Quito Layover Guide (UIO)

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Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Quito Internation Airport (UIO) is one of the busiest airports in South America. This airport is situated in the oldest city in South America, which is famous for attaining its historical attributes. It is located 27 mi (43 km) from the center city of this country and it was opened in 1960. This city is also one of the oldest capitals of South America and it is also notable for its well-preserved old town. Quito is famous for its parks, colonial architecture, surprisingly amazing food, and street art.

Can you leave Quito Airport (UIO) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible to leave Quito during a layover. But some travelers may require visa in advance. (more info).

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Ecuador Organized Tours

Historic City of Quito and The Middle of the World

Start with a tour of one of South America’s best-preserved old cities. Climb to the top of the Basilica del Voto Nacional Church’s high domes. Proceed to the Panecillo viewpoint, a municipal landmark known for its beauty and a massive statue of the Winged Virgin. Continue to the old neighborhood of La Ronda. Workshops may be found in this lovely environment, where you can discover how true artists conduct their work from a group of them. See traditional trades that keep this attractive city’s cultural customs alive. Then you’ll travel to the Middle of the World City, where you may witness the monument that separates the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres. » book this tour

Otavalo and Imbabura Sightseeing Tour from Quito

Depart Quito and travel to the Guayllabamba valley to witness the Quitsato Sundial in La Mitad Del Mundo, which was built to share the region’s pre-Hispanic cultures’ astronomical expertise. Cross the equator and continue on your way to South America’s largest indigenous market. The Mercado de Ponchos, where residents sell tagua nut jewelry, fake shrunken heads, hand-painted platters, spices, spools of wool, and other unique products under mushroom-shaped umbrellas, is a great place to go shopping for souvenir fabrics and traditional crafts. Return to nature at the Peguche waterfall, which is popular among locals who visit on the eve of Inti Raymi to take a sacred bath. » book this tour

Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

Depart by bus along the Panamerican Highway, savouring the route’s different ecosystems as a clear sign of the Andes’ majesty. Continue to the Cotopaxi National Park, where you will find yourself at the foot of an active volcano. Visit the Museum Park, the Limpiopungo Lagoon, and the Chuquirahuas Forest at 4200 meters on an exciting hike (if the weather permits). The Quilotoa Volcano is a must-see. It’s one of Ecuador’s most magnificent settings, with a lovely blue lagoon in its crater. If the weather permits, take a short climb to savor the amazing view of the volcano and have some free time for lunch. » book this tour

Ecuador Things to do / Sightseeing

La Campaña

The many churches in Quito are all within walking distance of one another, but if you only have time to see one during your stay in Quito, make it Compania de Jesus. The building’s stunning façade is only topped by its breathtaking inside. Consider the weight of seven tonnes of gold leaf. It covers all surfaces that could only be found in a place of worship in excess. The beautiful interior, known as Quito’s Sistene Chapel, will not disappoint. The structure, which is centrally positioned, was started in 1605 and completed 160 years later. The Jesuit church is considered the best example of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America because of its ornate and vast central nave.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: 40 minutes via private transport.

Mitad del Mundo Monument

The most popular activity in Quito is an experience that I felt to be overrated! Ecuador’s Mitad del Mundo Monument marks the equator and is the country’s most visited monument. You may stand during the globe at the monument and even climb the trapezoid stone memorial (for free) for excellent views of the surrounding area. Of course, now that the true equator has been discovered, you may see the real equator line at the Museo de Sitio Intinan, which is only a few hundred feet from the monument.

Time required: 1 hour to 2 hour.

Airport to here: 35 minutes via private transport.

Central Bank National Museum

The Bank Museum, or Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador, sounds quite dull. Even as a history enthusiast and frequent visitor to museums. You will, however, be pleasantly pleased. Over 1,500 artifacts from the pre-Inca era are housed in the museum (some over 6,000 years old). Its exhibitions trace Ecuador’s history and development across time, with topics ranging from art to religion to economy. It’s a large museum with much to keep you occupied for a few hours. It’s also one of Quito’s most popular activities.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: 38 minutes via private transport.

