, full of dead insects and stuffed creatures (condor, tapir, harpy eagle and, uh, Bengal tiger, among others).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Quito attractions

1. Jardín Botánico

0.17 MILES

Parque La Carolina’s most popular attraction is this peacefully set botanical garden with native habitats covering páramo (high-altitude Andean grasslands…

2. Museo de Ciencias Naturales

0.18 MILES

To further acquaint yourself with Ecuador’s flora and fauna, head to the curious natural-history museum inside the Instituto Nacional de Bioversidad in…

3. Vivarium

0.21 MILES

Provide fodder for your jungle fears with a visit to the Vivarium, home to 40 species of reptiles and amphibians including snakes, iguanas, turtles, frogs…

4. Mundo Juvenil

0.23 MILES

An interactive museum featuring life-size animatronic dinosaurs, a planetarium, a library and a theater as well as temporary exhibitions are among the…

6. Centro Cultural Mexicano

0.98 MILES

Features great monthly exhibits of Mexican artists and other cultural events celebrating Mexican culture.

7. Mirador de Guápulo

0.99 MILES

The views from the lookout platform are magnificent: on a clear day, you can see Volcán Cayambe and Cerro Puntas as well as the upscale suburb of Cumbayá …

8. Santuario de Guápulo

1.04 MILES

In an elegant square in Guápulo stands the neighborhood’s centerpiece, the 17th-century Santuario de Guápulo, surrounded by sheer valley sides. It has an…