Refurbished in the 19th century by Barón Luis Héctor de Carondelet, the palace is open for visitors on tours on select days throughout the week, during which you will see elegant colonial-style meeting rooms, inner courtyards, a room with gifts from other nations, and a portrait collection of .portraits of Ecuadorian presidents. Quito walking tours include the palace, San Francisco Church, La Compania Church and other landmarksxa0 of the historic center.xa0 If you have more time, full-day tours tack on a trek to Quilotoa Crater Lagoon to hike around the dormant volcano, and stops at traditional Andean market towns such as Saquisili, Pujili, and Tigua.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Presidential Palace is an ideal spot for history and art lovers.
- Admission is free, as are guided tours in both Spanish and English.
- Photography (no flash) is allowed.
- The palace is wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly.
- Come before midday for the changing of the guards.
How to Get There
The Presidential Palace is located on García Moreno between Avenues Chile and Espejo in the historical center of Quito, easy walking distance from hotels and inns. Nearby attractions include the Plaza Independencia, Quito Cathedral, and the Archbishop's Palace. From the airport, traveling by bus or taxi to the city center will take around 45 minutes.
When to Get There
The Presidential Palace is open every day except on holidays, usually from mid-morning until late afternoon or early evening. Peak season in Quito runs from June to September, coinciding with the Ecuadorian dry season. Throughout the year, the high-altitude climate is constant with generally cool temperatures and chilly nights. To experience the city in party mode, come visit from February to April for Carnival and Semana Santa.
Now a pretty tree-filled park, the 16th-century Plaza de la Independencia once held bullfights. Flanked by the city’s most important public buildings, the square is a central feature of the historic core and a lively place to relax, day and night. Drop into the cathedral to see its vast art collection, the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace to admire its Moorish-inspired architecture, or climb the tower at the Government Palace for a bird’s-eye view.
- Independence Plaza (Plaza de la Independencia)
- El Sagrario Church
- Quito Old Town
- Museum of Colonial Art (Museo De Arte Colonial)
- Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús)
- Cathedral of Quito (Catedral de Quito)
- Casa del Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
- Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santa Domingo)
- Carmen Alto Convent (Museo de Carmen Alto)
- City Museum of Quito (Museo de la Ciudad)
- Calle La Ronda
- Basilica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional)
- Archbishop's Palace (Palacio Arzobispal)
- El Panecillo