Oswaldo Guayasamín

This museum has a large collection of religious art and pre-Columbian items by renowned Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamn. You may see some of his most famous paintings during the first portion of the tour, showing his lifelong devotion to peace and social justice. In the second half of the visit, where you may have a guided tour of the well-preserved interior of Guayasamn’s old house and studio and get to know him on a personal level: through his art collections, photographs, unfinished work, and memories, is what makes this museum unique.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: 43 minutes via private transport.

The Crystal Palace

Itchimbia is located high above Quito’s Old Town, surrounded by the Guayas River, which runs through the city. Take a stroll or take a break from a busy day of sightseeing at this tranquil grassy park in the Guayaquil neighborhood, all while taking in the panoramic views. The Crystal Palace, one of the past landmarks, can be found in Itchimbia. The construction was hauled from Belgium piece by piece and rebuilt, designed by engineers Francisco Manrique and Carlos van Ischot and overseen by Gustave Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower fame. Like the riverbank, this spectacular tower is abandoned, yet it is nonetheless a must-see for tourists because of its architectural integrity.

Time required: Half Day to Full Day.

Airport to here: 45 minutes via private transport.

La Forest Street

Try the free La Forest Street Art Tour if you want to receive a view of the city from a resident on foot. You’ll spend three hours winding your way through old homes, learning about Ecuador’s rich past and its vibrant murals and thriving graffiti art movement. As part of the excursion, you’ll also visit the famed Ocho Y Medio, an independent cinema with one-of-a-kind films.

Time required: Half Day to Full Day.

Airport to here: 42 minutes via private transport.

La Ronda

One of the best-preserved streets in colonial Old Town is La Ronda. The cobblestone street is lined with cafés, galleries, and the best of traditional artists who the government has invited to share their trade with the public. If you arrive early in the morning, the region is still exhausted and makes for a relaxing cup of coffee. Later on, the street is bustling with activity from both businesses and tourists. Some of the vendors can be found tucked away in the backs of shops or down small alleyways. They showcase the finest of Quito’s local culture and are excellent places to buy souvenirs and support traditional crafts.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: 31 minutes via private transport.

Chapel of Man

It’s true. The museum was constructed in 2002, shortly after the artist’s death, and is located high on a cliff overlooking the city. The indigenous people’s hardships both before and after the arrival of the Spanish explorers are commemorated in the Chapel of Man. The artist’s massive paintings occupy the one-of-a-kind room, and travelers should appreciate the scope of the subject matter. The atmosphere is solemn and dramatic, with many secret locations to linger and reflect on the artist’s thoughts.

Time required: Half Day to Full Day.

Airport to here: 43 minutes via private transport.

Things to Do in Quito Airport (UIO)

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
Sala VIP (International), Sala VIP (Domestic), Layover Stay are available at the Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
"Holiday Inn Quito Airport", "Quito Airport Suites", and "Wyndham Quito Airport " are the best hotels that you can visit. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no dedicated sleeping areas, quiet areas or rest zones at the Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO).

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available at new Quito Airport near the gates.

SIM Card: You can buy your Ecuador tourist sim card when you arrive in Quito International airport, or at the small gift shop inside the airports. » buy a global sim card for Ecuador, Quito that you can use for other countries as well!

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: La Cooperativa de Taxis Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre # 34 and La Asociación de Cooperativas del Valle provide service 24/7.

Train: There is no train service at the Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO).

Bus: The airport is connected to the public transportation system via bus routes that connect to the South and the North of the city. (more info).

Shuttle: Aeroservicios is a shuttle bus service that provides transportation from Quito directly to the New Mariscal Sucre International Airport 24 hours a day.

Car rentals: Many companies such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Localiza, and Sixt provide car rental services. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: The Quito Airport has a network of parking lots for your convenience and security: the main parking lot, operated by Urbapark, and the parking lot of the Wyndham Quito Airport hotel.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

Bag Parking Custodia offers luggage storage in the Arrivals Hall is available for 24 hours which accept only cash. » book a luggage storage or locker at Quito Airport (UIO) online (subject to availability).

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Quito Airport (UIO) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks