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Quito Highlights

Centro Histórico's Churches: Visit Quito's colonial past in the Old Town, home to several stunning, well-preserved churches, including the dazzling, over-the-top golden interior of La Compañía. Not merely for the faithful, these timeless churches are a constant reminder of the cruel splendor of the height of the Spanish Empire.

Museo GuayasamĂ­n and the Capilla del Hombre: Now combined into one complex, modern artist Oswaldo GuayasamĂ­n's personal art collection can be seen alongside his own impressive masterpieces. The highlight is the Capilla del Hombre, or "Chapel of Man," a powerful statement against human violence, which houses GuayasamĂ­n's most provocative works.

GuapĂșlo: Come wander along GuĂĄpulo's charming cobblestone streets lined with swaying palm trees for a taste of what old Spain must have been like. Afterward, rest your aching feet and brush elbows with local artists and expats sipping espresso in the bohemian cafĂ©s.

TeleferiQo: One of Quito's newest attractions, the gondola-like TelefériQo takes you up the side of Volcån Pichincha to a panoramic view of Quito and its surroundings. Go early in the morning, before the clouds roll in. From the lookout, you can hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha.

Mitad del Mundo: The 30-meter-tall (98 ft) Mitad del Mundo monument was actually erected 240 meters (787 ft) north of the real equatorial line, yet tourists come by the busloads to visit it. After taking photos straddling the fake equatorial line, visit the interesting Museo del Sitio Intiñan, located on the actual line of the equator, where you can see shrunken heads, balance an egg on a nail, and see the Coriolis effect on both sides of the equator.

15 Feb 2013

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