It’s no wonder that Quito was the first city to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list (along with Krakow) in 1978. The place is an architectural gem, on par with any European city. In fact, much of the designs are from Italian architects whose work was brought to Ecuador by missionaries as early as the 1500’s (Bernini for example, who designed the Vatican). The churches are beyond impressive and are worth the trip during the day. But visit at night to see the historic Old City at its most dramatic.
The imposing Iglesia de San Francisco is a spectacle during the day, but at night, with the tourists and most everyone gone, it comes alive in the darkness.
Not a soul around. The only sound was of light rain gently hitting the stones of the plaza. Even the pigeons that flutter around for food scraps during the day were nowhere to be found.
A car zips past every few minutes.
The facade of the Compania de Jesus church appears as golden as the gold leaf inside the church.
The next night, however, the Plaza Grande was rocking with the election results of President Correa being confirmed. (See: Election Night in Quito for photos.)
If you do want to see Quito at night I recommend getting the number of a cab driver or arranging a meet up time if you don’t have an international phone. There are a number of hotels in this Old City area and if you are nice enough and give the concierge a small tip they should call a car for you. Also, bring a map!